May 21, 2006
The Sunday Times

Iraqis Form Government, Crucial Posts Vacant

by Dexter Filkins and Richard A. Oppel Jr.

Iraqi leaders on Saturday approved a full-term government here for the first time since the fall of Saddam Hussein more than three years ago, but one that appeared to lack the cohesion needed to quell the sectarian and guerrilla violence engulfing the country.

The Iraqi Parliament approved 36 ministers who will form a cabinet led by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a member of the dominant Shiite coalition that captured a majority of the votes cast in nationwide elections on Dec. 15. But three of the most important posts in the government - the Ministries of Defense, Interior and National Security - were left vacant because Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders could not agree on who should fill them.

Those three ministries are especially sensitive because each controls some part of Iraq's new security forces. That gives them a central role in fighting the guerrilla insurgency, but they have been accused of carrying out sectarian vendettas as well. . . .


"The U.S. Controls 'Soveriegn' Iraq," The Wisdom Fund, June 8, 2004

"Iraq Election: Fraud, Favor and 'Democracy'," The Wisdom Fund, December 9, 2005

Patrick Cockburn, "Iraq is disintegrating as ethnic cleansing takes hold," Independent, May 2, 2006

Aaron Glantz, "Don't Believe the Handover Hype,", May 23, 2006

[But Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador, played a crucial role in getting rid of the last duly elected prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari. His officials do not conceal that the envoy has been what The New York Times described as "a tireless midwife in the birthing of the new government". That is hardly the sign of a sovereign and independent Iraqi administration.--Patrick Cockburn, " Which is the real Iraq?," Independent, May 23, 2006]

[It is a puppet government nothing more or less. I don't think it is going to accomplish anything different than the previous one. All they are receiving They are on the receiving end of orders from the unexpected visits by Condoleezza Rice, Jack Straw previously, and to orders from Bush and Blair.

. . . voicing any issue against the occupation in Iraq is targeted. We have the academics being targeted, we have hundreds of our scientists being killed, academics, lectures, professors, whoever. Journalists we have the biggest campaign of killing journalists

. . . continuing what we heard from Madeline Albright, before that when Iraq was under sanctions, when 500,000 children were killed or died because, as a consequence of the harsh sanctions on Iraqi people. 500,000 children were killed and she said that the price was worth it.

. . . we have to make it clear that the withdrawal that Tony Blair's talking about, or Bush, is different about the withdrawal we're talking about. I am talking about the complete withdrawal of troops. That doesn't mean they go around and build bases, American bases in Iraq which they are doing at the moment. There are more than 14 bases building. And there is the biggest embassy in the world. And no signing of long-term binding agreements, not on behalf of Iraqi people but on behalf of these interim governments or the puppet governments at the moment. This is second. Third - there should be a compensation for all the crimes being committed against Iraqi people, whether in life or the destruction of the country.--"Haifa Zangana Interview," Dateline (Australia), May 24, 2006]

[Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi . . . emerged as one of the most aggressive proponents of the Bush administration's economic agenda for Iraq, including the implementation of controversial corporate globalization rules and greater U.S. corporate access to Iraq's oil.

U.S. oil companies, including Chevron and ExxonMobil, have been working with the Iraqi government and marketing Iraqi oil since the occupation began. Now that the full-term Iraqi government has formed, they will be in a perfect position to sign lucrative contracts if the Petroleum Law is enacted. But, they will need security to get to work. What better security force is there than 100,000 American soldiers?--Antonia Juhasz, "Bush's Ace in the Hole in Iraq?," Huffington Post, May 23, 2006]

Lt. Gen. William E. Odom, "Why America Must Get Out of Iraq Now," Foreign Policy, May/June 2006

[ . . . the Interior Ministry and the job of national security adviser were given to Shiites, and the Defense Ministry went to a Sunni.--Omar Fekeiki, "Iraqi Parliament Selects Top Security Ministers," Washington Post, June 8, 2006]

Rupert Cornwell, "Iraqi PM given five minutes' notice of Bush's flying visit," Associated Press, June 14, 2006

Dahr Jamail, "'Operation Forward Together': Deeper Into the Quagmire,", June 19, 2006

[Imagine the president of the United States flying to Russia, China, England, France or just about any other nation on the planet, landing at an airport on supposedly sovereign territory, being driven under heavy U.S. military protection to the U.S. Embassy, and then with some five minutes notification, summoning the highest elected official of that nation to the U.S. Embassy for a meeting. It would never happen, unless of course the nation in question is Iraq, where Iraqi sovereignty continues to be hyped as a reality when in fact it is as fictitious as any fairy tale ever penned by the Brothers Grimm. For all of the talk of a free Iraq, the fact is Iraq remains very much an occupied nation where the United States (and its ever decreasing "coalition of the willing") gets to call all the shots.--Scott Ritter, "Three Iraq Myths That Won't Quit," AlterNet, June 26, 2006]

[A man who was inserted into his position after Jack Straw and Condoleezza Rice visited Baghdad in order to brush Jaafari, the prime minister chosen by the supposedly-elected Iraqi parliament, aside. Do we need any clearer evidence of who pulls the strings of Maliki? . . .

Juhasz added that if there isn't massive change in Iraq soon, all of the US imposed economic contracts (25-40 year contracts), will effectively eviscerate what is left of the demolished Iraqi economy. In two months, laws will be passed by the puppet government, and six months after this the contracts of the Western companies, (read "Big Oil") will be implemented. . . .

She added that the permanent military bases in Iraq are to be used for providing security for the oil companies.--Dahr Jamail, "An Iraqi Withdrawal From Iraq,", June 28, 2006]

[Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi president, has asked for a long-term US military presence in Iraq, saying his country needs two permanent US air bases to deter what he calls foreign interference.--"Talabani backs long-term US presence," AFP, September 25, 2006]

Guy Dinmore, "US twists civilian arms to fill Fortress Baghdad," Financial Times, January 7, 2007

[But under the rules that govern private security contractors here, the Iraqis do not have the legal authority to do so.--Sabrina Tavernise, "Blackwater Banned by Iraq Over Shootings," New York Times, September 18, 2007]

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