MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – After weeks of political deadlock, Iraq’s parliament has approved a deliberately inclusive new government, in which a Sunni and a Kurd have been appointed deputy prime ministers; the country has resolved to tackle Islamic State (ISIS) militants who currently control large parts of Iraq and Syria.
In a move designed to increase a sense of multilateralism and national unity in Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, a moderate Shia, was asked to form a new government after his predecessor Nouri al-Maliki was forced to resign in August. Saleh al-Mutlak, a Sunni, and Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, were named deputy prime ministers.
The United States welcomed the announcement and called it a “major milestone for Iraq”, the Independent reports. “Overcoming the obstacle of ethnic and sectarian divides, the Iraqi parliament approved a new and inclusive government… Now is the time for Iraq’s leaders to govern their nation with the same vision and sense of purpose that helped to bring this new government together in the first place,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday, as quoted by the International Business Times.
Al-Maliki was forced to resign when the nation’s Sunni and Kurdish communities accused him of pursuing sectarian policies, which in turn led to growing tensions between the Sunni minority, Kurds and the Shia-led government. As a result, many Sunni rebels who felt marginalized by al-Maliki’s administration joined ISIS. However, if the government had protected Sunni rights, many Sunni militants would have felt compelled to fight against ISIS, the BBC reported.
Prime Minister al-Abadi told the Iraqi parliament that he would carry on military operations against ISIS. The Iraqi government forces had pushed ISIS militants away from the strategically important area near Hamitha Dam on Monday, Rossiya Segodnya informs.
The Prime Minister said that he would work with all of the communities in Iraq, as well as regional and international partners to strengthen Iraq’s capabilities to fight ISIS. US President Barack Obama talked with al-Abadi on Monday and promised to help the new Iraqi government fight the ISIS militants. President Obama and Prime Minister al-Abadi agreed on the importance of having the newly-formed Iraqi government take “concrete steps to address” the ISIS threat in the country, a White House spokesperson said, as quoted by the Independent.