When (Jawad) Noori al-Maliki appeared as a strong candidate for becoming Iraq's new PM we wrote 'Jawad who?' because we knew very little about the man's background, qualifications or visions for Iraq and we still know little until this moment and it really came as a surprise to us (in not a bad way) that he was able to win the support of the US and UK a well as the satisfaction of other parliamentary blocs or at least their conditional acceptance.
It is fair to say that his nomination did bring many positive changes in the political situation in Iraq and he was able to calm the tense atmosphere between the blocs that used to exchange all kinds of nasty accusations weeks ago, he was able to calm this tension with his announced plans for disbanding the militias and choosing nonsectarian, independent people for filling the defense and interior posts, actually it's sort of funny that blocs that used to fight for the interior ministry are now trying to avoid this responsibility and are running away from presenting their nominees for this ministry!
I can understand this because now these blocs realize that being in charge of security will mean having to confront the militias sooner rather than later and this confrontation isn't expected at all to be an easy one.
In fact at the moment it seems that the two security ministries that were the core of the disputes between the different blocs in the parliament are going to be among the first to be decided and will not require more than acceptable nominee(s) from the UIA and this doesn’t appear to be a potential source of disagreements.
I will try to stay cautiously optimistic, because yes, there are several positive sign indicating that the political process is about to get through the neck of the bottle but I also believe that one man cannot change a lot by himself unless the others give a hand and I hope Maliki is going to learn from the mistakes of his predecessors and invest this knowledge for Iraq's interest and his own.
In a very interesting development, it seems that a woman finally has a chance to assume a powerful position in the cabinet; Salih al-Mutlaq the leader of the other secular bloc in the parliament (11 seats) told al-Sharq al-Awsat that he supports giving one of the deputy PM posts to a woman, namely Safiya al-Suhail from the Iraqi list (Check out this post about her background from Gateway Pundit) explaining that "Safiya al-Suhail is more competent than many of the men in the parliament…".
The reason why I think al-Suhail has a good chance is because one of the two deputy PM posts is the share of her bloc, so if she gets the support of the bloc and if Allawi decides to find another place for himself we might be able to see a woman in one of the most powerful places in the government, but of course this also would need that Islamists in large blocs do not vote against her, and here I think they will hesitate to vote against her for fear from being accused of discrimination.
The other factor that might clear the way for al-Suhail towards this office is that Allawi will probably get an equally important office; right now there are talks about ongoing negotiations to redraw the outlines of the 'political council for national security' which we talked about several times in entries prior to the meeting of the parliament. The negotiations include appointing Allawi as head of this council which-if formed-will become the top decision-making entity when it comes to security.
Anyway, most politicians predict it won't take more than a week or ten days to present the formation of the cabinet; I do not trust what their instinct tells them but I trust mine and what I hear and see tells me they could be right this time.