Nouri al-Maliki

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Nouri Kamel al-Maliki
نوري كامل المالكي
Nouri al-Maliki with Bush, June 2006, cropped.jpg
Prime Minister of Iraq
Assumed office
20 May 2006
President Jalal Talabani
Deputy Barham Salih
Rafi al-Issawi
Rose Nouri Shawis
Preceded by Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Secretary-General of Islamic Dawa Party
Assumed office
1 May 2007
Preceded by Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Personal details
Born (1950-06-20) 20 June 1950 (age 68)
Babil, Iraq
Political party State of Law Coalition
Islamic Dawa Party
Alma mater Usul al-Din College
Baghdad University

Nouri Kamil Mohammed Hasan al-Maliki (Arabic: نوري كامل محمّد حسن المالكي, transliterated Nūrī Kāmil al-Mālikī; born June 20, 1950), also known as Jawad al-Maliki or Abu Esraa, is the Prime Minister of Iraq and the secretary-general of the Islamic Dawa Party. Al-Maliki and his government succeeded the Iraqi Transitional Government. His 37-member Cabinet was approved by the National Assembly and sworn in on May 20, 2006.

Al-Maliki begin his political career as a Shia dissident under Saddam Hussein's regime in the late 1970s and rose to prominence after he fled a death sentence into exile for 24 years. During his time abroad, he became a senior leader of Dawa, coordinated the activities of anti-Saddam guerillas and built relationships with Iranian and Syrian officials whose help he sought in overthrowing Saddam. Al-Maliki's constitutional mandate will last until 2010. On April 26, 2006, al-Maliki stopped using the pseudonym Jawad.[1] However, the pseudo- or code name "Abu Esraa" (father of Esraa - his eldest daughter) is still heard on Iraqi satellite media every now and then, because it is very common in Arabic culture (and in Iraqi culture in particular) to call someone with his eldest son/daughter's name especially by his close friends and followers. Al-Maliki is married to Fareeha Khalil, with whom he had four daughters and two sons.

Early life and education

Al-Maliki was born in Janaja village in Abu Gharaq, a central Iraqi town situated between Karbala and Al Hillah. He is a member of the Al-Ali Tribe, an offshoot of the Bani Malik tribe.[citation needed] He attended school in Al Hindiyah (Hindiya). Al-Maliki received a bachelor's degree at Usul al-Din College in Baghdad, and a master's degree in Arabic literature from Baghdad University.[2] Al-Maliki lived for a time in Al Hillah, where he worked in the education department. He joined the Islamic Dawa Party in the late 1960s while studying at university. His grandfather, Muhammad Hasan Abi al-Mahasin, was a poet and cleric who was the president of the Revolutionary Council (Al-Majlis Al-Milli) of the Iraqi revolution against the British in 1920, and served as Iraq's Minister of Education under King Faisal I.[3]

Exile and return to Iraq

On July 16, 1979, al-Maliki fled Iraq after he was discovered to be a member of the outlawed Islamic Dawa Party. According to a brief biography on the Islamic Dawa Party's website, he left Iraq via Jordan in October, and soon moved to Syria, adopting the pseudonym "Jawad." He left Syria for Iran in 1982, where he lived in Tehran until 1990, before returning to Damascus where he remained until U.S. coalition forces invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam's regime in 2003.[4] While living in Syria, he worked as a political officer for Dawa, developing close ties with Hezbollah and particularly with Iran, supporting that country's effort to topple Saddam's regime.[5]

While living in Damascus, al-Maliki edited the party newspaper Al-Mawqif and rose to head the party's Damascus branch. In 1990, he joined the Joint Action Committee and served as one of its rotating chairman. The committee was a Damascus-based opposition coalition for a number of Hussein's opponents.[4] The Dawa Party participated in the Iraqi National Congress between 1992 and 1995, withdrawing because of disagreements over who should head it.[6] Upon his return to his native Iraq after the fall of Saddam, al-Maliki became the deputy leader of the Supreme National Debaathification Commission of the Iraqi Interim Government, formed to purge former Baath Party officials from the military and government. He was elected to the transitional National Assembly in January 2005. He was a member of the committee that drafted the new constitution that was passed in October 2005.

Prime Minister nomination

In the December 2005 parliamentary elections, the United Iraqi Alliance won the plurality of seats, and nominated Ibrahim al-Jaafari to be Iraq's first full-term post-war prime minister. In April 2006, amid mounting criticism of ineffective leadership and favoritism by Kurdish and Sunni Arab politicians in parliament, al-Jaafari was forced from power. On April 22, 2006, following close US involvement in the selection of a new prime minister, al-Maliki's name arose from the four that had been interviewed by the CIA on their connections to Iran (the others being Hussein al-Shahristani, Ali al-Adeeb, and one other). United States Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said that "[Maliki's] reputation is as someone who is independent of Iran." Khalilzad also maintained that Iran "pressured everyone for Jaafari to stay."[7] On May 20, 2006, al-Maliki presented his Cabinet to Parliament, minus permanent ministers of Defense and of Interior. He announced that he would temporarily handle the Interior Ministry himself, and Salam al-Zobaie would temporarily act as Defense Minister. "We pray to God almighty to give us strength so we can meet the ambitious goals of our people who have suffered a lot," al-Maliki told the members of the assembly.[8] In May 2007, Dawa removed Jaafari and elected Maliki as Secretary-General of the Dawa Party.[9]

In Office

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama in Baghdad

As Prime Minister, al-Maliki has vowed to crack down on insurgents which he calls "organized armed groups who are acting outside the state and outside the law." He had been criticized for taking too long to name permanent Interior and Defense ministers, which he did on June 8, 2006,[10] just as al-Maliki and the Americans announced the killing of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.[11] [12] Meanwhile, al-Maliki criticized coalition armed forces as reports of allegedly deliberate killings of Iraqi civilians (at Haditha and elsewhere) became known. He has been quoted as saying, "[t]his is a phenomenon that has become common among many of the multinational forces. No respect for citizens, smashing civilian cars and killing on a suspicion or a hunch. It's unacceptable." According to Ambassador Khalilzad, al-Maliki had been misquoted, but it was unclear in what way.[13]

Posters of Iraq's President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

On December 30, 2006, al-Maliki signed the death warrant of Saddam Hussein and declined a stay of execution, saying there would be “no review or delay” in the event. Citing the wishes of relatives of Hussein's victims, he said, “Our respect for human rights requires us to execute him.” [14] Hussein's execution was carried out on December 30, 2006 (notably, the first Muslim day of the feast of Eid ul-Adha). After only two years, as of late 2008, the al-Malki government has witnessed improvements in the security situation in many parts of the country. In Baghdad, a peace deal signed between Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and the government had eased tensions, though sporadic sectarian incidents continued, as did occasional fighting between US forces and Shiite militiamen, particularly in Sadr City.[15] Maliki's job was complicated by the balance of power within parliament, with his position relying on the support of two Shiite blocs, Sadr's and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, that his Dawa party has often been at odds with.[16] Progress has also frequently been blocked by Sunni Arab politicians who allege that the dominant Shiite parties are pursuing sectarian advantage. Maliki has had some success in finding compromise. In July 2008 al-Maliki, who earlier in the year fought off a recall effort in parliament, convinced Sunni politicians to end a year-long boycott of the chamber and appointed some of them to cabinet positions. Analysts said the return of the Sunnis was made possible by the security gains under al-Maliki and by apparent progress in negotiations with the US over American military withdrawal.[17] Early in his term, al-Maliki was criticized by some for alleged reluctance to tackle Shiite militias. In 2006 he complained about an American raid against a Shiite militia leader because he said it had been conducted without his approval.[18] In 2007, unnamed US military officers alleged al-Maliki was replacing Iraqi commanders who had cracked down on Shiite militias with party loyalists. A al-Maliki spokesman denied the allegation.[19] He has had, at times, a contentious relationship with the press. On August 24, 2006, he banned television channels from broadcasting images of bloodshed in the country and warned of legal action against those violating the order. Major General Rashid Flayah, head of a national police division added "...We are building the country with Kalashnikovs and you should help in building it with the use of your pen".[20] The international Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) wrote to al-Maliki complaining of a "disturbing pattern of restrictions on the press" and of the "imprisonment, intimidation, and censorship of journalists."[21] Maliki has spoken about the need to make a secure and sustainable environment for investment in order for successful reconstruction and has enacted new investment laws to try to achieve this. He has also acknowledged Iraq’s unfortunate reliance on oil to finance reconstruction thus far, although the revenue has begun to be spent on other possible revenue sources including agriculture and energy.[22] On January 2, 2007, the Wall Street Journal published an interview with al-Maliki in which he said he wished he could end his term before it expires in 2009.[23]

Relationship with US

In an interview published by the German magazine Der Spiegel in June 2008, al-Maliki said that a schedule for a withdrawal of US troops from the country of "about 16 months... would be the right time-frame for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes." In the interview, he said the US government has been reluctant to agree to a timetable "because they feel it would appear tantamount to an admission of defeat. But that isn't the case at all... it is not evidence of a defeat, but of a victory, of a severe blow we have inflicted on Al Qaeda and the militias." He said US negotiators were coming around to his point of view.[24] Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin were two of several US politicians who called for him to be removed from office in 2007. Senator Clinton urged Iraq's parliament to select a "less divisive and more unifying figure" and implied she felt al-Maliki was too concerned about Iraq's Shiite majority and not enough with national reconciliation. "During his trip to Iraq last week, Senator Levin ... confirmed that the Iraqi government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders," she said.[25] Maliki hit back and said the Democratic senators were acting as if Iraq were "their property" and that they should "come to their senses" and "respect democracy".[26] After 17 Iraqis were shot and killed by Blackwater USA security guards al-Maliki called on the US embassy to stop working with the company and said: "What happened was a crime. It has left a deep grudge and anger, both inside the government and among the Iraqi people."[27] Maliki's friendly gestures towards Iran have sometimes created tension between his government and the US but he has also been willing to consider steps opposed by Tehran, particularly while carrying out negotiations with the US on a joint-security pact. A news report said a June 2008 al-Maliki visit to Tehran "appeared aimed at getting Iran to tone down its opposition and ease criticism within Iraq." al-Maliki said an agreement reached with the US won't preclude good relations with neighbors like Iran.[28] In August 2007, CNN reported that the firm of Barbour, Griffith & Rogers had "begun a public campaign to undermine the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki." The network described BGR as a "powerhouse Republican lobbying firm with close ties to the White House."[29] CNN also mentioned that Ayad Allawi is both al-Maliki's rival and BGR's client, although it did not assert that Allawi had hired BGR to undermine al-Maliki.[29]

Official visits

The celebration ceremony of Iraq's national sovereignty was attended by Iraq's Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, left, and the Minister of Defense, Abd al-Qadir, right, Baghdad, June 30, 2009.

On June 13, 2006, U.S. President George W. Bush paid a visit to Baghdad to meet with al-Maliki and President of Iraq Jalal Talabani, as a token of support for the new government.[30] On June 25, al-Maliki presented a national reconciliation plan to the Iraqi parliament. The peace plan sets out to remove powerful militias from the streets, open a dialogue with rebels, and review the status of purged members of the once-ruling Ba'ath party. Some viewed this as a bold step towards rebuilding Iraq and reaching out to Sunnis.[31] By July 2006, when al-Maliki visited the United States, violence had continued and even escalated, leading many to conclude that the reconciliation plan was not working or was moving too slow. On July 26, 2006, al-Maliki addressed a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.[32] Several New York Democrats boycotted the speech after Al-Maliki condemned Israel's attack on Lebanon. Howard Dean, the DNC chairman, accused Al-Maliki of being an "anti-Semite" and said the United States shouldn't spend so much on Iraq and then hand it over to people like al-Malki.[33] In September 2006 Al-Maliki made his first official visit to neighbouring Iran, whose alleged influence on Iraq is a matter of concern for Washington DC. He discussed with Iranian officials, including president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the "principle of no interference in internal affairs" during his visit on September 11, 2006 and September 12, 2006, i.e. political and security issues. His visit closely followed an incident in which Iran detained Iraqi soldiers it accused of having illegally crossed the border. Ibrahim Shaker, Iraqi defence ministry spokesman, said the five soldiers, one officer and one translator involved had simply been doing "their duty."[34] During his visit al-Malki called the Islamic Republic of Iran “a good friend and brother.” A press conference given by al-Malki and then-U.S. President George Bush on December 14, 2008 was disrupted when Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al Zaidi threw his shoes at Bush.[35]

Quotations

  • "I consider myself a friend of the U.S., but I'm not America's man in Iraq."[36]
  • "As Iraq has triumphed over terrorism, it will triumph in the international arena." [36]
  • "We did not provide any sanctuary or opportunity for any outlaws, whether they were followers of the Mehdi Army or Muqtada al-Sadr or the Islamic Council or even of the Dawa party. This is the truth all Iraqis know and are proud of -- we deal with all outlaws equally...I would be very easy with any decision that goes through the democratic framework and will be very tough if anything is being tried outside the democratic framework."[37]

References

  1. ^ "New prime minister resorts to old name". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. April 27, 2006. Retrieved 2006-04-29.
  2. ^ Cole, Juan (1998). "Saving Iraq: Mission impossible". salon.com. Retrieved 2006-06-08.
  3. ^ The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamel al-Maliki Biography, www.iraqigovernment.org
  4. ^ a b Leader Description
  5. ^ Iraqi Leader Seeks Unity[dead link] "Christian Science Monitor"
  6. ^ The Iraqi Shiites[dead link] "Boston Review, Juan Cole"
  7. ^ David Ignatius, "In Iraq's Choice, A Chance For Unity", The Washington Post, April 26, 2006.
  8. ^ Iraq's new unity government sworn in | CNN
  9. ^ Sawt al-Iraq, writing in Arabic, Informed Comment, 2007-05-14
  10. ^ CNN (June 2, 2006). "Bombs kill 7, wound dozens in Iraq". CNN. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
  11. ^ CNN (June 8, 2006). "Iraq appoints security ministers". CNN. Retrieved 2006-06-08.
  12. ^ Sally Buzbee, Associated Press (June 8, 2006). "For Iraq's prime minister, a good-news day". Raleigh News and Observer. Retrieved 2006-06-08.
  13. ^ "White House Says Iraqi Leader Misquoted". Forbes. Associated Press. June 2, 2006. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved 2006-06-02.
  14. ^ Saddam hanged by Times Online
  15. ^ Thousands of Sadr Supporters Mourn Lawmaker | AP via Google[dead link]
  16. ^ Semple, Kirk (October 20, 2006). "Attack on Iraqi City Shows Militia's Power". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  17. ^ Sunni bloc returns to Iraq Cabinet | LA Times
  18. ^ "Doubts Grow Over Iraq's Prime Minister". Time. October 25, 2006. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  19. ^ "Shadowy Iraq office accused of sectarian agenda - CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  20. ^ Iraq PM bans TV from showing attacks[dead link], The Sunday Times (South Africa), 2006-08-24
  21. ^ CPJ Protest Letter
  22. ^ Nouri al-Maliki Interview
  23. ^ "Iraq's PM longs to leave office". BBC News. January 3, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  24. ^ DER SPIEGEL | Special Interview with Iraqi Leader Nouri al-Maliki
  25. ^ AP via MSNBC | Clinton urges ouster of Iraq's Al-Maliki
  26. ^ "Maliki returns fire at US critics". BBC News. August 26, 2007. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  27. ^ Wire Reports (September 20, 2007). "Iraqi leader suggests U.S. Embassy cut ties with Blackwater". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-10-07.
  28. ^ al-Maliki Assures Tehran that US-Iraq security pact will not harm Iran | AP via IHT
  29. ^ a b CNN
  30. ^ Abramowitz, Michael (June 13, 2006). "Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-06-13.
  31. ^ "Al al-Malki's Reconciliation Plan Ready". Gulfnews. June 25, 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-25.
  32. ^ "Iraqi PM to Congress: Baghdad wants to be regional stabilizer". CNN. June 26, 2006. Archived from the original on September 21, 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-26.
  33. ^ Trish Turner and Molly Hooper (July 26, 2006). "Dean Calls Iraqi Prime Minister Anti-Semite, Criticizes Bush For U.S. Visit". FOXNews.com. Retrieved 2006-11-26.
  34. ^ Iraq PM will visit Iran Monday | Reuters via iraqupdates.com
  35. ^ Iraqis demand shoe-thrower be freed
  36. ^ a b CNN (October 28, 2006). "Iraqi prime minister: 'I'm not America's man'". CNN. Archived from the original on November 13, 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-27.
  37. ^ CNN (April 7, 2008). "Transcript: Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Iraq". CNN. Retrieved 2008-04-07.

See also

{{{inline}}}

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Prime Minister of Iraq
2006–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Secretary-General of Islamic Dawa Party
2007–present
Incumbent

Template:Persondata