Ibrahim al-Jaafari

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Ibrahim al-Jaafari was Prime Minister of Iraq in the Transitional National Authority, the first, interim Iraqi government elected in 2005. He is a Shi'a, and, at the time of his election, was affiliated with the Islamic Dawa Party. He replaced Ayad Allawi, who had led the prior interim government. He agreed to leave the premiership in 2006, when both internal and external factions felt he could not provide security. [1] In 2008, he was replaced by Nouri al-Maliki, and subsequently expelled from the Dawa when he created his own faction, [2] called the Iraqi Reform Movement


Professionally, he is a physician. After a Shi'a revolt in the 1970s, he had gone into exile in Iran in 1980, and then in the UK in 1989.[3]

He is certainly sympathetic to Iran, but not necessarily under their control. While he accepted clerical rule in Iran, he does not appear to want that for Iraq; he is not a cleric himself. He was, however, seen as an Islamist, and backed by clerics. [4]

Iran had reason to influence Dawa: the group sought the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iran's enemy in the Iran-Iraq war, and it had active offshoots in Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere in the Shiite world where Iran wished to exert influence. In general, Dawa seemed to keep more distance from Iran than Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), founded by Iran in 1982 and a major political force in Iraq. [5]

2005 Election

When he was serving in the mainly ceremonial role of vice-president in the outgoing US-appointed interim regime, a 2004 opinion poll put him Iraq's third most popular politician, after Ali al-Sistani and Moqtada al-Sadr.[3] Ayatollah Sistani, in 2004, had negotiated a cease-fire between al-Sadr and US troops. [6]

Ahmed Chalabi was a rival in the 2005 election, who had then allied with Allawi.[4]

After the transitional government was elected in 2005, he established a prime position among the new officials. He was the accepted leader among the Shi'a slate in that election, and the three-person presidency council named him as Prime Minister. He was seen as unifying, actively appealing to the Sunni that had boycotted the election, and the Kurds that wanted a degree of autonomy. [3] Kurds and Allawi's group, known as the Iraqi List remained concerned that the Shi'ites did not want to build an Islamic state. They are concerned that both Dawa and SCIRI were sheltered in Iran. [4]

Leaving office

In 2006, he agreed to leave the premiership, under pressure both from Iraqis and the US. They were concerned he could not stop increasing violence, especially since Moqtada al-Sadr had supported him in his original election. [1] <

Continuing activity

His new party boycotted a provincial election in 2009, although they did win one seat; this is seen as a predictor of national support. [7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kirk Semple and Richard Oppel, Jr. (April 21, 2006), "Shiite Drops Bid to Keep Post as Premier", New York Times
  2. Andrew E. Kramer (8 June 2008), "Ex-Premier Is Expelled From Governing Party in Iraq", New York Times
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Martin Asser (7 April, 2005), "Profile: Ibrahim Jaafari", BBC News
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 John F. Burns and Dexter Filkin (23 February 2005), "Shiites in Iraq Back Islamist to Be Premier", New York Times
  5. Sharon Otterman (7 April 2005), IRAQ: Ibrahim Jaafari, Council on Foreign Relations
  6. Sharon Otterman (1 September 2004), IRAQ: Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Council on Foreign Relations
  7. "Old And New Alliances Argue Over Control Of Diyala Provincial Council", Ground Truth, 24 April 2009