Iraq's new government completed as remaining ministries filled
Iraq's parliament on Saturday approved the remainder of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's cabinet, making Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail oil minister and passing the candidates for six other government posts, lawmakers said.
Kadhi became prime minister last month after five months of political deadlock after his predecessor Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned under pressure from mass anti-government protests. Parliament had approved all but seven members of a cabinet of 22 portfolios. They passed the nominees for the oil, foreign, trade, culture, agriculture, justice, and migration ministries on Saturday.
Ismail is the chief of Iraq's Basra Oil Company, the state-run body that oversees oil production and export operations in the OPEC member's southern oilfields. His appointment comes as Iraq participates in OPEC+ talks to decide on an extension to oil production cuts amid the COVID-19 pandemic and low global oil prices.
Kadhimi, Iraq's former intelligence chief, is not backed by any particular party and seen as acceptable to both Iran and the United States, Iraq's two main allies. His cabinet nominations were approved after backroom deals among Iraqi political parties and leaders.
Kadhimi's government faces a health crisis as coronavirus cases rise, an oil-dependent economy in dire straits, the attempted resurgence of Islamic State militants, and U.S.-Iranian tension that brought the region to the brink of war earlier this year.
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