Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07BAGHDAD1795
2007-05-30 01:31:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

VOTE ON MINISTERIAL NOMINEES DELAYED -- AGAIN

Tags:  PGOV PREL PINR KDEM IZ 
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VZCZCXRO9327
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1795/01 1500131
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 300131Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1456
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BAGHDAD 001795 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/29/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: VOTE ON MINISTERIAL NOMINEES DELAYED -- AGAIN

REF: BAGHDAD 1553

Classified By: Classified by Acting Political Counselor Robert Gilchris
t, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 BAGHDAD 001795

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/29/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KDEM IZ
SUBJECT: VOTE ON MINISTERIAL NOMINEES DELAYED -- AGAIN

REF: BAGHDAD 1553

Classified By: Classified by Acting Political Counselor Robert Gilchris
t, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).


1. (C) Summary: The Prime Minister's poorly coordinated
effort to gain parliamentary approval for a new slate of six
ministers -- five of which are different from those proposed
May 10 (reftel) -- has yet to reach fruition. The proposed
Ministers of Health, Agriculture, and Transportation; along
with Ministers of State for Civil Society, Provincial, and
Tourism and Antiquities Affairs, are in the PM's words
"technocrats" without party affiliation. We know little
about the candidates, whose biographic information has been
circulating in the CoR since May 24 without a formal hearing.
In spite of the issue being on the agenda on May 24, 27, and
28, no vote had been taken when the CoR adjourned until June

5. The PM has yet to reveal his plans for replacing other
ministers, although he told the CoR he sought recommendations
from the various political blocs. Biographic information on
the six nominees is included in paragraph seven. End summary.

A Cumbersome and Ill-Coordinated Process
--------------


2. (C) Prime Minister Maliki visited the Council of
Representatives (CoR) May 24 to present the names of six new
ministers to replace those withdrawn by the Sadrist bloc in
April. With the six nominees in tow (there was no nominee
for Minister of Justice, which had been included in the May
10 group),the PM made a brief speech about how the Sadr
withdrawal offered the chance to put technocrats into these
positions. He said he had searched out independent persons
not beholden to political parties (but "not having bad
relations with the parties" either) and made selections based
on "democracy and professionalism." In the ensuing
discussion, many CoR members called for more time to review
background on the nominees before being asked to vote; the PM
had requested a vote that same day. Two of the nominees took
the stand in turn to present their professional credentials,
but were frequently interrupted by "points of order" and

distracting comments from the floor. In the end, the session
was terminated (nominally due to lack of a quorum in the CoR
as the session wore on) and the PM was invited back three
days later.


3. (C) Returning to the CoR for the same purpose on May 27,
well after the session started, the PM's plans were again
disrupted by political maneuvering and the absence of a
quorum as many members had already departed the assembly
hall. The PM waited in the lobby while the CoR counted heads
to determine whether it had a quorum or not (by our count it
clearly did not). The Speaker called for one more try on May
28, without even inviting the PM into the assembly hall.
(Comment: The confusion inherent in these delays is
indication of the poor coordination between the PM and the
CoR on the nominees, which is characteristic of other issues
as well. It is unclear whether the PM even consulted bloc
leaders to help grease the skids for a successful nomination
process. End comment.)


4. (C) Many CoR members question the credibility of the
nominees, none of whom are very well known, partially due to
skepticism of the nomination process. The overall mood seems
to be: "Better candidates than before? Maybe. Good enough?
Not certain." There is a sense that Maliki coordinated more
broadly within the Shia coalition, but not likely outside of
it -- leaving the impression that the selections may still be
Dawa-centric. Many still question the status of the former
ministers who "resigned" as well, raising questions as to
whether their resignations need CoR endorsement -- or whether
they were in fact fired.

CoR also Wants PM to Discuss Security
--------------


5. (C) The PM told the CoR May 24 that nominees for other
ministries (Justice and possibly other portfolios) could not
be determined until he received input from the various
political bloc leaders. Whether he might include a change at
the Ministry of Defense will be a closely watched issue by
the Sunni community. In his May 24 introduction of the new
ministers he also deflected CoR demands for testimony from
the PM and his security-related ministers, essentially
delaying a response to intense CoR interest in grilling the
GoI on security. CoR angst over that delay is yet another
sore spot between the executive and legislative branches that
have again shown their inability to coordinate on a key issue
facing the nation. (The CoR reportedly has 13 outstanding
requests for ministers to testify, many of which are security
related.)

Try Again?

BAGHDAD 00001795 002 OF 004


--------------


6. (C) A quorum was assembled May 28 as the CoR session
began, and ministerial changes were on top of the agenda.
Without explanation, the session took up the issue of CoR
security. There was no indication that the PM had any plan
to attend, although some of the ministerial nominees were
reportedly in the building. The nominations were not
discussed and the session closed with an announcement that
the CoR will next meet on Tuesday, June 5.

The Nominees -- Bio Information
--------------


7. (SBU) Following are informal translations of biographic
information provided by the PM as he made his May 24
presentation to the CoR. While some data had reportedly been
shared in advance of that date, the full package of bios was
not made available to the CoR with sufficient lead time to
accommodate a careful review, contributing to the subsequent
delay in voting.

Minister of Health: Dr. Sabah Rassol Sadiq Fakhr al-Din
-------------- --------------

From Najaf (al-Sa'ad District),Dr. Sabah was born July 1,
1952 and is married with four children. Stated
accomplishments include establishment of the National Mental
Health Board in Iraq which worked with the Ministries of
Health, Higher Education, Labor and Social Affaires,
Interior, and Human Rights. He spent time in the Directorate
of Health Services in Kent (southeast Britain) which provides
health service to 2.5 million people. He has held positions
as Consultant and Professor of psychological medicine
(1985-99),Director of Psychological Medicine services
(1999-2002),Director-General of Health Services (2002-07),
and Professor at Baghdad University (since the beginning of
2004).

An advisor on national mental health at the Iraqi Ministry of
Health since 2004 and an adviser of the World Health
Organization since 2003, he is a member of Iraqi Medical
Specialties Organization, the Arab Board of Examiners, and
the Council of Iraqi Affairs in the British Royal College.

Dr. Sabah also has administrative experience in the planning
and development of health services in the north-west of
Britain, as Chairman of the Planning Health Services
Commission (1985-88),as Secretary of the Central Mental
Health Commission of South Britain, and Deputy Chairman of
the Commission of Advisers (1988-92). He was head of the
Mental Health Department in the southern region of Saudi
Arabia, planning and developing services for the region, and
Visiting Professor at Abha University (1992-96)

He has taken courses in Effective Health Leadership (British
Administrative Assembly, 1985 and 1988),Health Economy
(Aberdeen University, 1986-87),Consultants' Course (British
Administration College, 1990-91),and World Course for
leaders (Birmingham University, 2003-07). He was an
Assistant Professor at Liverpool University (1985-88) and has
been a professor at London University (1988-93),the College
of Medicine at Abha University (1992-96),and at Kent
University (since 2000). His long list of articles includes
topics of disability and mental health, drug treatments for
personal disorders, treatment of Epilepsy, issues of the
handicapped and psychologically stressed in Saudi Arabia, and
psychological health in Iraq.

Minister of Agriculture: Dr. Ali Hussein Al- Bahadili
-------------- --------------

Born in Iraq in 1943, Dr. Ali is a professor of plant
diseases at Baghdad University's College of Agriculture and
served as the Minister of Agriculture during the transitional
period in Iraq (2005-06). He was head of Agricultural
Consultants and a member of the Iraqi Agricultural
Engineers, Syndicate. He has a PhD in plant diseases
(University of California-Davis, 1975),an MS in plant
diseases (Baghdad University, 1970),and a BS in Agricultural
Sciences (Baghdad University, 1965).

A member of the American Plant Disease Association, the Plant
Disease Association for Mediterranean countries, the Sigma
Association for American Sciences, and a number of Arab and
Iraqi associations and scientific councils, Dr. Ali has
participated in conferences on plant protection and diseases
in the U.S., Germany, Greece, and the Arab region.
Publications and patents in his name are also plentiful. He
has pursued academic activities in Algeria (1981-84),Jordan
(1995-2004),and Germany.

Minister of Transportation: Amer Abd al-Jabbar Ismael

BAGHDAD 00001795 003 OF 004


-------------- --------------

Born in Basra in 1962, Mr. Ismael is an expert engineer
serving as Director General of Gas Filling Company at the
Ministry of Oil. His appointment at the Ministry began in

1986. With a Bachelor's degree in Naval Engineering (from
the Arab Gulf Academy for Sea Studies, 1986),he continued
studying to earn a certificate as naval chief of engineers
(1996) and 20 other certificates in the fields of naval
transport of oil, gas and other goods. He is a member of the
Iraqi Engineers Society.

Having worked in the State Enterprise for Iraqi Oil Tankers,
Arab Enterprise for Iraqi Oil Tankers, Uni-Mass Naval Company
for transporting Oil, Syrian-Italian Rimar Company for Naval
transportation, and as Director General in the State
Organization for Distribution of Oil Products, he is
currently the Director General of the Gas Filling Cylinders
Company. A political independent, he claims that his family
opposed the regime of Ahmed Hassan Al-Baker before the regime
of Saddam Hussein and participated in the 1991 uprising
before leaving Iraq as a political refugee in Syria; he
returned after the fall of the regime.

Minister of State for Civil Society Affairs:
Dr. Thamer Jaafar Mohammad Al Zubeidi
--------------

Born in 1957, Dr. Thamer is married. He has three degrees in
statistics (Doctorate from the University of Baghdad in 1999,
Masters from Mustansariyah University in 1990, and Bachelors
from Mustansariyah University in 1980). He has 15 years work
experience as an Assistant Professor in Accounting,
Information Technology, and in pursuing various educational
science duties. He is currently Assistant Dean for Student
Affairs at the Technical Management College.

Dr. Thamer's technical credentials include multiple
publications on estimates/statistics (2003),on population
growth (2002),on regression analysis (2001 and 1994),a
study on causes of delay of banking transactions, and
logarithmic samples (1995). His CV gives no indication of
time spent overseas or political affiliation

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs:
Mrs. (Dr.) Kholood Sami Azzara Al-Maajoun
--------------

Born in Samawa on February 28, 1950, Dr. Kholood is an Iraqi
national married with three children. Among her studies in
the judicial field, she earned a PhD in Law in 1984
(university not stated) following a Diploma of Higher Studies
in law (1976) and a Diploma in Criminal Sciences (1977) from
Cairo University. She has a Bachelors degree (1972) from
Baghdad University. Teaching experience includes a term on
the faculty of King Saud University in Saudi Arabia
(1984-94). Administratively, she worked as a rapporteur of
the Law Department at the College of Administrative Sciences
(Saudi Arabia, 1988-94). She became an affiliate professor
in 1994.

Dr. Kholood claims to speak English and has participated in
several programs implemented by the women,s department in
the center for serving society. (Note: Her father is a
tribal leader who was a member of the previous transitional
legislature but lost a bid for a seat in the CoR. He follows
conservative Islamic tradition but has credentials as a
lawyer and reportedly maintains a house in London; he keeps
close dies with the ruling elite in the International Zone.
End note.)

Minister of State for Tourism and Antiquities:
(Engineer) Zuhair Mohammed Ridha Sharba
-------------- -

Sharba is the only minister who was also on the May 10 list.
Born in Najaf in 1948, he is a consultative engineer with a
degree in engineering (Bachelors, Baghdad University,
1970-1972),a certificate in Military Sciences (Military
College, Baghdad),and a certificate in Aviation Engineering
from the Soviet Union in 1973.

Work experience includes his time as an officer in the Iraqi
Air Force through July of 1981, when he retired on pension
for political reasons (including the execution of two of his
brothers and the detention of three others). Working in the
private sector, he established several companies (Al-Jameea,
Al-Izdihar and Dar-Alhandasa).

He has held the positions of Head of the al-Najaf al-Ashraf
Chamber of Commerce, a member of the al-Najaf Provincial
Council, head of the al-Najaf branch of the Iraqi Contractors
Federation, and head of the Economic Committee in the

BAGHDAD 00001795 004 OF 004


Provincial Council, where he was also a member of the
Projects and Investment Committees. He presided over and
participated in numerous delegations to local and
international conferences and symposia regarding tourism,
reconstruction of Iraq, and investment in different countries
of the region (UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Iran, Turkey and
Egypt). (Note: One PRT contact suggests Sharba is a Ja'fari
loyalist within Dawa. End note.)
CROCKER