A Sadrist Minister of Planning

The following article was published on Tuesday by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The second Maliki government is gradually coming closer to completion. Yesterday, the Iraqi parliament confirmed the candidate for the planning ministry: Ali Yusuf Abd al-Nabi, a Sadrist.

The new minister has an interesting CV. Born in 1969 in Najaf, he acquired an education in law in the 1990s in the schools and universities of Baathist Iraq. He completed his doctorate at the University of Baghdad in 1998.

Subsequently, Ali Yusuf Abd al-Nabi apparently went into exile, and worked in Libya from 2002 to 2006. He then returned to Iraq to become dean at the Kufa University. His publications are on a multitude of subjects, ranging from maritime law to human rights issues.

In other developments, parliament rejected a proposal by 50 plus deputies to vote on the presidential deputies in a single batch. Coming so soon after the withdrawal of the candidature of Adel Abd al-Mahdi of ISCI, one might hypothesise that this was an initiative by competitors in State of Law to force through a vote that would confirm Khudayr al-Khuzai, their own disputed candidate for one of the three deputy positions, before ISCI had made any counter-move. Today, Basim al-Awwadi, an adviser to Ammar al-Hakim of ISCI, indicated that Abd al-Mahdi remained a candidate after all.

With respect to the all-important security ministries, there is however no progress. Parliament speaker Usama al-Nujayfi yesterday told the assembly that the two candidates proposed by Prime Minister Nuri a-Maliki, Khalid al-Ubaydi for defence and Ibrahim al-Lami for interior, had been told by the de-Baathification committee that they were unfit to run for office and that new candidates were expected from the prime minister. At the same time, parliament is spending considerable time on what appears to be an inflation of declarations of past “genocides”. That Halabja should fall into this category seemed fair enough, but the subsequent initiative of formally declaring the Falluja battle of 2004 as genocide seemed calculated as a check-mate manouevre directed against Ayad Allawi, who was prime minister at the time. Yesterday, the plight of the Fayli Kurds and the question of genocide in their case was debated.

Parliament will not meet again until 12 April.

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