Iraq: Al -Maliki confirmed as Prime Minister

Iraq’s president gave Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki the affirmation to form the next government on Nov 11, after an eight-month impasse, but a dramatic walkout from parliament by his Sunni rivals cast doubt on a power-sharing deal reached by the two sides less than a day earlier, according to

Anticipations for a better life in Iraq are high following the re-election of Maliki, but the Prime Minister’s ability to unify the country apparently hangs on the balance. It is now clear that he would not abandon his political ties with Moktada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who led the powerful Madhi militia.

Maliki seemed incapable of controlling the Shiite region which has been flooded by a series of kidnaps, torture, and murder – leaving thousands of civilians miserable.

However, despite the political paralysis, Iraq has largely continued to function.  Hopefully the new government will be able to quickly regain some political momentum and begin addressing important national issues.

Maliki re-emerged as Prime Minister following a parliamentary election held on March 7, 2010. According to Iraqi Parliamentary system the election decides the 325 members of the Council who elect the Prime Minister and President. The March 7 election resulted in a partial victory for the Iraqi National Movement, led by former Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, which won a total of 91 seats, making it the largest alliance in the Council. The State of Law Coalition, led by incumbent Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, was the second largest grouping with 89 seats.

The election was marred by conflicts especially between the Shiite and the Sunni.

Iraq has three major groups: Sunni Muslim Arabs in the center surrounding the capital of Baghdad, Kurds in the north and Shia Muslims in the south. About 15% of the population is Kurdish, 80% Arab. Some 60% are Shiite Arab Muslims like their neighbors in Iran, but they are Arabs, not Persians.

Iraq has huge oil resources. The country, a triangle of mountains, desert, and fertile river valley, is bounded on the east by Iran, on the north by Turkey, on the west by Syria and Jordan, and on the south by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

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