South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Lobelog on Iraq’s search for an independent Sunni defense minister:
Iraqi President Fouad Massoum said that the government was looking for an independent Sunni Muslim to fill the post of defense minister in an effort to improve chances of reunifying the country and defeating the group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS).
Massoum, in his first extended comments to a US audience since his recent selection as president of Iraq, also said Sept. 26 that Iraqi Kurds—while they might still hold a referendum on independence—would not secede from Iraq at a time of such major peril.
“Today there is no possibility to announce such a state,” Massoum, a Kurd and former prime minister of the Kurdish region, told a packed room at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. “Forming a Kurdish state is a project, and a project like that has to take into account” the views of regional and other countries and the extraordinary circumstances of the current terrorist menace to Iraq.