New Iraqi Defense Minister Rips on CNN
Sherwan al-Waily, a Shiite, for state minister of national security.
Abdul Qadir Muhammed Jasim, a Sunni Arab, as the new Minister of Defense.
Jawad al-Bolani, a Shiite, confirmed for the Minister of Interior.
The last two are former generals under the old Saddam regime. I heard that Abdul Qadir Muahmmed Jasim was imprisoned by Saddam for 7 years for protesting against the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam. The fact that he is Sunni, hopefully, will help quell sectarian strife among the Sunni. Here's a bit more background on him:
DEFENSE MINISTERTuesday, Hugh Hewitt had on Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe as guest. Inhofe has been to Iraq 11 times. When he heard about Zarqawi's death, he took his 11th trip, just to see what the reaction would be like. The Senator said he got to talk to the 3 new cabinet ministers, and this is what he had to say regarding Abdul-Qadir Muhammed Jasim:
The new minister of Defense, Abdul-Qadir Muhammed Jasim al-Mifarji, 58, was approved over the protests of legislators from western Anbar Province. Al-Mifarji was commander of the Iraqi forces in that region during the 2004 military operation that resulted in the expulsion of insurgents from Fallujah, 35 miles west of Baghdad.
Al-Mifarji, who is not affiliated with any Sunni party, told the 275-member legislature that he graduated from the Iraqi military academy in 1969 and was thrown out of the army and Saddam Hussein's Baath Party in 1991 after he criticized the invasion of Kuwait. He said that led to his conviction by a military court in 1994 and a seven-year prison sentence.
"All my properties were confiscated," he said. "In 2003, my only house was returned. Then I joined the new Iraqi Army as the commander of operations room and then commander of military operations in western Iraq, and finally the commando units of the infantry."
Al-Mifarji said that as defense minister, "I will work for all Iraqis and will not work according to my tribal, religious and ethnic background. I will be only an Iraqi and will spare no effort."
JI: Oh, it's just great. I mean, my reaction is great, because I got a chance to talk to all of them. Abdel Jassim is the minister of defense, and he's one you have to really watch. He and a Dr. Rubai...Dr. Rubai is the national security advisor. And these two people, they are right on top of where their troops are. The Iraqi security troops right now are up to 264,000, and it's growing. And each time I'm over there, I talk to them as well as our troops, and their training is coming along just great.Go read the rest, or listen to the audio at Radioblogger.com. There's more interesting commentary that is off-topic from my post.
HH: Now Senator Inhofe, did you get word that an offensive in Ramadi is about to begin, or even underway?
JI: No, I was in Ramadi, and that's one of the old terrorist training areas. But look, this new guy, Abu Muhajir, nobody knows anything about him. We don't even know where he came from, whether he is Jordanian, or Saudi, or what he is. But they're going to start talking about different offensives they're going to launch in different places. And they're going to do all they can, but we're in a position right now where we're able to put those things down.
HH: Let's talk a little bit about the new defense minister, Jassin, Senator Inhofe. How's he strike you? Is he middle aged? Is he experienced in military matters?
JI: Yeah, he's very experienced. He's a general. He is a career military guy, and he's tough as he can be. And he came out with all kinds of wild things. I probably shouldn't tell you this...
HH: Oh, go ahead.
JI: But...and this is so funny when it happened. I was talking to him through an interpreter, and I didn't know whether he could speak English. And I finally got to the point where I said look, our big problem is the media, the media back in the United States, because they're lying to the people of America. All of a sudden, in clear English, he said I hate CNN.
JI: And I just shook my head, and I thought...
HH: Did you toast him at that point? Did you clink glasses?
JI: this guy's on top of everything. And these guys say that, you know, all the cut and run crowd that I serve with in the United States Senate, they said if that happened, that's a recipe for disaster. It's a civil war, and things are happening...look, let's keep in mind, and they're fully aware of this, that the problems with the terrorists, those are not Iraqis. They're from...Zarqawi was from Jordan, and...
JI: Osama was Saudi, and we don't know where this guy, Muhajir is from, but he's not an Iraqi. But some of the things that Zarqawi was doing, this Abel Jassim that you're going to be real impressed with, their defense minister, he was telling me some of the things he did. He said that he would send letters in a community to the Shiite homes, warn them to move away from the Sunni areas. And as they left the house, he'd shoot them all down, the whole family. This guy is...in fact, the defense minister told me that the people of Iraq were...getting Zarqawi was a bigger deal than getting Saddam Hussein.
HH: I'm talking with Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, just returned again from his 11th visit to Iraq, just today, I imagine. Senator, I just want to pause on the defense minister of Iraq's reaction to CNN. I hate CNN. Did he tell you why he hates CNN?
JI: Oh, he said all they do is talk about negative things, things that are bad, and we have nothing but successes over here. And then he start enumerating the successes, which I can verify, because I'm there all the time. The number, out of 112 battalions, they have 62 of them. That's over half of them that are either level 2 or level 1. That means they can conduct their own combat. He made the statement, and this is one of the things that he says that CNN and some of the media keeps saying, they keep saying that America is leading them, and we're in the rear. And he said that's not true at all. We are leading, and America is offering support. In fact, of the last 500 special operations that took place, 75% of them were led by the Iraqis, not by the Americans. Only 25% were. Now if you go back, as I've done on almost a monthly basis, you can see how this changes. And a year ago, hardly any of them were led by the Iraqis. These guys...I was up in Fallujah during the last election, and they were so proud. They were going down there to vote, and they were targeted, because they were supposed to shoot any of the Iraqi security forces that voted. And they went down, they voted, and they came back, and they were real proud of it. And then, when I asked them the question, are you going to be able to take over the security of Iraq...it's kind of funny, because of the language problem, they said nein, nein. I thought that meant no, no, but that really means yes, yes.
HH: Oh, okay.
JI: So those guys are excited, and they're proud, and you talk to any of the...I challenge any of your listeners to talk to any of our reservists, or the Guard that comes back, and they'll tell you that these guys are learning fast, they're good soldiers, they're disciplined, and they're looking...well, in fact, Dr. Rubai, the guy that you need to watch, too, the national security advisor, he said that by the end of the year, he's going to recommend that the coalition forces cut down to 100,000. That's going to be a military decision, but this is an Iraqi saying that.
Let's hope that this new Iraqi leadership does not let the hopes and dreams of a better Iraq crumble through their own weaknesses or corruption; that they prove to be leaders in the right place at the right time in history...just as a certain U.S. President most assuredly is the right man, right place....right time.