22 December 2010
Finally nine months after the elections, in Iraq, a cabinet has been formed and presented to the parliament.
However, it is hard to claim that the cabinet has been perfectly formed with 42 ministries 13 of which are state ministries. 9 ministries will be ran by acting ministers.
In the cabinet, the State of Law Coalition under Nuri al Maliki got 13, Al Iraqiya List under Ayad Allawi got 8, Kurdistan Alliance got 7, and Iraqi National Alliance under Ammar al Hakim got 11 ministres. It is also interesting that Sadr Group which played a significant role in the government formation process by meeting with Maliki, has acquired 6 ministries. Unity of Iraq under Javad Bolani got 1 ministry. The Turkmen have acquired 3 ministries Izzaddin al Dawla (minister of Agriculture) from al Iraqiyya List, Mohammad Jassem Jafar (Ministry of Youth and Sports) from Iraqi National Alliance and Turhan Muftu (State Minister on Provinces) from Iraqi Turkman Front.
Nuri al Maliki will be facing difficult times ahead. Maliki is also acting minister for Defense, Interior and National Security. His preferences for candidates for those ministries and his timing fort hat might shift the balances in Iraq. Besides, although they take part in the government, Sadr Group, Iraqiyya List, and Kurdistan Alliance are not pleased from the outcome.
The Goran Movement from the Kurdistan Alliance has already left the government because it was not given a ministry.
This will prove difficult for Maliki in the upcoming period. Maliki seems to spend some effort in controlling some critical fields. Hussain al Shahristani, the Minister of Oil since 2006, and acting Minister of Electricity since last summer, was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister on energy issues. This development might make Shahristani a focus of influence on oil production and exporting. At the same time his deputy in the Ministry of Oil, Abdalkarim al Luaibi was appointed as the Minister of Oil.
Therefore Maliki has strengthened his position. Although Shahristani is not a member of a party, he is personally close to Maliki and this will reinforce the personal grasp of Maliki on oil sector. Maliki had to consider all kinds of requests and discontents in his efforts for forming a broad based government.
However, if al Iraqiyya do not get the Defense or National Security Ministry as it was promised, it might withdraw from the Cabinet. Therefore, the steps forward that Maliki will take, will have a defining character on his political fate.
Bilgay Duman, Assistant Prof. Serhat Erkmen, Sercan Doğan, ORSAM