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The first Iraqi perminent government

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Today should be marked as a flag day in Iraq history. The Perliment session to ellect the speaker and presidential committe and nominate the PM was more than great. So natural, a lot of sense of humer, rivals exchanging comments in a very American indirect ping pong style.

I wouldn't imagin this to be an Middel eastren style one where we used to have boring firmly managed orchestrated sessions, that is if you have a perliment!

 

One point that draw my attention that might high light the complexity of Iraqi society,it was the biography of both the Sunni Arab hard liner Islamist speaker Dr. Mashihdani , who played extreemly well by adding a lot of humer on the session, and his hard liner kurd sunni debuty Mr. taifor. Both of them where proud to trace their families to the Shia seventh Imam of Mousa Alkadhum who is killed by Abassid Khalif in the eight century , his golden shrine in Baghdad/ Kadhumia north east of Baghdad. It is well understood to have some Iraqi Arab sunni being decendent of that Shia Imam who is a decendent of Arab Muslim prophet of Mohammed, but to have a kurd being proud of his decendent of Arab roots, was not very expected. Indeed one of the perliment members gave him such remark in kind of sarcastic comment. His reply was I am from Berzenchi family, a well known very respected kurd family, and I am kurd that is decendent of the Arab Imam! the attendees liked it very much! Bezenchi family is an Alawee family who fled central Iraq during the freat Shia opperssion in the middel ages. Some thing thing similar to Alsystani family who feld to Persia!

 

A lot to be told by the spirit and ecouraging signs by all parties , including the Alawee's slate reps who complained the rejection of their leader to the presidential commitee. One of the messages , I think, will be well recieved by that great leader on the other side of the himoshphere,. history will later write about his courage and commitment to make such thing happening in the hart of darkness of ME.. A leader who stood so firm facing all critism, kept preaching that the new born will soon be delivered.

Please salute the historical leadership of President G W Bush the jonior!!

 

Talking about Maliki home town of Hindia "Also known as Tweareej".. It is one of the most beautiful Iraqi rural agricultural small town by Eufrates river .. It was build in the nineteen century by Othman ruler Midhet basha. to be the municipal center for the near by huge farm and agriculture produce. It was well known that Hindia became a commercial multi idiology center in centeral Iraq. It is usuall to have in same family different hard liners of islamist, communist or arab nationalist.Also one might find great engineers, medical doctors, religous scholars, music artist, peots.. That brought a lot of attention by Sadam regim to this small town. And so it paid the high price. The city aslo known of its very closed Arab peasant traditions and residents of tough arab tribes. That makes its locals so stick to their Arab heritage..

 

Nouri Kamil Almaliki "Also known by party nick name Jawad Almaliki" was one of those kids who had the chance to born in that town from a secular well educated family. His grand father was minster of education during the hashimite kingdom in the Fiftees. He persued his study to get his Masters in Arabic arts and Islamic studies from Salah deen university in Arbil in the seventees. Ironically his supervisor was the current Kurd political figure Dr. Fuad masoum, the speaker of the former national assembly.

 

Mr. Almaliki is grabbing a very unique apportunity.. He is getting the support of the international community in addition of most of iraqi people, he should stand to the point by working hard to implement the new Iraqi system of law and order that is based on humen rights , soverignity and democracy.. I have a strong feeling that he is quite capable to do the job! let us wait and see.

 

There is is still a very legitamite question, why those who opposed Jaafree would agree on what looks like his copy cat debuty Almaliki.

 

I don't claim knowning the answer, I would rather talk about my self whom I put in that category.

I think most Iraqis were so upset with Jaafree weak profile. aslo his non unface face. You might listen to him talking but ends up with no information about his stands. On contrary , Maliki talks very direct clear strong and to the point.

 

Another difference, Maliki is raised in a peasant Arab tribe tradition environment , that makes him very aggressive and sensative to forgien political and cultural influence, as most Iraqi arab peasants do. His carreer in Aldawa party proved that during his struggle with Sadam , he never bow to the Iranian influences. In such critical moments of building new soverign iraq such attitude is most wellcomed and I think this was a critical motives by Sunni Arab, Alsadrees, Kurds in supporting his nomination. That is nothing to say that he is an anti Iranian or that jaafree is pro Iranian, but being a decendent of very traditionist Arab tribe makes him a strong believer in protecting Iraqi identity a way from Arab nationalistic or Iranian interests.. Jaafree was raised in Holy city of Kerbala religous city with a lot of religous culture influence, his Aleshaiger family moved from Almedina in Suadi Arabia in eithteenth century. He was raised in more like religouse traditions, where polite talking and behaviours should be indirect and very boring! His Suadi origin makes him very hesitating in bringing strong stands in front of Arab Gulf anti new Iraq.. That was clear in his looked as humilating approach to Suadee govering family outraging remarks about new Iraq. Iraqis nationalistic feeling is at it's upmost, any stand short to fullfil would pay very high cost of lossing political opportunity..

 

I need to comment more after collecting more on the new PM

 

 

 

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4932468.stm

 

Have a look to how a BBC reporter put Maliki

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Guest hogan

Regardless of their reasons, the minority parties in Iraq have flexed their muscle. They have shown the Shia PM that if he disregards the minority interests he will only rule for four years.

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Guest Guest_layth_*
Today should be marked as a flag day in Iraq history. The Perliment session to ellect the speaker and presidential committe and nominate the PM was more than great. So natural, a lot of sense of humer, rivals exchanging comments in a very American indirect ping pong style.

I wouldn't imagin this to be an Middel eastren style one where we used to have boring firmly managed orchestrated sessions, that is if you have a perliment!

 

One point that draw my attention that might high light the complexity of Iraqi society,it was the biography of both the Sunni Arab hard liner Islamist speaker Dr. Mashihdani , who played extreemly well by adding a lot of humer on the session, and his hard liner kurd sunni debuty Mr. taifor. Both of them where proud to trace their families to the Shia seventh Imam of Mousa Alkadhum who is killed by Abassid Khalif in the eight century , his golden shrine in Baghdad/ Kadhumia north east of Baghdad. It is well understood to have some Iraqi Arab sunni being decendent of that Shia Imam who is a decendent of Arab Muslim prophet of Mohammed, but to have a kurd being proud of his decendent of Arab roots, was not very expected. Indeed one of the perliment members gave him such remark in kind of sarcastic comment. His reply was I am from Berzenchi family, a well known very respected kurd family, and I am kurd that is decendent of the Arab Imam! the attendees liked it very much! Bezenchi family is an Alawee family who fled central Iraq during the freat Shia opperssion in the middel ages. Some thing thing similar to Alsystani family who feld to Persia!

 

A lot to be told by the spirit and ecouraging signs by all parties , including the Alawee's slate reps who complained the rejection of their leader to the presidential commitee. One of the messages , I think, will be well recieved by that great leader on the other side of the himoshphere,. history will later write about his courage and commitment to make such thing happening in the hart of darkness of ME.. A leader who stood so firm facing all critism, kept preaching that the new born will soon be delivered.

Please salute the historical leadership of President G W Bush the jonior!!

 

Talking about Maliki home town of Hindia "Also known as Tweareej".. It is one of the most beautiful Iraqi rural agricultural small town by Eufrates river .. It was build in the nineteen century by Othman ruler Midhet basha. to be the municipal center for the near by huge farm and agriculture produce. It was well known that Hindia became a commercial multi idiology center in centeral Iraq. It is usuall to have in same family different hard liners of islamist, communist or arab nationalist.Also one might find great engineers, medical doctors, religous scholars, music artist, peots.. That brought a lot of attention by Sadam regim to this small town. And so it paid the high price. The city aslo known of its very closed Arab peasant traditions and residents of tough arab tribes. That makes its locals so stick to their Arab heritage..

 

Nouri Kamil Almaliki "Also known by party nick name Jawad Almaliki" was one of those kids who had the chance to born in that town from a secular well educated family. His grand father was minster of education during the hashimite kingdom in the Fiftees. He persued his study to get his Masters in Arabic arts and Islamic studies from Salah deen university in Arbil in the seventees. Ironically his supervisor was the current Kurd political figure Dr. Fuad masoum, the speaker of the former national assembly.

 

Mr. Almaliki is grabbing a very unique apportunity.. He is getting the support of the international community in addition of most of iraqi people, he should stand to the point by working hard to implement the new Iraqi system of law and order that is based on humen rights , soverignity and democracy.. I have a strong feeling that he is quite capable to do the job! let us wait and see.

 

There is is still a very legitamite question, why those who opposed Jaafree would agree on what looks like his copy cat debuty Almaliki.

 

I don't claim knowning the answer, I would rather talk about my self whom I put in that category.

I think most Iraqis were so upset with Jaafree weak profile. aslo his non unface face. You might listen to him talking but ends up with no information about his stands. On contrary , Maliki talks very direct clear strong and to the point.

 

Another difference, Maliki is raised in a peasant Arab tribe tradition environment , that makes him very aggressive and sensative to forgien political and cultural influence, as most Iraqi arab peasants do. His carreer in Aldawa party proved that during his struggle with Sadam , he never bow to the Iranian influences. In such critical moments of building new soverign iraq such attitude is most wellcomed and I think this was a critical motives by Sunni Arab, Alsadrees, Kurds in supporting his nomination. That is nothing to say that he is an anti Iranian or that jaafree is pro Iranian, but being a decendent of very traditionist Arab tribe makes him a strong believer in protecting Iraqi identity a way from Arab nationalistic or Iranian interests.. Jaafree was raised in Holy city of Kerbala religous city with a lot of religous culture influence, his Aleshaiger family moved from Almedina in Suadi Arabia in eithteenth century. He was raised in more like religouse traditions, where polite talking and behaviours should be indirect and very boring! His Suadi origin makes him very hesitating in bringing strong stands in front of Arab Gulf anti new Iraq.. That was clear in his looked as humilating approach to Suadee govering family outraging remarks about new Iraq. Iraqis nationalistic feeling is at it's upmost, any stand short to fullfil would pay very high cost of lossing political opportunity..

 

I need to comment more after collecting more on the new PM

 

 

 

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4932468.stm

 

Have a look to how a BBC reporter put Maliki

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Guest Guest_layth_*
Regardless of their reasons, the minority parties in Iraq have flexed their muscle. They have shown the Shia PM that if he disregards the minority interests he will only rule for four years.

Iraqi majority choose Aljaafari, what happened against the will of majority.

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Guest hogan

First, the UIA has only 128 seats which is less than a majority of the parliment. They were the largest party, not the majority party. Second almost half the members of the UIA voted for Almahdi. This means only 25 percent of Iraqis selected Aljaafari. But non of that is important. What is important is in order to safeguard the interests of the minority, 90 percent of the Iraqis approved a constitution that required a 2/3 majority of the parliment to approve a PM nominated by the largest party. In the Iraqi constitution the minority cannot make policy but they are afforded the rights to approve certain decisions.

 

In this case the will of the "majority" ran into the rights of the minorities.

 

Selfishness benefits no one and selflessness benefits all. It is the same as with family only on a grander scale.

 

My question to you, Guest_layth_*, is what is so important about Aljaafari that you would wish to ignore the interests of a large segment of the Iraqi population. Do you have a problem with Almaliki? Are you angry that the UIA has to consider the opinions of the Kurds and Sunnis?

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Guest Warily, Iraqis Investing Hope in
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/24/world/middleeast/24iraq.html

 

 

Warily, Iraqis Investing Hope in New Leaders

 

 

By SABRINA TAVERNISE

Published: April 24, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 23 — On the cusp of their first permanent government since the American-led invasion, Iraqis are not exactly celebrating. Rather, they seem to be gritting their teeth and clinging grimly to the battered hope for democracy, even in what many see as a strange and uncomfortable incarnation.

 

 

Scott Nelson/World Picture News, for The New York Times

Riyadh al-Adhadh, a Baghdad doctor, likened Iraq to a drowning man, and the prime minister-designate a floating plank to which people cling.

Iraq, said one Baghdad doctor, is a drowning man, and the prime minister-designate a floating plank.

 

"We have to hold on to the wood, even if it has nails," said the doctor, a rheumatologist named Riyadh al-Adhadh. "We need this wood, whatever its shape. It is all that prevents us from going under the sea."

 

The seven new political leaders chosen Saturday, including a president and prime minister, face tasks with obstacles so great that they appear nearly insurmountable.

 

The prime minister must appoint a government that can win the confidence of most of Iraq's diverse and feuding groups. Since the American invasion, the religious and ethnic divides of Iraqi society have worsened. The new Constitution was more peace treaty than democratic blueprint. In some areas, daily fighting and lawlessness are already considered civil war.

 

The new leaders, all men, must also try to win public confidence, the capacity for which had been ground out of Iraqis under Saddam Hussein, and hardly revived by the years of the war that the government has been unable to control, and at times, is even seen to have helped.

 

Still, many Iraqis say they are so desperately in need of a strong, independent leader that almost anyone — Shiite, Sunni or Kurd — would do.

 

"There is no such thing as too Shiite or too Sunni," said Dr. Adhadh, briskly signing papers in a sparsely furnished room in the Adhamiya district council, where he serves as a member. "People voted based on sect. We simply have two different groups now."

 

Even as Katyusha rockets fell (three hit a parking lot just outside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone in a morning attack that killed six Iraqis, including a man who had been married for four days) and bullets flew (four men playing soccer in a field in south Baghdad were shot dead by gunmen at dusk), many Iraqis seemed willing to give the new prime minister-designate, Jawad al-Maliki, the benefit of the doubt.

 

"There's a saying in our culture: a man is only as good as his word," said Amar Noori, 27, a student standing in the parking lot by the blood stains of one of the dead men, who he said was his cousin. "Maliki said he would form a government in a month. Let's see if he will."

 

Even for Iraq's secular politicians, who have been virtually eclipsed by sectarian and religious figures and who received none of the seven positions filled this weekend, the mood on Sunday was not altogether dark.

 

One of them, Adnan Pachachi, who served as Iraq's foreign minister in the 1960's, said that even though most colleagues in his secular alliance abstained from voting in protest of the sectarian nature of the choices, Mr. Maliki, a Shiite, appeared to have his plusses.

 

In private meetings with parliamentarians before the vote, for example, he tried to distance himself from Iran, and spoke forcefully against allowing autonomous regions, desired by many in the main Shiite block, known as the United Iraqi Alliance.

 

"He's more acceptable than a lot of the U.I.A.," said Mr. Pachachi, 82, sipping coffee in his quiet, carpeted living room. "Most important is which ministers he'll choose. If we're going to have a collection of party hacks, then we don't have anything."

 

But he said if Mr. Maliki was able to bring in "some good people from outside his party and outside Parliament," both he and Iraq might have some chance for success.

 

The view was echoed by Ayad Ali, a pharmacist in his 50's. Like most Iraqis, Mr. Ali has followed the recent developments, and concluded that Mr. Maliki might be good for Iraq, if he could work independently.

 

"I don't know Maliki, but from what I heard from him in the last few days, I think he's good," Mr. Ali said. "When we have real monitoring from more than just one side, things will be different."

 

Beyond the obvious obstacle of a severe lack of professionals and experts, many of whom have fled Iraq, Mr. Maliki will be under tremendous pressure from his own and other Shiite parties to fill his cabinet from within their ranks. The former prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, was broadly criticized for allowing fellow Shiites to run amok in ministries, leading to the spread of militias blamed for many politically and criminally motivated murders.

 

"I'm optimistic, especially if he can give a real solution to the issue of militias," said Ahmed al-Ansary, a 30-year-old computer engineer. "Not an artificial one like last time."

Militias, often associated with the fringes of the Shiite religious parties, have deeply worsened conditions for democracy in Iraq, driving bright shards of hatred into the hearts of neighborhoods, and dangerously fraying the fabric of Iraqi society.

The stories are grim but familiar. Majid Hamid, 43, told of how his brother, Haider Hamid, 22, who worked for an Iraqi human rights organization and lived in Dawra, a Baghdad neighborhood where fighting rages constantly, was taken away on April 15 by men dressed in Iraqi security force uniforms, who said he was being "arrested."

 

Mr. Hamid said he found his brother in the morgue five days later, riddled with drill holes and stab marks in his leg and torso amid other signs of torture, with no explanation for what had happened. Morgue workers told him Haider apparently had died the day he was arrested.

 

Mr. Maliki acknowledged the militia problem in one of his first policy speeches on Saturday, saying they should be folded into official government forces.

 

(Perhaps reflecting how difficult his task will be, Iraq's Kurdish president said Sunday that the Kurdish force, the pesh merga, "is not a militia," but a "regulated force," Agence France-Presse reported.)

 

Insurgent violence, driven by Sunni Arab extremists, also grinds on. Three American soldiers were killed northwest of Baghdad around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb. Insurgent violence left 12 Iraqis dead in and around Baghdad on Sunday. Authorities also reported the deaths of 3 Iraqis in Falluja and the northern city of Kirkuk on Saturday. Twelve unidentified bodies were also found.

 

For his part, President Bush on Sunday morning made congratulatory phone calls to the new Iraqi leadership. Later, Mr. Bush told marines at the combat center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., that the new leaders had "awesome responsibilities." Mr. Bush also told the marines that the United States would not withdraw from Iraq until the Iraqis could take over on their own.

 

On Sunday afternoon in the parking lot outside the Green Zone, men stood in small groups, examining a large rocket shell casing lodged in the pavement. The front ends of several cars had been crushed.

 

Everyone wanted a chance to talk. They told of how they tried to help the victims, whose bodies were on fire from the explosion, and of how shooting had suddenly erupted.

 

"No authority, nothing," an elderly man shouted from the crowd.

 

A woman in a housecoat stood in her doorway just down the street. "There's a lack of everything," she said. "We want someone who will come to save the people."

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Militias, often associated with the fringes of the Shiite religious parties, have deeply worsened conditions for democracy in Iraq, driving bright shards of hatred into the hearts of neighborhoods, and dangerously fraying the fabric of Iraqi society.

 

Indeed the Militias issue need to be well managed. Shrinking it to the allegedly related to Shia religous parties , is kind of simplistic view.

As Maliki put it, any riffle out of government control needs to be abandant. This need to include, any non government forces including Kurd Beshmeqa, Sadamist bands, Qaeda bands, Almehdi Army and any other. As for Bader, it is well known that there is no exsisting known mitia still working in that name after the desolve of the Bader Army two years ago. We might have instead some local committes armed personals that are loyal to Alhakim. No known activity though. Sunni Arab pointing to Bader for the organized killing targeting Sunni activites but no concrete evidence that this is really a Bader related. Last week in Adhamia , Baathists propaganda machine accused both Mehdi and bader militias for the attacks, however they fail to tell us how these two rival shia sects get such combined big attack opperation at a time every one knows that they lack any cooperation on ground.

 

Almehdi and Beshmarqa are the only two publicly announced Militias. While Sadamist and Qaeda bands are the underground one.

 

Inorder to disband both Beshmarqa and Almehdi army, we need first to implement the necessary measures to protect people from the criminal bands. You can't ask some one to drop his gun while you can't protect him from criminals that are proud to sloughter Iraqis every day.

 

I think Al-maliki is providing a unique chance of hope. His Dawa party has no any armed alleged or non alleged militia, his Arab tribal background gives a very comforing message to Arab Sunni, his strong and tough views on terrorism gives same to Shia , his piography showed a very displan to Iraq national interests proved by his stands to be out of the Iranian control even during the very hard times of Sadam's Aldawa extreem oppression. Tomorrow Aliraqia will broadcast the first exclusive interview with him talking about his views and policies and the current political process. I would wait to hear from him before commenting on his chances

 

Be tuned!

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In his first interview , I think Al-maliki had crossed the hard first impression .As I did , most Iraqis had followed every word , every move by him.

It was full one hour ,covering his personal views about many sensitive issues.

 

ABOUT syria and Iran, he said that though their support is appreciated but it should not be mixed with Iraqi national interest.

On terrorist , he said it needs a complete package to isolate them.

On ministries nomination, he said that it should not take long time as most details already discussed . There is a point system that count certain points for each position. president is 5 points, 6 for PM, 4 points for assembly speaker, 3 points for defense and interior ministry, 2 points for each ministry.

 

Each Parliament member got one point, accordingly the ministries will be assigned to different slates.When asked about any names that were circulated as nominated, he said that it is still too early to talk about names.

 

As for harmony among government, Maliki said that he will follow very hard policy of watching ministers conduct to be serving the national interest and not their parties or race or faction. He said those who will violate that role , he will expel them after expose them to the Parliament.

 

 

 

In general he showed a tough stand , he was confident and very clear

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I missed some other points on that interview

 

On Women, he said that Women in Iraq is a majority and we need to encourage such very valuable resource in the building of new Iraq. He promised to help women to give " then he coreect it , to TO TAKE" their full rights.

 

As Islamist he was asked about his opinion on enforcing Sharia or some laws of Sharia. He said that the constitution doesn't give PM the right to enforce laws , any law should be implemented through the legal process by the the reps of people. He added that from his point of view as Islamist, Iraq is a complex mix of multi religion , secular, sects and any law should be to serve all to some. He said what he believe in as to any Islamic related issue, is that the society need to be educated and not to be enforced.

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What had happened over the last couple days proves one thing. That Iraq situation dynamics are so fluid and things that look so ugly might turn all of a sudden to be so promising. After long four months struggling, Iraqi people ans their reps proved to the world that they ar at the moment and they can move forward regardless of all extreemly hard challenges... I think a look to what Abo ahmed had written in his post that Baghda repost in hot topics , is giving a very good answer to the legitimate question of what type of people these Iraqis are?

 

Any how , as I said before, Maliki nomination represent a unique opportunity to him. But it seesm it is too to others who too were up to capture the moment.

President Bush ordered both American policy making rivals , Defense and State departments , to fly to get together with Maliki to see how they can COOPERATE to help him doing his job. That move was recieved by Iraqis a sign of real interest by the US highest administration in supporting the new governement.. After meeting with them, Maliki did his most important step, getting the blessing for his plans and the most critical one of militia "All of them" dismentaling or integration. Talabani support that yesterday repeating Maliki's clear stetment " NO rifle but the government's one". Maliki today went further by getting the full support on that mission from Alsystani and Alsader. Alsystani spokesman, after Maliki visit, announced that Systani is totaly in agree with Maliki's plans. Alsader from his side said on Aliraqia TV that the people will stand in full support to the government. Another expression of giving support to Maliki mission..

 

The Tawafuc Sunni slate support was clear, yesterday vise president Hashimi said that the president council will support Maliki.

On other side Zarqawee first video speach on Aljezeera was recieved by many Iraqis as a fearful message , many questioned the well being look of him touring Alnbar province deserts.. Today his first warnings came to reality by the assasination of the sister of Hashimi ! He already warned Sunnis from participating in the governement.. Mr. Hashimi already paid a very high price two weeks ago when his brother was assasinated . His extreemly couragous stand firm with his decision of sharing other Iraqis the responsibility of rebuilding Iraq by participation in the political process, was an outstanding stand that all Iraqis need to remember.

 

Having Sunni Arab taking their share in building and protecting Iraq is one of the biggest achievments that Iraqis and their supporters had done..

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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/27/world/mi...ast/27iraq.html

 

Have a look to how NT is covering recent visit by both Rice and Ramsfield..

Both cabinet secretaries also sought to put the past differences between the departments behind them by emphasizing that they would be working more cooperatively to bolster the Iraqi government, which the prime minister-designate, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, says he wants to finish putting together in the next several days.

 

The secretaries spent much of their joint visit, which officials said had been ordered by President Bush and which had not been previously announced because of security concerns, speaking with Iraqi officials in the heavily guarded Green Zone in central Baghdad

 

 

Many experts say, however, that demobilizing the militias, or disarming them forcibly, will be extremely difficult because they are heavily armed and well connected politically to leading Shiite figures without whose support Mr. Maliki's government could collapse.

 

Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the American ground commander in Iraq, told reporters that the new government would need to crack down on the militias. ''That to me is an issue we've got to get fixed,'' he said. ''We need a policy on militias. We need a policy on weapons, and that is something the government is going to tackle early on.''

 

At least in Ms. Rice's entourage, there was an atmosphere that the joint visit might offer a last chance to reverse some of the mistakes of the past three years in providing security for Iraq, getting the oil and power systems back and curbing sectarian hatreds and corruption.

 

''Clearly this new Iraqi government must perform on behalf of the Iraqi people,'' said James Wilkinson, a senior adviser to the secretary . ''But the new government also gives us a chance to correct our mistakes and do our part to make Iraq work.''

 

Bantering amiably with reporters about past comments interpreted as jabs at each other, the two cabinet secretaries both praised Mr. Maliki, the nominee of Iraq's Shiite voting bloc. He was so little known before his ascent that the Americans were surprised to learn on Wednesday that he preferred a different first name from the one that had been widely publicized last week, Jawad.

 

Ms. Rice said of him, ''I found him very focused and very clear that he understood his role and the role of the new government to demonstrate that it was a government of national unity in which all Iraqis could trust and on which all Iraqis could rely.''

 

It was unclear how much the American push to form an Iraqi government would speed the moment when the Bush administration decides whether there could be troop reductions later this year.

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NT report , as if Mr. OPPEL was re posting my last thoughs!

 

Iraq's New Premier Gains Support in Talks With Shiite Leaders

 

By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.

Published: April 28, 2006

BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 27 — Hours after ending two days of meetings with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, the Iraqi prime minister-designate, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, traveled to the Shiite holy city of Najaf to meet with two of the powers he must now contend with, the Shiite leaders Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and Moktada al-Sadr.

Go to Complete Coverage Violence cast a shadow on the meetings, with the drive-by killing in Baghdad of the sister of Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi and the deaths of one Romanian and three Italian soldiers near Nasiriya, which spurred calls from some Italian political leaders to speed up the withdrawal of the country's 2,600 remaining troops in Iraq.

 

In his meeting with Ayatollah Sistani, Mr. Maliki won a statement from the religious leader calling for an end to militias and urging that the Iraqi security forces be freed from the grip of sectarian and political dominance. "Weapons should be carried only by government forces" loyal to the government and not to leaders of political or other groups, the ayatollah said.

 

It was a firm message of support for Mr. Maliki, who said on Thursday that he believed he could complete the selection of his cabinet within a week. Mr. Maliki, with prodding from the United States ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, has made a priority of reducing the influence of the militias that have helped push Iraq to the brink of civil war.

 

Sunni Arab leaders say that hundreds of young Sunni men who have been found murdered with drill holes in their limbs or head or other signs of torture are the victims of Shiite death squads often wearing official police or security forces uniforms.

 

But making a dent in the militias' influence will be difficult to accomplish, as some elements of the Iraqi Army and security forces are already dominated by members loyal to one militia or another.

 

Indeed, in a demonstration of the balancing act Mr. Maliki must perform both as prime minister and as leader of a fractious Shiite coalition, he met next with Mr. Sadr, the anti-American cleric who oversees the militia known as the Mahdi Army, thousands of young Shiite men who control northeastern Baghdad and have fought fierce battles with the American military.

.............

 

Mr. Maliki's political pilgrimage to Najaf came as Baghdad residents were reminded that even the most powerful Iraqi leaders cannot protect family members from the savage violence here.

 

Mr. Hashemi's sister was shot dead in a morning rush-hour ambush near her home. Her death came only two weeks after the murder of Mr. Hashemi's brother, and served as another indication of how insurgents are intent on terrorizing leaders of the new government. While government leaders are heavily guarded, their families are often easier targets.

 

Mr. Hashemi's sister, Maysoon al-Hashemi, 61, who was director of women's affairs in her brother's Iraqi Islamic Party, was buried a few hours later. Co-workers recalled how bravely she took the news that her brother Mahmoud had been assassinated on April 13.

 

 

 

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