Provincial Council Gives Najaf Mayor

Provincial Council Gives Najaf Mayor Prerogative to Appoint Police Chief

Al-Zaman: The governing council of Najaf province charged Najaf mayor As`ad Abu Kalal (Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq or SCIRI) with the responsibility for the police force in the city, so as to resolve the disputes about who should be police chief. The federal Interior Ministry had appointed Col. Hilal Abdullah Rasan as police chief, but his predecessor, Col Ghalib al-Jazaeri, refuses to step down.

Mayor Abu Kalal complained bitterly against the Ministry of Interior for having intervened in local affairs with this appointment. The ministry, he said, “does not know the conditions of what is happening in Najaf.”

The Interior Minister is Falah al-Naqib, a Sunni from Samarra whose father had served Saddam until he defected in the late 1970s. This slap at the face of the central government by SCIRI in Najaf may be a calculated rebuff to al-Naqib.

As the gridlock at the federal level continues, we probably can expect to see a lot of decisions taken at the local level rather than nationally. This development would help SCIRI, which holds 8 of the 11 southern provinces.

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