Iraq and Gulf Analysis

Another Batch of Security Ministry Nominees: Turning the Clock Back to 2006?

Posted by Reidar Visser on Friday, 6 May 2011 22:19

Parliament speaker Usama al-Nujayfi has confirmed that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has presented a second batch of nominees for the crucial security ministries that were left out of the vote of confidence on his second government in December 2010. Nujayfi has not indicated when parliament will vote on the three candidates – Sadun al-Dulaymi for defence, Tawfiq al-Yasiri for interior, and Riyad Ghrayb for national security affairs.

The absence of an agreed date for a parliamentary vote reflects uncertainty relating to the parliamentary base of support for the three new candidates. In terms of their background, Dulaymi is currently culture minister but previously served as defence minister and is affiliated with the Sunni Islamist Tawafuq bloc. Both Tawfiq al-Yasiri and Riyad Ghrayb belong to the State of Law/Daawa milieu. Whereas Yasiri does have a military background, he left Iraq after having participated in the failed uprising in 1991 and remained in exile for a decade. That means all three candidates belong to the segment of “returned exiles” rather than to the important group of officials in the army that continued to work with Saddam in the 1990s and have been pragmatically coopted by the regime after 2003. In other words, they are all seen first and foremost as “party nominees”.

That aspect, in turn, relates to a potential problem for Maliki in obtaining parliamentary support for his nominees. Above all, Iraqiyya has been critical of the way Maliki circumvented its own candidate – Salim Dalli, who does have a military background but is currently a parliamentary deputy – and how he instead reverted to Tawafuq as a source of “Sunni” support. Additionally, the small breakaway faction from Iraqiyya known as White Iraqiyya has indicated its support for Maliki’s nominees, potentially leading to a situation in which Maliki and his Shiite coalition once more joins with Kurds and mostly symbolic representatives of the Sunnis to sideline Iraqiyya.

That in itself sounds very much like 2006. But whereas Iraqiyya has protested openly, it is still not clear where the Kurds and the rest of the Shiites stand on the latest batch of nominees. For example, a Fadila spokesperson has said Maliki “enforced” Yasiri as the Shiite candidate for interior, and it is unclear whether the Sadrist demand to have Abd al-Karim al-Sudani as deputy interior minister will be acceded to. It is however noteworthy that the pro-Maliki newspaper Al-Muwatin indicated Dulaymi as a possible defence minister as early as on 19 April, suggesting that perhaps this latest move does indeed represent Maliki’s plan for getting the parliamentary approval that would finally complete his second cabinet line-up.

8 Responses to “Another Batch of Security Ministry Nominees: Turning the Clock Back to 2006?”

  1. Ali M said

    Dulaymi was elected as part of Unity of Iraq, not Tawafuq.

  2. Reidar,
    There are some rumors regarding. Dulaimi’s candidature, was there US Involvment? Did he accept to submit his Name? Any Insight?

  3. Reidar Visser said

    Ali, I suppose we might as well decribe him as belonging to al-Wasat which combines UoI and Tawafuq. Faisal, I don’t kow about the US position on Dulaymi. They may perhaps consider him a safe pair of hands, but it seems like a too overt circumvention of Iraqiyya.

  4. Santana said

    Dulaimi is a nice guy and there are worse choices but any resistence he faces is probably cuz A- He was not exactly a stellar performer during his last stint as MOD and B- Iraqia is rejecting him mainly for Maliki’s violation of the Irbil agreement.

    Ghareeb on the other hand is a different story altogether and some say he has covert ties with Qasem Sulaimani ……..but then so does Jalal Talabani -Iraq’s fearless leader… I guess in Iraq anything goes and nothing surprises me.

  5. Salah said


    looks Maliki rushing to give names as talking about the extension of “SOFA” in the way, what you think with this bit of news with recent few US high profile officials visited Iraq, this one the recent:

    Pelosi arrived in Iraq yesterday morning with eight other US lawmakers — seven from her Democratic party and a Republican — in the latest visit to Iraq by a top US official with just months to go before all American troops leave under the terms of a bilateral security pact.

  6. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, I found it interesting that Adnan al-Shahmani of State of Law seemed to speak of a SOFA extention in positive terms (referring to the need for enhanced Iraqi air & navy capabilities) the other day, whereas an Iraqiyya deputy seemed to rule out parliamentary approval for such a change to the SOFA. But I don’t think Maliki has the votes to get a SOFA extension through parliament unless he is able to agree with a greater slice of Iraqiyya on this issue, as well as on the security ministries.

  7. Hassan A said

    Reidar, dulaimi won his seat on Unity of Iraq list in Anbar. So he’s not tawafuq anymore.

  8. Reidar Visser said

    Yes, thanks, but as noted above, Tawafuq and Unity of Iraq now supposedly form the Wasat bloc, though I am unsure about how well it hangs together.

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