Moving Beyond Tribalism

By Padraig O’Hannelly.

The world has broadly welcomed the approval by the Iraqi parliament of the new cabinet of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

While the formulation of the new cabinet attempts to keep all factions involved and working together, it was clear from al-Abadi’s speech that his arm was twisted in the negotiations, and that given free rein he would have picked a different team.

It remains to be seen whether the allocation of prestigious titles to former Prime Ministers Nouri al-Maliki and Ayad Allawi, for example, will facilitate co-operation between the rival factions, or simply serve as a reminder of the old tribal conflicts that hold the country back.

The new government’s first priority must be the containment and ultimate defeat of the Islamic State, and this will require a major shake-up of the armed forces. With that in mind, the key ministries of defense and the interior are expected to be announced next week, and is to be hoped that these appointments can be made on the basis of suitability rather than tribe.

(Flag image via Shutterstock)

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