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Iraqi Government Approves Bill On Creation Of National Guard

Iraq's cabinet on February 3 approved a draft law on creating a National Guard, a move Sunni political leaders say is necessary for national reconciliation between Sunnis, Shi’a, and Kurds.

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi's spokesman, Rafid Jaboori, said sending the bill to parliament was "a way to confront” Islamic State militants who control large swaths of northern and western Iraq.

Sunni political and tribal leaders describe the plan as a way to handle their own security.

It calls for the National Guard to consist of locally based forces answering to provincial governments, and then the prime minister.

Sunni leaders hope it will empower Sunni communities that distrust Iraq’s Army and national police.

Meanwhile, there were divisions over a separate bill to reform a ban against former Baath Party members in Iraq’s government.

Sunni ministers boycotted that bill, saying the reforms do not go far enough, while the rest of the cabinet approved it.

With reporting by Reuters