US embassy cable - 08BAGHDAD2320

IRAQ APPROVES A NEW DPM AND NINE MINISTERS: A FRESH START FOR THE GOI

Identifier: 08BAGHDAD2320
Wikileaks: View 08BAGHDAD2320 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 2008-07-26 10:12:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN
Tags: PGOV PREL PINR IZ
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO6777
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #2320/01 2081012
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 261012Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8501
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002320 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/22/2018 
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PINR, IZ 
SUBJECT: IRAQ APPROVES A NEW DPM AND NINE MINISTERS:  A 
FRESH START FOR THE GOI 
 
Classified By: Deputy Political Counselor Brian Shukan for reasons 1.4 
(b) and (d) 
 
1. (C/NF) Summary/Comment. The Council of Representatives 
(CoR) approved a new Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and nine 
ministers on July 19 in a strong step towards national 
reconciliation.  This approval came after months of 
tumultuous negotiations between Prime Minister Maliki and VP 
Tariq al-Hashimi.  Four of the Shia ministers were reportedly 
selected by Prime Minister Maliki and are part of the United 
Iraqi Alliance (UIA), but considered to be technocrats and 
independents.  The Tawafuq bloc ministers and DPM are largely 
from the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), but include two from the 
Iraq National Dialogue Conference (INDC).  The new DPM Rafi 
Issawi (IIP) and Dr. Abid Thyab al-Ajeeli (IIP) are familiar 
faces in the Government of Iraq (GOI) cabinet, but the others 
are fairly new to the national political scene.  The 
technical expertise of these ministers will likely provide 
more capable leadership in the GOI and provide PM Maliki a 
fresh start as the GOI tackles difficult challenges in the 
months ahead.  End Summary/Comment. 
 
SHIA MINISTERS 
-------------- 
 
2. (C/NF)  Reportedly, PM Maliki selected the four Shia 
ministers presented to the CoR for approval.  While generally 
affiliated with the United Iraqi Alliance, they are largely 
independent and technocrats in their fields with years of 
experience to contribute to their new ministerial posts.  A 
summary of their background follows: 
 
-Amir Abd al-Jabar Isma'el - Minister of Transportation: 
Amir served as the General Director of the Liquid Petroleum 
Gas Bottling Company for the Ministry of Oil prior to his 
appointment.  He has a strong engineering background, 
including a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine/Naval 
Engineering from the Arabian Gulf Academy of Marine Studies 
in 1986, and expertise in the jurisdiction of the maritime 
transport of oil and gas goods.  His family strongly opposed 
Saddam Hussein's regime and he participated in the 1991 Shia 
uprising.  He was subsequently detained at Radhwaniyyah 
prison.  After his release, he sought political asylum in 
Syria and was active in the media, working with opposition 
newspapers to Saddam's regime.  He was born in 1962 in 
Basrah. 
 
-Qahtan Abbas Nu'man al-Jiburi - Minister of State for 
Tourism and Antiquity:  Qahtan served as a Professor in the 
Science Department of al-Kufa University prior to his 
ministerial appointment.  He has three physics degrees 
(Doctorate, University of Mustansariyah; Master's, Babil 
University; and Bachelor's Degree, University of Baghdad). 
Other positions previously held at al-Kufa University include 
Head of the Physics Department, Assistant Dean for 
Administrative Affairs, and Director of the Advisory Office 
in the Science Department.  He was also a Scientific Advisor 
for the Civil Administration in Najaf in 2004.  He is a 
member of the Teacher's Union and Mathematics/Physics 
Association and currently serves as the General Secretary for 
the al-Jabour Tribe in Iraq.  Qahtan was born in Babil in 
1964. 
 
-Khulud Sami Azzara al-Majun - Minister of State for 
Provincial Affairs:  Khulud is a former university professor 
at King Saud University (Saudi Arabia) for Administrative 
Sciences.  Her family opposed Saddam's regime and her father 
was subsequently detained in prison, along with other 
relatives.  The family later left Iraq in 1970 to Beirut, 
Cairo and then Saudi Arabia.  When her family returned to 
Iraq, her father served as a member of the Transitional 
National Assembly (2005-2006), but failed to win a seat in 
the CoR.  She has a Doctorate in Criminal Law/Rights, a 
Masters in Law from Cairo, and a Bachelor's of Law from 
Baghdad University.  She was born in 1950 in Samawah and is 
married with three children (two girls, one boy).  She speaks 
English. 
 
-Thamir Jafar al-Zubaydi - Minister of State for Civil 
Society Affairs:  Thamir has a background as a 
professor/teacher of statistics, largely at technical 
institutes and colleges in Iraq (Karbala, Baquba).  He holds 
a Doctorate in Statistics (Baghdad University), and a 
Master's and Bachelor's Degree in Statistics (Mustansariyyah 
University).  He has published numerous studies on the cost 
and quality of education, academic achievement, population 
growth, and the delivery of bank transactions in Rafidain 
Bank.  He is married and was born in 1957 in Diyala. 
 
DPM AND SUNNI MINISTERS 
----------------------- 
 
BAGHDAD 00002320  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
3. (C/NF)  One of the biggest steps towards national 
reconciliation this year included the return of the Tawafuq 
bloc to the GOI.  The Tawafuq bloc withdrew in early August 
2007 and the agreement on its return occurred after numerous 
months of negotiations and false starts between PM Maliki and 
VP Tariq al-Hashimi. The majority of the Tawafuq ministers, 
including the DPM, are from the Iraqi Islamic Party (IIP), 
but two are from the Iraqi National Dialogue Council (INDC). 
Both parties fought internally for a long period during the 
negotiations over which party would receive the DPM position. 
 The background of the DPM and ministers follows: 
 
-Rafi Hiyad al-Issawi - Deputy Prime Minister (IIP) - Issawi 
is familiar on the political scene and served as the Minister 
of State for Foreign Affairs before Tawafuq withdrew from the 
GOI.  During the past year, he played an active role in Anbar 
Province, negotiating a power-sharing arrangement between IIP 
and tribal members of the Sahawa al Iraq (SAI) movement in 
the Anbar Provincial Council.  He is a doctor by training. 
Issawi was born in Anbar/Fallujah in 1966 and speaks English 
fluently. 
 
-Dr. Abid Thyab al-Ajeeli - Minister of Higher Education and 
Scientific Research (IIP):  Ajeeli was Minister of Higher 
Education and Research prior to the Sunni boycott, but 
advised the ministry "remotely" during this period.  He has a 
Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Keele (UK), 
a Master's of Science in Operational Research from the 
University of Southampton (UK), and Bachelor's of Science in 
Computers from the University of London/Queen Mary College. 
He previously taught at various universities in Bahrain, 
Qatar, Jordan, and the United Kingdom.  Ajeeli is an active 
member of the New York Academy of Sciences and a member of 
the Arab Administrative Development Organization.  He is 
married and speaks English fluently. 
 
-Mahir Dalli Ibrahim al-Hadithi - Minister of Culture (INDC): 
 Mahir's past experience includes serving as a Dean and 
Professor at Anbar University.  He specialized in Modern 
Arabic Literature and also taught Modern Literature at Kufa 
University.  Mahir was also a linguistic expert at the 
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.  Mahir has a Doctorate 
in Modern Arabic Literature from Baghdad University. He is 
married and was born in 1952 in Haditha. 
 
-Farouq Abdul Qadar Abdul Rahman - Minister of Communications 
(IIP):  Rahman previously worked in Prime Minister Maliki's 
Office as an advisor on reconstruction and service issues. 
Prior to that, he worked in multiple positions, including as 
a Director General (DG), at the Ministry of Construction and 
Housing.  His other experience includes serving as a member 
of the Ninewa Provincial Council and Chairman of its 
Investment Committee, and numerous other appointments in 
Northern Iraq (Kirkuk, Mosul) implementing road and bridge 
projects.  He has a Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering 
from the University of Mosul.  He has a reputation as a good 
engineer and project manager, and has received many awards. 
Contacts among the predominantly Shi'a staff at the Ministry 
of Communications (MoC) have expressed guarded optimism that 
Rahman will serve the MoC well.  He is married, was born in 
1947, and speaks English. 
 
-Dr. Muhammad Munajid Eifan al-Duleimi - Minister of State 
for Foreign Affairs (INDC):  Duleimi was previously a 
Professor at Baghdad University College of Administration and 
Economy, in the Statistics Department.  He also taught at 
universities in Algeria and Jordan.  He has a Doctorate in 
Statistics, and a master's and Bachelor's in the same field. 
He was born in 1951 and is married with three boys. 
 
-Dr. Nawal Majid Hamed al-Sammarie - Minister of State for 
Women's Affairs (IIP):  Dr. Nawal is currently a member of 
the CoR and a member of the Health and Environment Committee. 
 Her other experience includes serving as a physician in 
Ninewa and Karkh Maternity Hospital.  She is a member of the 
Union of Physicians, Association of the Muslim Family, and 
the Iraqi Parliamentary Union.  She is married with five 
children and was born in Samarra in 1962. 
CROCKER 

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