2011 at the U.S. Department of State
|Vice President of Iraq|
9 September 2014 – 11 August 2015
|Preceded by||Khodair al-Khozaei|
|Succeeded by||Office abolished|
|Speaker of the Council of Representatives|
11 November 2010 – 15 July 2014
|Prime Minister||Nouri al-Maliki|
|Preceded by||Fuad Masum (acting)|
|Succeeded by||Salim al-Jabouri|
|Minister of Industry|
3 May 2005 – 20 May 2006
|Prime Minister||Ibrahim al-Jaafari|
|Preceded by||Hajim al-Hassani (interim)|
|Succeeded by||Fawzi Hariri|
|Born||Usama Abdu'l Aziz al-Nujayfi
|Political party||al-Hadba (in the Muttahidoon coalition)|
|Relations||Atheel al-Nujaifi (Brother)|
Osama Abdul Aziz al-Nujaifi or Najifi (Arabic: أسامة النجيفي; born c. 1956 in Mosul) is an Iraqi politician. As the Speaker of the Council of Representatives, the informal leader of the moderate Sunni al-Hadba party was the highest ranking Sunni politician of Iraq.
An engineer by profession, al-Nujaifi served as Minister of Industry in the 2005–06 Iraqi Transitional Government. He later won the 2010 parliamentary election and was elected the Speaker of the Council of Representatives. During this time, he built up a reputation as prime minister al-Maliki staunchest adversary, whom as a Sunni he could defy but not challenge. After leaving offices together with al-Maliki in 2014, he was rewarded the ceremonial post of a Vice President of Iraq.
al-Nujaifi was born 1956 in Mosul to a wealthy family of landowners and politicians. Both his grandfather Muhammad and his father served as members of parliament during the monarchist era. He grew up racing Arabian horses for his family.
In 1978, al-Nujaifi earned a degree in electrical engineering,[dead link] from the University of Mosul. Shortly after graduation, he worked in the Iraqi government's electricity ministry for 12 years, involved in building power plants.
During the rule of Saddam Hussein, the al-Nujaifi family largely remained out of politics, returning to the public scene following his toppling in 2003. They were however accused of harboring sympathies for Saddam's Baath Party, and were indeed involved in horse trades with Saddam's sons Uday and Qusai.
In the Iraqi Transitional Government, al-Nujaifi was appointed Minister of Industry. During his one year tenure, he privatized most of the state-owned companies which included firms working in sectors from petrochemical and cement to sugar, silk and heavy industry. He campaigned against the ratification of the Constitution of Iraq. After the Iraqi legislative election of December 2005, he was nominated by the Iraqi National List to be a member of the Council of Representatives and subsequently headed a parliamentary committee.
On September 2006 he sparked a walkout by Kurdish MPs when he said the villages around Mosul were of Arab origin. His bodyguard was also assassinated in that month. He claimed in October 2008 that the 2008 attacks on Christians in Mosul were carried out by Kurdish peshmerga and intelligence operatives.
Speaker of the Council of Representatives
The al-Nujaifi brothers' al-Hadba party contested the 2010 parliamentary election as part of the cross-sectarian Iraqiya bloc, which became the largest parliamentary force. Subsequently, al-Nujaifi was elected the Speaker of the Council of Representatives on 11 November 2010. Iraqiya however didn't manage to secure a clear majority to elect its Shiite leader Ayad Allawi to replace current prime minister Nuri al-Maliki. In his first parliamentary speech, Nujafi held al-Maliki's government responsible for the country’s "fear, hunger, poverty and corruption," adding that Iraq was considered today "the most corrupt country in the world."
In his first visit to the US as Iraqi parliament speaker, al-Nujaifi refused following protocol, denying to place a wreath on the Arlington Tomb of the Unknowns on the basis that he considered the Americans "an occupying force rather than liberators". When he revisited Washington in early 2014 to discuss the ongoing Sunni insurgency in Anbar province, he took a different stance, stressing the importance of the US role in Iraq "to support the political process developed in Iraq." He criticized the treatment of the Sunni Sahwa forces, who fought al-Qaeda in Iraq, though refused to join the Iraqi Army, until they were massively prosecuted by the al-Maliki government. "The policy of exclusion and marginalization of Sunnis and the arrest of thousands of them for illegal reasons provided a suitable ground for the return of al-Qaeda."
Named "the inner circle’s new face", Nujaifi by then was the highest-ranking Sunni politician of Iraq, Within the increasingly fragmented Iraqiya national bloc, al-Nujaifi's al-Hadba party shaped the new moderately Sunni Muttahidoon coalition, advocating a Sunni federal region in Iraq to contest the 2013 governorate elections. Seen by many as a future presidential prospect, his new coalition however didn't succeed in playing a central role neither in the governorate elections nor in the 2014 parliamentary election. After a weeklong deadlock situation, al-Nujaifi agreed not to seek another term as parliamentary speaker, if al-Maliki also drops his premiership bid. As the prime minister cleared the path, Salim al-Jabouri from the Muttahidoon-allied Diyala is Our Identity coalition became the new parliamentary speaker.
On 11 September 2014, just after the new al-Abadi Government was sworn in, al-Nujaifi was assigned the post of one of the Vice Presidents of Iraq, along with the former prime ministers al-Maliki and Allawi. On 11 August 2015, these largely ceremonial posts were however altogether abolished as part of prime minister Haider al-Abadi's reform plans.
- According to political ballot in 2010 his name was listed as "Usama Abdulaziz Mohammad Abdulaziz."
- John Lenand; Duraid Adnan (12 November 2010). "On His First Day, Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Was Tested by Own Alliance". New York Times. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Sunni Arab MP Osama al-Nujaifi named Iraqi parliament speaker
- Hamza Mustafa (6 October 2013). "Osama Al-Nujaifi: Iraq’s Future President?". Asharq Al-Awsat. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Ned Parker; Usama Redha (25 January 2009). "Arabs, Kurds take their fight to polls". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- People's Daily Online - Iraqi official expects nothing to new constitution
- Iraq: Mosul waits for "miracle" of peace in Iraq - Asia News
- Kurdistani coalition walks out Iraqi parliament over Najifi statement, KUNA via Iraq Updates, 2006-09-25
- Kuna site|Story page|MP''s bodyguard assassinated in Iraq ...9/18/2006
- "Kurdish Groups behind attacks on Assyrians in Mosul", Assyrian International News Agency, 2008-10-13, accessed on 2008-12-02
- Ali Abdelamir (28 January 2014). "Nujaifi discusses Iraqi crisis with US officials, academics". Al Monitor. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- "Iraq: Nujaifi says won’t seek new term as speaker if Maliki drops premiership bid". Asharq Al-Awsat. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- "Iraq reforms: Parliament backs PM Haider al-Abadi's plan". BBC News. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
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