Sunday, October 19, 2014


Saturday, the Iraqi Parliament voted in a Minister of Defense and a Minister of Interior -- the first time since spring 2010 that the positions have been filled.  Mohammed Ghaban is the new Minister of Interior (over the federal police and prisons) and Khaled al-Obeidi is the new Minister of Defense.

Yesterday in Boston, US Secretary of State John Kerry noted the accomplishment, "And on another note, I might just report we had a very positive step forward in Iraq today with the selection of a minister of the interior and a minister of defense. These were critical positions to be filled in order to assist with the organizing effort with respect to ISIL. So we’re very pleased. We congratulate Prime Minister Abadi and we look forward to working with them as we continue to grow the coalition and move forward."

Also weighing in was cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr.  National Iraqi News Agency reports:

The cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr said nomination the ministers of defense and interior is an important step towards improving the political and security situation and service, calling what he described as "jihadist forces" to hand liberated territories to the army and police.
He said in a statement that "the government's success in the inauguration of the security ministries is another important step towards improving the political and security situation and the service, after the failure of the previous government."

Of Khaled al-Obeidi, Al Jazeera notes, "Obeidi belongs to the party of Vice President Usama al-Nujaifi and is a confidant of his brother Atheel al-Nujaifi, the governor of Nineveh province that was overrun by Sunni ISIL forces." They quote their reporter Imran Khan declaring the two appointments "will be relieving to the international community, especially countries involved in the coalition fighting the ISIL."

On the topic of Mohammed Ghaban, Loveday Morris (Washington Post) offers:

Iraq’s parliament voted Saturday to put an affiliate of an Iranian-backed paramilitary group in charge of a key security ministry, a move that could strike a serious blow to efforts to unite Sunnis and Shiites to wrest back their country from Islamist extremists.
 The new interior minister is Mohammed Ghabban, a little-known Shiite politician with the Badr Organization. But there is little doubt that Hadi al-Amiri, head of the party and its military wing, will wield the real power in the ministry.

The hope is that the government will be seen as inclusive -- although at present, it appears Iraqi women are only represented once on the Council -- and that this will allow a Sunni buy-in after former prime minister Nouri' al-Maliki's non-stop efforts to drive them out over the last four years. It is also hoped that having heads for the security ministries will allow the violence to be addressed.

Those are hopes for the near future.

Today, the violence included.  Some of the incidents getting attention?  BBC News notes a suicide bomber detonated in a Baghdad mosque taking his own life and the lives of 18 other people.  Xinhua adds the toll rose to 22 dead (with twenty-five more injured).  Meanwhile World Bulletin notes the Iraqi military's efforts to retake Baiji ended when a bomb blew up "an armored vehicle" killing 4 Iraqi soldiers and leaving seven more injured.  The military insists the vehicle blown up was driven by a member of the Islamic State and that the military mistook it for one of their own vehicles and, most importantly, they'll try again to retake Baiji.  Real soon. 

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4491.

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley, Susan's On the Edge, Tavis Smiley and Pacifica Evening News --  have updated:

  • Kat's "Kat's Korner: Lenny chooses to strut" and "Kat's Korner: Prince, you wonder if you take him h..." went up earlier today.   The e-mail address for this site is