[JURIST] Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [BBC profile] announced Thursday that Iraq's parliament has approved his nominee for the country's controversial Interior Ministry, ending a three-week stalemate between Shiite and Sunni political blocs. Nominees for the defense and national security ministries were also approved, completing the formation of Maliki's new government. The new Interior Minister taking charge of the police and special forces is Jawad al-Bolani, a Shia Muslim and former air force engineer. At one point during prelimiary negotiations in May Shiite leaders indicated that that they were willing to give up control [JURIST report] of the Ministry, beleaguered in recent months by allegations of prisoner abuse [JURIST report] and death squads [JURIST report] as an alleged instrument of Shiite retribution against Sunnis. Later, however, they backed away [JURIST report] from that position. The new ministers pledged not to have ties to sectarian political groups – something that crippled the term of former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.
Announcement of the approved appointments came after Maliki announced [Iraq MFA press release] the death of Iraqi al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi [BBC profile] in a targeted US air strike [Bush statement]. Reuters has more.