Unity Government Approved in Iraq

A new Iraqi cabinet was sworn in amidst the mounting domestic and international pressure to end a political deadlock between the majority Shi’ite and the minority Sunni and Kurds.

Haider al-Abadi the new Prime Minister, who is a Shi’ite, will have Kurdish and Sunni deputies, both who will also hold key posts as ministers.

A statement was released by al-Abadi saying he vowed to work with every community in Iraq, which John Kerry the U.S. Secretary of State called a huge milestone.

However, the deal involving the sharing of power was not reached until after a stormy parliamentary session on Monday that spilled into Tuesday morning, barely holding off the constitutional deadline set for Wednesday.

Several key cabinet posts were left vacant. Included in those vacancies were the Interior and Defense Minister. The Prime Minister promised to have those positions filled within the next week.

The new deal in the government arrives during a very precarious juncture. Over the last few months, the militant group Islamic State has taken control of large areas of land in the northern region of Iraq and the group continues to pose a threat to government authorities.

Many rebels who are Sunni have joined the extremist group after becoming disenchanted with the government.

There also is a conflict that is long-standing between the Kurds and Baghdad over revenues from oil. The nonpayment of the revenues has helped to weaken the resistance the Kurds have against the militant group.

Nouri al-Maliki the predecessor to al-Abadi resigned last month amidst accusations from the Kurdish and Sunni communities that he bolstered sectarianism. The new Iraqi Prime Minister praised the citizens and militias that are Shi’ite who have stopped the Islamic State fighters from making it to Baghdad, but declared as well that any armed formation that is outside the authority of the government is banned.

The new Iraqi cabinet has set the stage for the announcement on Wednesday that is expected from President Barack Obama of a broader battle strategy versus the Islamic State that would hinge on Iraq having inclusive reforms.

Huge uncertainties are still present over what the impact will be of the power sharing accord.

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