Iraq MPs Approve 2 Key Ministers
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iraqi parliamentarians approved all the remaining positions in Prime Minister Haidar al-Abbadi's government, sanctioning a Sunni Muslim to become the new defense minister and a Shiite to be the interior minister.
The parliament voted on Saturday to approve the appointment of Khaled al-Obeidi, a Sunni from the northern city of Mosul as the defence minister. Mohammed al-Ghabban of the powerful Shiite political party, the Badr Organisation, is to take over the interior ministry.
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 ISIL forces, Al Jazeera reported.
Al Jazeera's Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said news of the appointment "will be relieving to the international community, especially countries involved in the coalition fighing the ISIL," adding that it reflects Abaddi's efforts to "form an inclusive cabinet, reaching out for the Sunnis and Kurds."
Iraqi government troops are battling ISIL on two fronts: the first is the Anbar provincial capital of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, and near Tikrit, hometown of executed dictator Saddam Hussein.
According to state media, 94 ISIL fighters were killed by Iraqi-conducted air raids on Anbar and Salahuddin districts. "Al-Jazeera's Imran said "this is the first time we see such a large number of ISIL fighters to be killed by Iraqi air strikes, and not US-led."
US-led air raids have been pounding ISIL positions in Iraq since August to foil the group's goal of establishing a caliphate that expands into Syria.