Baghdad- Iraq’s parliament impeached Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi on Thursday over corruption allegations, removing him from office as the army gears up for an assault on ISIS’ Iraq stronghold of Mosul.
Two lawmakers said parliament voted 142-102 to withdraw confidence from Obeidi after questioning him this month about weapons contracts. He had denied the corruption allegations and in turn accused Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and five other MPs of wrongdoing.
Lawmakers have accused the Defense Ministry of wasting billions of dollars and weakening the armed forces to the point where they collapsed in 2014 in the face of the ISIS onslaught under the previous government led by Nuri al-Maliki, who was also acting defense minister.
In a related matter, Iraq’s parliament has passed an amnesty draft-law after long debated among the political blocs since the beginning of the current term in 2014. The amnesty law was one of the main points of the political agreement brokered by the parliamentary blocs in September 2014, which led to the formation of the government.
Parliament member Mohammed al-Karbouli told Asharq Al-Awsat that passing this law is a major step towards reconciliation and national agreement “though it does not fully meet our expectations.”
“In the meantime, there is an urgent need to pass the accountability and justice law given that the majority of its clauses have been agreed upon,” added Karbouli.
MP Maysoon al-Damluji also stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat the importance of passing the amnesty law in this stage especially that the law does not exempt terrorists and also facilitates retrials of suspects who, according to the judiciary, had received unfair sentences.
For his part, Jabouri affirmed that the parliament will continue to adopt new draft-laws including the federal court law.