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Haider Al-Abadi


Haider Al-Abadi is an Iraqi politician and spokesman for the Islamic Dawa Party. He was nominated for the role of Prime Minister of Iraq on 11 August 2014 by President Fuad Masum.[1] 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. Al-Abadi lived in exile in London during the time of Saddam Hussein.[2]

Exile 

After studying at the University of Manchester,[3] Al-Abadi remained in the UK in voluntary exile until 2003. His positions during this time included:[citation needed] 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.[4]

Return to Iraq 
Under the CPA 

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 actions by insurgents against U.S.-led coalition personnel.[5]

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,[6] Al-Abadi was not prepared to be a rubber stamp and he introduced more conditions in the licenses. Among them stated 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.[7] In 2004, it was revealed that these allegations were fabrications, and a US Defense Department review found that telecommunications contracting had been illegally influenced in an unsuccessful effort led by disgraced U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense John A. Shaw, not by Iraqis.[8]
Post-CPA 

In 2005, he served as an advisor to the Prime Minister of Iraq in the first elected government.[9]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 7 March 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.[10]Al-Abadi's name was circulated as a prime ministerial candidate during the formation of the Iraqi government in 2006 during which Ibrahim al-Jaafari was replaced by Nouri al-Malikias Prime Minister.

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.[11]In 2009, Al-Abadi was identified by the Middle East Economic Digest as a key person to watch in Iraq's reconstruction.[9]He is an active member of the Iraq Petroleum Advisory Committee, participating in the Iraq Petroleum Conferences of 2009–2012.[12]
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.[13]

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 Nouri Al-Maliki. Again in 2014, he was nominated by Shia political parties as an alternative candidate for Prime Minister.[14]On 24 July 2014, Fuad Masum became the new president of Iraq. He, in turn, nominated Al-Abadi for prime minister on August 11.[15] However, for the appointment to take effect, Al-Abadi must form a government and be confirmed by Parliament, within 30 days.[16] Al-Maliki however refused to give up his post and referred the matter to the federal court claiming the president's nomination was a "constitutional violation." He said: "The insistence on this until the end is to protect the state."[17] On 14 August 2014, however in the face of growing calls from world leaders and members of his own party the embattled prime minister announced he was stepping down to make way for Al-Abadi.[18]

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