- Iraq’s government faces the staggering task of rebuilding the war-torn Sunni north
- Water and power shortages are stirring anger and mass protests in the Shia south
- Demobilizing Shia militias and cutting a deal with the Kurds would be key first steps
- A new mood for change in Iraq may help new Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi
The first order of business for Iraq’s new prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, is to assemble a competent and honest cabinet. That will be difficult, since one of his main political partners, the coalition of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (2006-2014) and militia leader Hadi Ameri, strongly backed by Iran, insists on controlling key portfolios. Still, Mr. Abdul Mahdi issued a public invitation for any qualified Iraqi to apply for government posts via the internet. It was an important gesture, because the whole country – and particularly in recent months the south – is seething with resentment at government corruption and incompetence.