Najah al-Shammari

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Najah al-Shammari
Esper, al-Shammari, 2019 (cropped).jpg
Defence Minister of Iraq
Assumed office
24 June 2019 (2019-06-24)
Prime MinisterAdil Abdul-Mahdi
Preceded byErfan al-Hiyali
Personal details
Born
Najah Hassan Ali al-Shammari

(1967-01-20) 20 January 1967 (age 53)
Baghdad, Iraq
CitizenshipIraq,
Sweden (since 2015)
Political partyal-Wataniya (coalition)
EducationIraqi Military Academy
ProfessionMilitary officer
Military service
AllegianceIraq
Branch/serviceIraqi Army
RankMajor general
UnitIraqi Special Operations Forces

Najah Hassan Ali al-Shammari (born 20 January 1967) is an Iraqi politician and former major general in the Iraqi Army who is the current defence minister of Iraq.[1][2]

Background[edit]

Al-Shammari was born in Baghdad.[2] He is a Sunni Arab[2] and a member of the Shammar tribe (one of the largest and most influential Arab tribes).[3] Al-Shammari graduated from the Iraqi Military Academy in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in military science.[2] He also has a master's degree in strategic planning for national security.[2] Al-Shammari later served as a commander in the Iraqi Special Operations Forces and has held many military positions from 2003 until 2007.[2] He retired in 2018 with the rank of major general.[2]

Defence minister[edit]

Al-Shammari (right) in a meeting with United States secretary of defense Mark Esper in 2019.

On June 24, 2019, al-Shammari was approved by the Iraqi parliament as defence minister of Iraq in Adil Abdul-Mahdi's cabinet.[1][2] He was nominated to the post by the al-Wataniya coalition, led by former prime minister and then vice president of Iraq Ayad Allawi.[2][4]

Reports of dual Iraqi-Swedish citizenship and criminal charges in Sweden[edit]

In April 2019, prior to the nomination of al-Shammari as a candidate for the post of defence minister, there were reports in Iraqi media that al-Shammari has dual Iraqi-Swedish citizenship.[4] The claims were rejected as false by a representative of the al-Wataniya coalition.[4]

In November 2019, Swedish news website Nyheter Idag reported that al-Shammari is a Swedish citizen registered as a resident in a Stockholm suburb under an alternative surname (this surname was reported to be the name of al-Shammari's clan within the Shammar tribe).[5] According to the report, which was confirmed by Swedish authorities, al-Shammari applied for a residence permit in Sweden in 2009 and became a Swedish citizen in 2015.[5][6] It was also reported that al-Shammari was granted several state welfare benefits in Sweden, including full time sick leave, while he did not declare any (or for some years only very low) income from work.[5][6] He has also been the subject of several criminal investigations in Sweden, although he was never convicted of a crime.[5][6]

The Swedish police has launched a preliminary investigation into benefit fraud and civil registration violations against al-Shammari after allegedly claiming child and housing support for years despite living in Baghdad.[7][8] The Swedish Prosecution Authority also announced that it had started an investigation for crimes against humanity against "an Iraqi minister", whom Swedish media identified as al-Shammari.[7][9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Iraqi official: Parliament approves 3 key Cabinet ministers". Federalist News Network. Associated Press. 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Who are Abd al-Mahdi's new ministers of defense, interior, justice?". The Baghdad Post. 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  3. ^ Brinkemo, Per [@PerBrinkemo] (2019-11-23). "Den nu omskrivna försvarsministern i Irak, Najah al-Shammari, kommer från en av de mest inflytelserika klanerna i regionen - Shammarklanen" [The now well-publicised defense minister in Iraq, Najah al-Shammari, comes from one of the most influential clans in the region - the Shammar clan.] (Tweet) (in Swedish). Retrieved 2019-11-26 – via Twitter.
  4. ^ a b c "Candidate to defense min. post not Swedish: Wataniya bloc". The Baghdad Post. 2019-04-08. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  5. ^ a b c d Bergman, Jakob; Nilsson, Johannes (2019-11-19). "Iraks försvarsminister är svensk medborgare och folkbokförd i Stockholmsförort" [Iraq's defense minister is a Swedish citizen and is registered in Stockholm suburb]. Nyheter Idag (in Swedish). Retrieved 2019-11-19.
  6. ^ a b c Wikén, Johan; Björk, Helena (2019-11-22). "Iraks försvarsminister är svensk medborgare – folkbokförd i Stockholm" [Iraq's defense minister is a Swedish citizen - registered in Stockholm]. SVT Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 2019-11-22.
  7. ^ a b Wikén, Johan (2019-11-25). "Polisen bekräftar utredning mot Iraks försvarsminister" [Police confirm investigation into Iraq's defense minister]. SVT Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  8. ^ "Iraq's defence minister 'reported for alleged benefits fraud in Sweden'". The Local. 2019-11-23. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  9. ^ "Swedish prosecutors investigate Iraqi minister for 'crimes against humanity'". The Local. 2019-11-25. Retrieved 2019-11-26.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Erfan al-Hiyali
Defence Minister of Iraq
2019–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent