IRAQI LAWMAKERS APPROVE DEFENCE, INTERIOR MINISTERS

BAGHDAD, Iraq, The Iraqi parliament, on Monday, approved new defence and interior ministers, in Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's cabinet, the official Iraqi television reported.

The new defence minister, Erfan al-Haiyali, and interior minister, Qasim al-A'raji, were sworn in, after the parliament's approval, state-run Iraqiya channel, said.

Erfan al-Haiyali, also known as Erfan al-Hadithi, is a prominent army officer, who works for the elite Counter-Terrorism Service forces. He was sentenced to death, during the reign of Saddam Hussein, for participation in a coup attempt, but fled the country.

A'raji, the interior minister, is a prominent figure in the Shiite Badr Organisation, headed by Hadi al-Ameri, whose organisation was previously known as Badr Brigade, which maintains longtime ties with neighbouring Iran, where it was first established during the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iran war.

Former interior minister, Mohammed al-Ghabban, resigned in July, after a bombing that killed and injured hundreds of people in Karrda district, in central Baghdad.

The former defence minister, Khalid al-Obeidi, was sacked in Aug, after parliament passed a vote of no-confidence against him, over allegations of huge graft in his ministry.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK