Ministry of Defence (Iraq)

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Republic of Iraq
Ministry of Defence
Iraqi Ministry of Defence Emblem.png
Department overview
FormedMarch 21, 2004 (2004-03-21)
JurisdictionGovernment of Iraq
HeadquartersGreen Zone, Baghdad
Annual budgetIncrease $9.7 billion (2023)[1]
Minister responsible Arabic)

The Ministry of Defence (Arabic: وزارة الدفاع العراقية) is the Iraqi government agency responsible for defence of Iraq. It is also involved with internal security.


The Ministry directs all the Iraqi Armed Forces, comprising a Joint Headquarters, the Iraqi Ground Forces Command (which controls the Army), the Iraqi Special Operations Forces, the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi Navy (including Marines), and the Iraqi Air Force.[2]


The Ministry was dissolved by Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 2 of mid-2003. It was formally re-established by CPA Order 67 of 21 March 2004. In the interim period, the CPA Office of Security Affairs served as the de facto Ministry of Defence.[3]

The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Bureau directs the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Command, which is a further military force answerable to the Prime Minister of Iraq directly. As of 30 June 2009, there had been legislation in progress for a year to make the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Bureau a separate ministry.[4]

Minister of Defence[edit]

The position of Minister of Defence became vacant in the previous Iraqi cabinet, approved on 21 December 2010. While it was vacant, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki served as the acting defence minister. Saadoun al-Dulaimi later served as Minister of Defence from 2011 to 2014. Khaled al-Obaidi served as defence minister in the Iraqi cabinet of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. Juma Inad served as defense minister from May 2020 to October of 2022 under the caretaker government of Mustafa al-Kadhimi. Thabet Muhammad Al-Abasi serves as the current minister of defense as of 2022.

The previous Minister of Defence, Lieutenant General Abd al-Qadr Muhammed Jassim al-Obaidi, is a Sunni career military officer and political independent. He had limited experience and faced a number of hurdles impeding his effective governance. Some of the major problems included inheriting a staff that is notorious for favorism, corruption, and deeply divided along sectarian and ethnic lines. He was a rival of the former Minister of the Interior Jawad al-Bolani, National Security Advisor Muwafaq al-Rubai, and Minister of Staff for National Security Affairs Shirwan al-Waili. He has been criticized for not being able to stand up to the Badr Organization and Mehdi Army members which dominate his own party. In addition, as a Sunni he faced inherent challenges working within a Shiite-dominated government.

On 19 September 2005, The Independent reported that approximately one billion US dollars have been stolen by top ranking officials from the Ministry of Defence including Hazim al-Shaalan and Ziyad Cattan.[5]

Previous defence ministers under Saddam Hussein's regime included Ali Hassan al-Majid ('Chemical Ali'). Iraq's first minister of defence was Jafar al-Askari (1920-1922).

List of Ministers of Defence[edit]

Kingdom of Iraq (1921–1958)[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Jafar al-Askari Jafaralaskari.jpg 23 October 1920 16 November 1922 Abd Al-Rahman Al-Gillani
Nuri as-Said 20 November 1922 2 August 1924
Yasin al-Hashimi 2 August 1924 2 June 1925
Nuri as-Said 26 June 1925 8 January 1928
Abd al-Muhsin as-Sa'dun 14 January 1928 20 January 1929
Muhammad Amin Zaki 28 April 1929 25 August 1929
Nuri al-Sa’id 19 September 1929 19 March 1930
Jafar al-Askari 23 March 1930 27 October 1932
Rashid al-Khawja 3 November 1932 18 March 1933
Jalal Baban 20 March 1933 28 October 1933

Iraqi Republic (1958–1968)[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party President
Abd al-Karim Qasim Qasim in uniform.png 14 July 1958 8 February 1963 Independent Muhammad Najib ar-Ruba'i
Salah Mahdi Ammash 8 February 1963 10 November 1963 Ba'ath Party
(Iraq Region)
Abdul Salam Arif
Hardan al-Tikriti Hardan al-Tikriti.jpg 10 November 1963 2 March 1964
Tahir Yahya 2 March 1964 3 September 1965 Arab Socialist Union
Arif Abd ar-Razzaq Aref Abdel-Razzaq.jpg 6 September 1965 16 September 1965 Arab Socialist Union
Abd al-'Aziz al-'Uqaili 21 September 1965 18 April 1966
Shakir Mahmud Shukri 18 April 1966 17 July 1968 Abdul Rahman Arif

Ba'athist Iraq (1968–2003)[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party President
Ibrahim Abdel Rahman Dawoud 17 July 1968 30 July 1968 Independent Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr
Hardan al-Tikriti Hardan al-Tikriti.jpg 30 July 1968 April 1970 Iraqi Ba'ath Party
(Iraq Region)
Hammad Shihab April 1970 30 June 1973 Iraqi Ba'ath Party
(Iraq Region)
Abdullah al-Khadduri (acting) 30 June 1973 11 November 1974 Iraqi Ba'ath Party
(Iraq Region)
Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr Ahmad Hassan el Bakr.jpg 11 November 1974 15 October 1977 Iraqi Ba'ath Party
(Iraq Region)
Adnan Khairallah Adnan Khairallah 1.jpg 15 October 1977 4 May 1989 Iraqi Ba'ath Party
(Iraq Region)
Saddam Hussein
Abdul Jabbar Khalil Shanshal Shanshaal 1980.jpg 4 May 1989 1990 Iraqi Ba'ath Party
(Iraq Region)
Saadi Toma 12 December 1990 6 April 1991 Iraqi Ba'ath Party
(Iraq Region)
Ali Hassan al-Majid Detail Ali Hassan al-Majid.jpg 1991 1995 Iraqi Ba'ath Party
(Iraq Region)
Sultan Hashim Saddam Hussein's former Defense Minister, Sultan Hashim Ahmad, in Baghdad, Iraq.jpg 1995 2003 Iraqi Ba'ath Party
(Iraq Region)

Republic of Iraq (2004–present)[edit]

Name Portrait Term of office Political party Prime Minister
Ali Allawi Ali-allawi-2008.jpg April 2004 June 2004 Independent Ayad Allawi
Hazim al-Shaalan June 2004 1 June 2005 Iraqi National Congress
Saadoun al-Dulaimi Sadun Dulaymi at the Pentagon May 22, 2012.jpg 1 June 2005 6 March 2006 Independent Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Qadir Obeidi Qadir Obeidi.jpg 6 March 2006 21 December 2010 Independent Nouri al-Maliki
Nouri al-Maliki Nouri al-Maliki with Bush, June 2006, cropped.jpg 21 December 2010 17 August 2011 State of Law Coalition
Saadoun al-Dulaimi Sadun Dulaymi at the Pentagon May 22, 2012.jpg 17 August 2011 18 October 2014 Unity Alliance of Iraq
Khaled al-Obaidi Khaled al-Obaidi April 2015.jpg 18 October 2014 19 August 2016 Unity Alliance of Iraq Haider al-Abadi
Othman al-Ghanmi (interim) 19 August 2016 30 January 2017 State of Law Coalition
Erfan al-Hiyali Erfan al-Hiyali.jpg 30 January 2017 24 June 2019[citation needed] State of Law Coalition
Najah al-Shammari Esper, al-Shammari, 2019 (cropped).jpg 24 June 2019[6] 6 May 2020[7] Adil Abdul-Mahdi
Juma Inad 6 May 2020 Incumbent Mustafa Al-Kadhimi


  1. ^ Tian, Nan; Fleurant, Aude; Kuimova, Alexandra; Wezeman, Pieter D.; Wezeman, Siemon T. (27 April 2020). "Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2019" (PDF). Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  2. ^ United States Department of Defense (7 June 2007). "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq; June 2007;" (PDF). p. 37. Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 November 2018. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  3. ^ Rathmell, Andrew (2005). Developing Iraq's security sector: the coalition provisional authority's experience. Rand Corporation. pp. 27. ISBN 0-8330-3823-0.
  4. ^ Elliot, D.J. (30 June 2009). "Iraqi Special Operations Force". Montrose Toast. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  5. ^ Cockburn, Patrick (19 September 2005). "What has happened to Iraq's missing $1bn?". The Independent. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
  6. ^ "Iraqi official: Parliament approves 3 key Cabinet ministers". Federalist News Network. The Associated Press. June 24, 2019. Archived from the original on 25 October 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  7. ^ Mamouri, Ali (May 7, 2020). "Meet Iraq's new Cabinet". Al-Monitor.

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