Al-Abadi was appointed Minister of Communications in the Iraqi Governing Council on 1 September 2003. A Shia Muslim and electronic consultant engineer by training with a PhD degree from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1980, and a BSc degree from the University of Baghdad in electrical engineering in 1975. Al-Abadi lived in exile during the time of Saddam Hussein in London.
While in exile Al-Abadi's pre-2003 positions included:
- DG of a small high tech vertical and horizontal transportation Design and Development firm in London, (1993–2003).
- a top London Consultant to the industry in matters relating to people movers, (1987–2003).
- Research Leader for a major modernization contract in London, (1981–1986).
- Registered a patent in London in rapid transit system, (2001).
- Was awarded a Smart grant from the UK Department of Trade and Industry, (1998).
- Politically, he is one of the leaders of the popular Islamic Dawa Party, the head of its political office and a spokesman for the party. He became a member of the party in 1967 and a member of its executive leadership in 1979. The Baath regime executed two of his brothers and imprisoned a third brother for ten years.
In 2003, Al-Abadi became sceptical of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) privatization plan, proposing to Paul Bremer that they had to wait for a legitimate government to be formed. In October 2003, Al-Abadi with all 25 of the Governing Council interim ministers protested to Paul Bremer and rejected the CPA's demand to privatize the state-owned companies and infrastructure prior to forming a legitimate government. The CPA, led by Bremer, fell out with Al-Abadi and the Governing Council. The CPA worked around the Governing Council, forming a new government that remained beholden to the CPA until general elections had been completed, prompting more aggressive armed resistance by Iraqis against U.S. led coalition personnel.
While Al-Abadi was Minister of Communications, the CPA awarded licenses to three mobile operators to cover all parts of Iraq. Despite being rendered nearly powerless by the CPA, minister al-Abadi was not prepared to be a rubber stamp and he introduced more conditions in the licenses, among them that a sovereign Iraqi government has the power to amend or terminate the licenses and introduce a fourth national license, which caused some frictions with the CPA. In 2003, press reports indicated Iraqi officials under investigation over a questionable deal involving Orascom, an Egypt-based telecoms company, which in late 2003 was awarded a contract to provide a mobile network to central Iraq. Al-Abadi asserted that there was no illicit dealing in the completed awards. In 2004, it was revealed that these allegations were fabrications and that a US Defense Department review found telecommunications contracting had been illegally influenced in an unsuccessful effort led by disgraced U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John A. Shaw and not by Iraqis.
He was elected member of Iraqi Parliament in 2005 and chaired the parliamentary committee for Economy, Investment and Reconstruction. Al-Abadi was re-elected as member of Iraqi Parliament representing Baghdad in the general election held on March 7, 2010. In 2013, he chaired the Finance Committee and was at the center of a parliamentary dispute over the allocation of the 2013 Iraqi budget.
In 2008, Al-Abadi remained steadfast in his support of Iraqi sovereignty, insisting on specific conditions to the agreement with the U.S. regarding presence in Iraq.
He is an active member of the Iraq Petroleum Advisory Committee, participating in the Iraq Petroleum Conferences of 2009-2012.
He was one of several Iraqi politicians supporting a suit against Blackwater as a result of the 2010 dismissal of criminal charges against Blackwater personnel involved the 2007 killing of 17 Iraqi civilians.
Al-Abadi was again tipped as a possible Prime Minister during the tough negotiations between Iraqi political blocs after the elections of 2010 to choose a replacement to incumbent PM Noori Al-Maliki.
- Iraq's post-war cabinet , , September 1, 2003, BBC
- Naomi Klein, Baghdad Year Zero: Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia, , published in Harpers Magazine, September 2004
- Yochi J. Dreazen and Christopher Cooper, Behind the Scenes, , May 13, 2004, Wall Street Journal via Global Policy Forum
- US probe fails to stop mobile licence awards, , December 20, 2003, TeleGeography
- T. Christian Miller, Iraq Cellular Project Leads to U.S. Inquiry, , April 29, 2004, Los Angeles Times
- People to Watch 2009: Twelve Key Figures for the Region in the Coming Year,, January 2, 2009, Middle East Economic Digest, Vol. 53, No. 1
- Omar al-Shaher, Iraqi Parliament Struggles to Ratify Budget Amid Political Crisis, , January 17, 2013, Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse
- Crocker: No permanent bases will be set up in Iraq,, June 5, 2008, USA Today
- Advisory Committee,, Iraq Petroleum Advisory Committee
- Susan Webb, Iraq sues Blackwater over killing spree, , January 5, 2010, People's World
- BBC News (2003-09-01). "Iraq's post-war cabinet". Retrieved 2006-02-24.
- Council on Foreign Relations (2006). "The New face of Iraq's government". Retrieved 2006-06-06.
Coalition Provisional Authority
|Minister of communications
September 2003–June 2004
Mohammed Ali Hakim