Morning Report: April 28, 2005

Iraqi legislators approve cabinet list. Media sources report: 'Iraq's National Assembly approved a list of Cabinet members for a transitional government Thursday, three months after national elections. Three ministries -- Defense, Oil and Electricity -- were filled with temporary appointments because of a last minute failure to reach a compromise on them, Speaker Hajim al-Hassani said. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari assumed his post with the creation of his government.' Omar at Iraq the Model writes: 'In a press conferefnce in Baghdad a few hours ago, Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jafgari announced that he handed the presidency council a draft that contains the names he included in his cabinet. This resolution came after getting over the last bump that was delaying the process; the bump was actually created from within the Iraqi Alliance block itself. The story started after PM Jafari accused Al-Fadhilah Islamic Party of being too demanding by asking for the post of the oil ministry without having a qualified candidate while the spokesman of Al-Fadhilah put the blame on PM Jafari claiming that Jafari favored a candidate who lived abroad the post of oil ministry. The spokesman exact words were: "It seems that Dr. Jafari thinks that the sons of Amara are not classy enough to get the post of the oil ministry". After being approved by the presidency council, the list will be submitted to the National Assembly to gain trust in tomorrow's session which is not a regular session since the regulations of the Assembly state that sessions are to be held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of each week, so apparently the decision to hold an exceptional session tomorrow was made to relief the tension on the streets caused by the delayed announcement of the new government. It's highly expected that the presidency council will approve the cabinet without objections and so will the National Assembly tomorrow as the names of the cabinet members were chosen after prolonged negotiations ...' Read Omar's full analysis at the link. (CNN, ITM)

Britain won't support US on Iran action. The UK will not support any US military strike on Iran, according to this UPI report posted at Regime Change Iran. Two British ministers categorically ruled out military action by their government, with British Minister for the Middle East Baroness Elizabeth Symons saying Britain "absolutely" would not support the United States, and Air Marshal Lord Timothy Garden calling such a strike an "insane project". Morning Report notes that Iranian freedom activists have generally considered Britain friendly to the IRI regime and hostile to the cause of democracy. (UPI via RCI, Free Iran)

Berlusconi wins confidence vote. A news bulletin at Stratfor (subscriber service) reports: 'Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government won a confidence vote in the country's parliament April 28, by 170 votes to 117. The ballot gave the ruling government a year before national elections will take place.' (Stratfor)

Debka headlines. Current bulletins at Debka: 'On second leg of Mid East tour, Putin arrives in Israel Wednesday night from Cairo, will stay till Friday for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. His proposed Mid East peace summit in Moscow ahead of arrival elicited cool Israeli response ... In Baghdad, Iraqi MP shot dead by gunmen, also al Qaeda wing claims murder of two interior ministry officials and 3 bodyguards in shooting attack on their convoy. ... Rumania asks kidnappers of three of its journalists to extend Wednesday pm deadline for their deaths. Abductors want Rumanian troops out of Iraq. ... Pentagon notifies Congress of proposed sale of 100 guided bunker buster GBU-28s worth $30m requested by Israel for use with F-15 fighter bombers. ... Jerusalem goes on terror alert as capital fills with Passover celebrants. Two Palestinian boys aged 15 and 16 apprehended at Jalameh roadblock outside Jenin carrying improvised rifles and 16 pipe bombs. Bomb device went off early Wednesday against Israeli patrol at Gaza border fence. No one hurt.' (Debka)

The future of Europe. Joe Katzman at Winds of Change quotes Irshad Manji extensively in an excellent roundup of views on the differences between North American and West European society, specifically in the context of the war on terrorism. Transatlantic Intelligencer and Gothamimage are also cited ... find out why that European six-drink threshold has now been revised downward. Go to the Winds of Change post for all links. (various, via Winds of Change)