They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Iraq parliament backs defense, interior ministers

reuters: The Iraqi parliament approved on Thursday Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's candidates for defense and interior ministers, ending wrangling that had threatened to plunge the new government into crisis.

By a clear majority, it approved Jawad al-Bolani, a Shi'ite, as interior minister and General Abdel Qader Jassim, a Sunni and until now Iraqi ground forces commander, as defense minister.

Of 198 deputies present in the 275-seat assembly, 182 voted for Bolani while 142 supported Jassim, the speaker said.

The vote took place shortly after Maliki -- who has pledged to crush a Sunni Arab insurgency against the U.S.-backed, Shi'ite-led government -- announced that Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had been killed.

Both developments marked a major boost for Maliki, who the United States hopes can quell guerrilla and sectarian violence plaguing Iraq and prevent wider communal conflict.

The two key security jobs were left temporarily vacant when Maliki's self-styled government of national unity took office on May 20 because of disputes among his coalition partners.

Presenting himself to parliament, Jassim said he was demoted in Saddam Hussein's army because he opposed the 1990 invasion of neighboring Kuwait. He said he was retired in 1992 and detained two years later to face a military court, which ordered the confiscation of his house and other assets.

He joined the new Iraqi army formed after U.S. forces toppled Saddam in 2003.

"I never belonged to any of the present political groups," Jassim told the assembly. "I do not carry any sectarian title. I'm here for all Iraqis, not for one sect." Link