Ambassador Faily Statement on Cabinet Approval of Draft Laws Creating National Guard and Amending Debaathification

Washington, DC (February 3, 2015) – Ambassador Lukman Faily today issued a statement on the Iraqi Cabinet’s approval of draft laws establishing a National Guard and amending Iraq’s Accountability and Justice law, otherwise known as de-Baathification.

“The Cabinet’s approval of the draft law creating a national guard fulfills one of the key promises of Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi government program. Creating a National Guard reflects the government’s commitment to bring stability and security to all of Iraq, and to ensure control and accountability with respect to all armed units operating in the country. The Prime Minister and Cabinet’s success in approving this proposed legislation shows their ability to bridge the divides in Iraq and find common ground among all political parties and all elements of our diverse society.

“The National Guard will incorporate local fighters who have fought or are currently fighting against terrorism, and the law will ensure fair representation within the Guard from all segments of Iraqi society. As a locally-based force organized at the provincial level, the National Guard will report to the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Prime Minister Al-Abadi.

“The Iraqi Cabinet also approved amendments to the country’s Accountability and Justice law, commonly known as the de-Baathification law. The proposed changes are a crucial step towards further reconciliation, tolerance and inclusiveness.

“These two initiatives follow approval of the budget last week by Iraq’s parliament, which was an important sign of consensus and unity among Iraq’s political parties. The budget allocated $890 million to the volunteer units known as Popular Mobilization Units, and further provided for transfer of this funding to the National Guard once the bill creating it had been approved by parliament.”