Iraq completes unity government

19 October 2014

Prime minister appoints Sunni defence minister as Baghdad unites against Isis

Iraq has completed the formation of its unity government under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi by appointing new defence and interior ministers.

The formation of the new cabinet, which includes members of the Sunni and Kurdish minority groups, is seen as an important step to unifying the government against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) militants controlling large areas of the country’s north and west.

Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban, a Shia, has been appointed interior minister, while Sunni politician Khaled al-Obeidi took up the post of defence minister.

Former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki resigned in August amid accusations that he had marginalised Sunni and Kurdish groups in government, leading to calls for a unified front against Isis.

Al-Abadi began the formation of a new government on 8 September, when he appointed Sunni and Kurdish deputy prime ministers.

Iraqi government forces are currently engaged in combat with Isis fighters in Ramadi, the capital of the western Anbar province, and Tikrit, a city north of Baghdad. The Islamist group has been making gains despite airstrikes by a US-led international coalition.

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