Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi seems to be taking his promises of a broad coalition surprisingly seriously with his nominees for defense and interior ministers, and fueling growing anger among the entrenched power base.
Abadi nominated Jaber Jaberi, a Sunni Arab, as his defense minister. Jaberi is considered a moderate, but including a Sunni in such a high-profile position would greatly improve the chances of courting Sunni tribes to back military operations against ISIS.
The move wasn’t met well among the Shi’ite leadership of parliament and quickly shot down. with Shi’ite militias claiming credit for blocking the appointment. Interior ministry nominee Riad al-Ghareeb didn’t do much better, even though he is a member of the ruling State of Law coalition.
Ghareeb was quickly spurned by the Badr Brigade, a powerful faction within State of Law, which insists that the Iraqi Interior Ministry must always be under their control.
No alternative candidates have yet been proposed, though in both cases it seems like alternatives are likely to be equally controversial. Even if Abadi tries to backtrack and go with Maliki-era insiders, they’re going to face internal faction fights as the various blocs are all seeking to secure powerful positions for themselves.