Who will Replace Sacked Iraqi Defense Minister?

By Omar Sattar for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

Three lists of candidates have been proposed to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for the position of minister of defense, held by a Sunni, to replace sacked Minister Khaled al-Obeidi.

The first list is signed by parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and includes Kamel al-Dulaimi, Badr al-Jabouri and Ahmed Abdullah Moussa. The second list was put forth by the Mutahidoun bloc, led by former parliament Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, and includes Hajem al-Hassani, Salim Dali and Arfan al-Hayali.

The third list was submitted by head of the Iraqiya List Iyad Allawi, who nominated five candidates: Hamed al-Matlaq, Raad al-Hamadani, Falah al-Naqib, Faisal al-Shamari and Hachem al-Daraji.

The Iraqi parliament had voted Aug. 25 to withdraw confidence from Obeidi on charges of corruption during the interrogation session conducted by Alia Nassif, a member of parliament for the Reform Front, on Aug. 1. Obeidi, however, appealed the parliament decision Sept. 7 before the judiciary, which could delay the appointment process of a new defense minister for several weeks.

The process of naming a defense minister entails several stages. The names of candidates belonging to Sunni blocs need to be forwarded to Abadi, who might select a name or choose someone else from outside the parliamentary blocs. The parliament is then briefed on the candidate’s resume and background before making a confidence vote, which requires the support of the parliamentary majority.

Ahmed al-Jarba, a parliamentarian for the Union of Iraqi Forces — comprising all parliamentary Sunni blocs — told Al-Monitor, “Sunni blocs have nominated several candidates for the post of defense minister instead of Obeidi. However, Abadi has the last say in this matter. He might also nominate someone from outside the political blocs. The Iraqi parliament has the freedom to vote for the candidate it deems appropriate.”

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