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WikiLeaks: 2006-05-20: 06BAGHDAD1664: Maliki Wins Broad Confidence in a National Unity Government with Gaps

by WikiLeaks. 06BAGHDAD1664: May 20, 2006.

Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 04:34 PM UTC


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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06BAGHDAD1664 2006-05-20 19:34 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy
DE RUEHGB #1664/01 1401934
P 201934Z MAY 06
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAGHDAD 001664 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/19/2016 
Classified By: Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad
 for reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 
1. (C) SUMMARY: Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki won a wide vote 
of confidence in a national unity cabinet in a special 
parliament session on May 20, but not before several Sunni 
Arab parliamentarians walked out of the session protesting 
their exclusion and a continued deadlock over the security 
portfolios.  They demanded a 48 hour delay of the proceedings 
to settle differences and resolve the interior and defense 
ministries.  The Ambassador mediated with the dissenters and 
other members of the Sunni Arab Tawafuq Front in a tense and 
often furious session outside the parliament hall and 
convinced them to enter the session with assurances that 
these concerns could be heard out and addressed in the coming 
week.  Deep cracks appeared in the Sunni Arab bloc, however, 
even as all sides agreed to settle the outstanding security 
portfolios over the next week.  The final cabinet list -- 
despite its gaps -- succeeded in winning the support of the 
vast majority of parliamentary blocs.  Even with the Sunni 
dissidents, Shia Fadhila Party, and several smaller blocs in 
the opposition, Maliki's government has a claim to represent 
some 235 of the 275 parliamentarians -- some 85 percent of 
the parliament. 
2 (C) SUMMARY CONTINUED:  The final cabinet also demonstrated 
that Maliki had made several last-minute accommodations with 
his rivals in the Shia coalition.  SCIRI claimed the finance 
ministry and a national dialogue state minister post that had 
originally been intended for the Sunnis, the Sadrists 
retained all of their service ministries and picked up a 
state ministry for tourism, and Da'wa Tanzim al-Iraq won both 
the influential education and trade posts.  Maliki faces a 
continued debate over his security portfolios in the week 
ahead as well as efforts by Ayad Allawi to put the justice 
ministry in the hands of a closer ally of his than Hashem 
al-Shibly.  Meanwhile, some Sunni Arab leaders who stormed 
out of the session have since told Poloffs that they are 
ready to work with the government provided the interior and 
defense ministries are settled in a manner that satisfies all 
concerned.  END SUMMARY. 
Hewar and Dialogue Council Stage a 
Last Minute Protest 
3. (C) Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki presented and won a wide 
vote of confidence in a special parliament session on May 20, 
but not before a walkout and protests from several Sunni Arab 
parliamentarians.  Salah Mutlak's Hewar Front and the 
National Dialogue Council faction of the Tawafuq Front -- a 
total of about 18 parliamentarians -- threatened to boycott 
the proceedings before they began.  They demanded the entire 
event be pushed off 48 hours so that adjustments could be 
made to ministry allotments and candidates could be found for 
interior and defense.  The sudden showdown revealed the 
depths of the divisions among the parliament's Sunni Arab 
members as well as the stubbornness of Iraqi leaders in other 
blocs.  Speaker Mashadani, reluctant to convene the 
parliament while members of his own party fumed outside, 
urged the Ambassador to mediate.  President Talabani declined 
to intervene himself and Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi 
flatly turned down a request from the Ambassador to leave the 
parliament hall and join him in working to calm down his 
colleagues.  Maliki also remained in the hall uninterested in 
the unrest outside.  Only outgoing PM Ibrahim al-Jafari 
ventured in beside the Ambassador but he was soon overwhelmed 
by the anger in the air. 
4. (C) When all of the dissenters were gather in a room 
across from the parliament hall, Mutlak and his National 
Dialogue Council allies unleashed a venomous attack on their 
Sunni Arab colleagues in the Tawafuq Front.  Mutlak accused 
Adnan Duleimi, a septuagenarian leader in Tawafuq who was 
also attempting to mediate, of being the "Shaykh of the 
Conspiracy" that "stole" his ministries.  When Duleimi asked 
Mutlak to be more polite, Mutlak shouted back, "You haven't 
been polite a day in your life!"  The venom seeped outside 
the room as well.  Poloff stepped into a room next door 
during the stand-off and found National Dialogue Council 
member Abd al-Nasser al-Janabi and several other 
parliamentarians surrounding presumptive Sunni Arab DPM Salam 
al-Zawbai.  "You've fallen into an American intelligence 
trap!" Janabi angrily shouted at a visibly stunned Zawbai. 
5. (C) The dispute was ostensibly over the last-minute 
exclusion of Mutlak's group from the government, the large 
share of Sunni Arab seats taken by the Iraqi Islamic Party, 
and the continued deadlock over the interior and defense 
ministries.  But it reflected deeper divisions in the Sunni 
BAGHDAD 00001664  002 OF 003 
Arab community that could yet test the bonds of the new 
cabinet.  Mutlak and others have never forgiven Tareq 
al-Hashemi's Iraqi Islamic Party for approving the Iraqi 
constitution, and divisions between these factions go back to 
the days of the former regime when Mutlak and Ba'athist 
sympathizers were in power and Sunni Islamists like Hashemi 
were in exile or in prison.  Mutlak accuses Hashemi's Islamic 
Party of rigging the elections against him.  Meanwhile the 
National Dialogue Council members of the Tawafuq Front 
regularly claim that their supporters won the Front 44-seats, 
not the Iraqi Islamic Party.  Janabi and others spoke on 
behalf of the entire Tawafuq Front repeatedly during the 
confrontation even though their members hold only about seven 
of the Front's 44 seats. 
6. (C) The Ambassador, joined by outgoing PM Ibrahim 
al-Jafari, heard out their concerns while a packed parliament 
hall waited.  The Ambassador urged them to attend the session 
-- even to abstain or vote no on the cabinet -- and focus 
their energies on ensuring that the security portfolios are 
distributed correctly over the next week.  The Ambassador 
also offered to bring together the leading members of the 
Tawafuq Front -- Khalaf Alayan, VP Tariq al-Hashemi, and 
Adnan al-Duleimi -- for a fence-mending session in the coming 
days.  With those assurances, Khalaf Alayan directed his 
group to enter the hall. 
Session Proceeds Despite a Walk-out 
7. (C) The dispute spilled over into the parliament hall 
moments after the session was convened, however.  Hewar Front 
leader Salah al-Mutlak attempted to steal the spotlight with 
a personal address of opposition to the Iraqi people.  When 
he was cut off, he made a motion to delay the announcement of 
the cabinet for two days, a request that was immediately 
voted down.  Then Tawafuq member Abdul Nasr al-Janabi of the 
National Dialogue Council stood and announced that the final 
minister list was incomplete, illegal and unrepresentative 
and staged a walkout.  He and some 15 other parliamentarians 
-- all from the Dialogue Council and Hewar Front -- filed out 
of the hall.  The wide majority of the 58 Sunni Arab 
parliamentarians in the hall remained in the session, as did 
top Tawafuq leaders Tariq al-Hashimi, Adnan Dulaymi, and 
Speaker Mahmud Mashadani. 
Maliki's Cabinet Shows Accommodation 
With Shia Coalition Rivals 
8. (C) The parliament then proceeded to speedily vote through 
an expanded cabinet list of 38 posts, leaving vacant the 
security posts of interior, defense, and state minister for 
national security, all of which will be hashed out in 
negotiations over the next week.  The final cabinet list 
showed that Maliki had moved far in the final hours to 
accommodate his rivals in the Shia coalition.  The Da'wa 
Tanzim Iraq faction seated its top officials in the education 
and trade ministries.  Maliki even planned to appoint Da'wa 
Tanzim Iraq official Shirwan al-Waeli to the Minister of 
State for Security Affairs post but held off in the morning 
after the Ambassador made clear that all security 
appointments needed a closer look over the coming week. 
9. (C) Maliki bowed to SCIRI's demand to have Bayan Jabr atop 
the finance ministry and put SCIRI veteran Akram al-Hakim in 
the newly-created slot of Minister of State for National 
Dialogue, a position intended originally for Mutlak.  Maliki 
-- despite previously expressed deep reservations on the 
subject -- also gave in to Sadrist demands to retain control 
over key service ministries and added a state minister for 
tourism slot to their share. 
Sunnis Ready to Come Back into 
Fold with Progress on Security Files 
10. (C) President Talabani, former PM Jafari, and CoR Speaker 
Mashadani followed with speeches of their own welcoming the 
new government and warning of challenges ahead.  After the 
ministers were sworn in and the session recessed, the Sunni 
Arab walkouts were found still waiting in the cafeteria 
outside.  Al-Janabi later told Poloff that the group was 
unhappy that the Minister of Defense had not yet been named 
and left open the possibility of rejoining the government 
within a few days if their grievances were addressed.  The 
Ambassador plans to convene the key Sunni Arab leaders in the 
BAGHDAD 00001664  003 OF 003 
coming days and drive forward negotiations on the remaining 
security slots. 
List of the National Unity Cabinet 
11. (SBU) The final cabinet list -- despite its gaps -- 
succeeded in winning the support of the vast majority of 
parliamentary blocs.  Even with the Sunni dissidents, Shia 
Fadhila Party, and several smaller blocs in the opposition, 
Maliki's government has a claim to represent some 235 of the 
275 parliamentarians -- some 85 percent of the parliament. 
The cabinet represents most of the Shia coalition and Tawafuq 
Fronts, the Kurdistan Alliance, the Iraqiyya List, and the 
Kurdistan Islamic Union. 
12. (SBU) The following are the names of the cabinet 
ministers approved by the CoR (with party affiliation if 
known).  The list includes four women who will serve as 
minister of human rights, environment, housing and the 
minister of state for women's affairs: 
The Prime Ministership: 
PRIME MINISTER: Nuri al-Maliki, Shia Arab, UIC 
DPM: Barham Salih, Sunni Kurd, PUK 
DPM: Salam al-Zawbai, Sunni Arab, Tawafuq 
The "Sovereign" Ministries: 
ELECTRICITY: Karim Wahid al-Hassan, Shia Arab, Independent 
FOREIGN MINISTRY: Hoshyar Zebari, Sunni Kurd, KDP 
OIL: Husayn Shahristani, Shia Arab, UIC Independent 
FINANCE: Bayan Jabr, Shia Arab, UIC SCIRI 
INTERIOR: Under the temporary direction of the PM. 
DEFENSE: Under the temporary direction of DPM Zawbai. 
The Regular Ministries: 
WATER RESOURCES: Abd al-Latif Rashid, Sunni Kurd, PUK 
INDUSTRY: Fawzi Harriri, Christian, Assyrian, KDP 
HOUSING:  Bayan Dizayee, Sunni Kurd, KDP 
CULTURE:  As'ad Kamal Muhammad al-Hashimi, Sunni Arab 
PLANNING: Ali Baban, Sunni Arab, Tawafuq 
HIGHER EDUCATION: Abid Diyab al-Ajili, Sunni Arab, Tawafuq. 
COMMUNICATIONS: Muhammad Allawi, Shia Arab, Iraqiyya 
JUSTICE: Hashim al-Shibli, Sunni Arab, Iraqiyya 
SCIENCE AND TECH.: Ra'id Fahmi, Sunni Arab, Iraqiyya 
HUMAN RIGHTS: Wijdan Salem, Chaldo-Assyrian, Iraqiyya 
ENVIRONMENT:  Narmine Othman, Kurdish, PUK 
EDUCATION:  Khudayr al-Khuza'i, UIC 
TRANSPORT:  Dr. Karim Mahdi Salih, UIC 
HEALTH:  Dr. Ali Shammari, Shia Arab, UIC Sadrist 
MUNIC. AND PUBLIC WORKS: Riyadh Ghurayyib, UIC, Badr 
TRADE: Abd al-Falah Sudany, Shia Arab, UIC Da'wa Tanzim 
AGRICULTURE:  Dr. Yu'arib Nadhim Al-'Abudi, UIC 
LABOR AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS: Mahmoud Muhammad Jawad al-Radhi, 
UIC, Independent Shia 
DISPLACEMENT AND MIGRATION: Dr. Abd al-Samad Rahman Sultan, 
YOUTH AND SPORTS: Jasim Muhammad Jafar, Turkmen, UIC 
The "State" Ministries: 
NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS: Under the temporary direction of 
DPM Salih. 
PARLIAMENT AFFAIRS:  Safa ad-Din al-Safi, Shia Arab, UIC 
FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Rafia al-Issawi, Sunni Arab, Tawafuq 
WOMEN'S AFFAIRS:  Fatin Abd al-Rahman Mahmoud 
GOVERNORATES AFFAIRS: Dr. Sa'ad Tahir al-Hashimi 
Ministers of State without portfolio: 
-- Muhammad Abbas al-Uraybi, Iraqiyya 
-- Ali Muhammad Ahmad, Sunni Kurd, Kurdistan Islamic Union 
-- Hassan Radhi Kadhim al-Sari, UIC, Independent Shia 


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