Upon filling the remaining positions in the cabinet, four of the six positions are going to be held by Sunni Iraqis. This is a good step forward, since they were not forbidden to vote in the January elections. This should bring unity to the fledgeling democracy. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has promised to reach out to all sects and peoples to bring a unifying calm to Iraq.
President Jalal Talabani and his two vice presidents approved of these choices as per the required parliamentary process.
Prime Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum (Shiite) will be be in charge of oil, and Prime Minister Saadoun al-Duleimi (Sunni Muslim) will be in charge of Defense. This is a good desicion, since the Sunnis were very interested in this position.
Prime Minister of Human Rights will be Hashim Abdul-Rahman al-Shibli (Sunni), Prime Minister of Electricity will be Mihsin Shlash (Shiite), Prime Minister of Industry will be Osama al-Nujaifi (Sunni), and Deputy Prime Minister Abed Mutlak al-Jiburi. Unfortunately, Al Shibli declined his position as he felt it was only given him because he is Sunni.
"Concentrating on sectarian identities leads to divisions in the society and state, and for that reason I respectfully decline the post," al-Shibli told reporters at a news briefing.
One seat, however, did remain unfilled because al-Jaafari wishes to fill it with a woman. This would be the fourth deputy prime minister.
Prime Minister al-Uloum, 51, held this position during the U.S. appointed Governing Council. His qualifications are several: Undergraduate Degree in Oil Engineering from Baghdad University in 1976, Master's Degree abd a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of New Mexico.
Al-Duleimi is a former Sunni Lt. Col. who used to work for the powerful General Security Organization of Saddam Hussein, but he left in 1984 and lived in exile until the fall of the evil reign of Hussein.
Unfortunately, there is also bad news. Terrorists murdered Prime Minister Zoba Yass and his driver in the area of Dora as they were on their way to work this day. Also, there were 120 members of Parliament were absent Sunday when the vote was taken. This was due to the difficulty it has been to come to a consesus. However, it has been a good step forward.
To the family of Zoba Yass and his driver, our deepest sympathies. May they rest peacefully.