Iran 1, US 0: Iraq chooses a parliament speaker

Al Monitor | Ali Mamouri: Iraq’s parliament elected Mohammed al-Halbousi as its new speaker on Sept. 15, opening the door for the formation of a new government following months of political uncertainty. Efforts to establish a government stalled following the May 12 parliamentary elections, as the major winning parties have been unable to agree on a coalition to form the new government.

Lawmakers also elected Hassan Karim al-Kaabi as Halbousi’s first deputy on the same day, followed by the election of Bashir al-Haddad as second deputy on Sept. 16.

Halbousi, 37, is the youngest parliament speaker in the country’s history. He is an influential Sunni politician from Anbar province. He became known as a businessman after 2003, and was involved in many contracts with the US forces during the occupation that ended in 2011.

Halbousi was first elected to the Iraqi parliament in the 2014 elections, and quickly progressed in his new career. He was on the parliamentary human rights and finance committees until 2017 — serving as the head of the latter from 2016-2017 — when he quit parliament to become the governor of Anbar province after the dismissal of Suhaib Ismail al-Rawi from the position for alleged corruption.

Halbousi maintains a good relationship with US forces, as a large number of them are located at the Ain al-Asad military base in Anbar province.


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