Iraq's Governing Council, 2003

Iraq's25-member Governing Council met for the first time on 13 July, 2003. It included 13 people described as Shi'a, five Kurds, five Sunni Arabs, one Christian and one Turkoman, including three women.

See also: Members of Cabinet

Powers and responsibilities of the Governing Council

Official text issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority

The governing council is the principal body of the interim administration of Iraq called for in UN Security Council Resolution 1483. It will exercise specific powers in addition to representing the interests of the Iraqi people to the Coalition Provisional Authority and the international community.

Ministerial authorities: The governing council shall name an interim minister for each ministry. Each minister will be responsible to the governing council, reporting back to it regularly. The governing council shall have the authority to dismiss ministers should they lose the council's confidence.

Policy authorities: The coalition will be required to consult with the overning council on all major decisions and questions of policy. The governing council shall have the right to set policies and take decisions in cooperation with the coalition in any area of national policy, including financial and economic reform, education, electoral law, health.

The governing council shall decide how it wishes to organize itself for the purpose of preparing new policies. It may choose to form specialist commissions to generate proposals. It could also include experts from the United Nations, the coalition or other bodies on such commissions.

Foreign Affairs: In addition to naming Iraq's interim minister of foreign affairs and overseeing his or her work, the governing council will arrange for international representation during the interim period. Together with the coalition the council shall name Iraqi nationals to serve as representatives to international organizations and conferences. The council will also have the authority to appoint heads of Iraq's bilateral missions abroad and to receive representatives from other countries.

Finance: The governing council will name an interim finance minister and oversee his or her activities. The council, with the coalition and with the involvement of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the United Nations Development Program, will play a full part in drawing up the 2004 national budget. The 2004 budget will be subject to council approval. The council will have the right to consider substantial amendments to the 2003 emergency budget. It will also have the right to develop policies regarding monetary and fiscal matters.

Security: The governing council shall have the right to prepare policies on matters concerning Iraq's national security, including the rebuilding and reform of Iraq's armed forces, police and justice sector. The governing council will be responsible for ensuring that Iraq's police and military are de-politicized and that the principle of civilian oversight and supervision of the military is established.

Operational security matters will remain the responsibility of the coalition during the period of transition.

Constitutional Process: The governing council shall consider appointing a Preparatory Constitutional Commission to recommend a process by which a new constitution for Iraq will be prepared and approved. The Commission would report to the council. The recommended procedure should lead to a new constitution based on the principles adopted at the Salahuddin and Nasariyah conferences.

Once adopted, the constitution would pave the way for national elections leading to a new, fully sovereign Iraqi government which will immediately take over the powers and responsibilities of the coalition.

Members of the Governing Council

Alawi, Iyad ¶ Iraqi National Accord Shia
Alzin, Dara Noor Judge and Islamist Sunni Kurd
Bahaaedin, Salaheddine Kurdistan Islamic Union Sunni Kurd
Barak, Ahmad al- Human rights activist Shia
Barzani, Massoud Kurdistan Democratic Party Sunni Kurd
Chaderchi, Naseer Kamel al- National Democratic Party Sunni Arab
Chalabi, Ahmad ¶ Iraqi National Congress Shia
Chapouk, Sondul* Iraqi Women's Organisation Turkoman
Hakim, Abd al-Aziz al- Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq Shia
Hamid, Mohsin Abd al- Iraqi Islamic Party Sunni Arab
Hashimi, Aqila al-* Foreign affairs expert Shia
Ja'afari, Ibrahim al- Islamic Dawa Party Shia
Kana, Younadem Democratic Assyrian Movement Assyrian Christian
Khuzaai, Raja Habib al-* Head of maternity hospital Shia
Latif, Wael Abd al- Lawyer, judge; governor of Basra Shia
Mahmoud, Samir Shakir Writer, member of al-Sumaidy clan Sunni Arab
Mohammed, Abd al-Zahraa Othman Islamic Dawa Movement, Basra Shia
Mohammedawi, Abdel-Karim Mahoud al- Hizbullah Shia
Moussa, Hamid Majid Iraqi Communist Party Shia origin
Othman, Mahmoud Physician; independent Sunni Kurd
Pachachi, Adnan ¶ Former foreign minister Sunni Arab
Rabii, Mouwafak al- Neurologist; human rights activist Shia
Talabani, Jalal Patriotic Union of Kurdistan Sunni Kurd
Uloum, Mohammed Bahr al- ¶ Cleric from Najaf Shia
Yawer, Ghazi Mashal Ajil al- Tribal chief (Shimr Tribe) Sunni Arab

* Female
¶ Former exile

The personalities

ALAWI, Dr Ayad: Medical doctor who began opposition to the Iraqi regime in the early 1970s. Leader of the Iraqi National Accord.Former exile who was supported by the CIA before the overthrow of Saddam. Shi'a. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

ALZIN, Dara Noor: Sunni Kurd; judge and Islamist. While serving in the Court of Appeal he ruled that Saddam's edicts confiscating land without proper compensation were unconstitutional. He was sentenced to two years in prison, eight of them at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. Released under an amnesty in October 2002. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

BAHAAEDDINE, Salaheddine Muhammad: Sunni Kurd, born in Halabja. Became secretary-general of the Kurdistan Islamic Union in 1994. Has written several books in Kurdish and Arabic. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

BARAK Ahmad al-: Human rights activist. Shi'a. General coordinator, Human Rights Association of Babel. Also coordinator of the Iraqi Bar Association. Worked with UN programmes in Iraq after 1991 through the foreign ministry. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

BARZANI, Mas'ud: Leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party.Sunni. Born on 16 August, 1946, in Mahabad (Iran), where his father, the late General Mustafa Barzani, was military chief of a self-declared Kurdish republic. When the republic fell, his father fled to the Soviet Union, while Mas’ud and the rest of his family returned to Iraq, and eventually to their home village, Barzan. In 1961 Mustafa Barzani and the KDP launched an armed struggle against the Iraqi government, which Mas’ud joined at the age of 16. In 1970 Mas’ud was in a delegation which signed an autonomy agreement with Baghdad, but this later collapsed and the armed struggle resumed. In 1979, following the death of his father, Mas’ud became president of the KDP - a post which he has held ever since. He is married with eight children and is the author of a book, "Barzani and the Kurdish Liberation Movement", published in Arabic and in three volumes. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003. See KDP presidential website, also the life of Mustafa Barzani.


CHADERCHI, Naseer Kamel al-: Leader of the National Democratic Party. Sunni lawyer, businessman and farmowner. Baghdad resident. Son of Kamel al-Chaderchi, who played a leading role in Iraq's democratic development before the Baath Party seized power in 1968. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

CHALABI, Ahmad (Dr): Leader of the Iraqi National Congress.A Shi'a Muslim, born 1944/1945. Until the fall of Saddam, he had not lived in Iraq since 1956, apart from a period organising resistance in the Kurdish north in the mid-1990s. Studied mathematics at Chicago University and MIT. His main political support comes from the US Congress, the Pentagon and parts of the CIA. He is opposed by the State Department and other parts of the CIA. He was chairman of the Petra Bank in Jordan which collapsed, ruining many of its depositors, and in 1989 was convicted (in his absence) of fraud by a Jordanian court and sentenced to 20 years in jail. He maintains he is innocent and says the accusations were trumped up by the Iraqi government. For more about the case seeFinancial scandal claims hang over leader in waiting (The Guardian, 14 April, 2003). The US State Department has also raised questions about the INC's accounting practices. In 1995 he organised an uprising in northern Iraq, which was called off by the CIA that a critical moment. A highly controversial figure, he is certainly charismatic and determined, though many also regard him as domineering.Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.
Profiles: The Guardian (22 February, 2002); Washington Post (21 April, 1999).

CHAPOUK, Sondul: Turkoman woman from Kirkuk who trained as an engineer and teacher. Leader of the Iraqi Women's Organization. She has also been described in Arabic as "fannaana", which normally indicates an artist or actress. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003 (she did not wear hijab at the council's first meeting - unlike the two Shi'a women).

HAKIM, Abd al-Aziz al-: Younger brother of Mohammed Baqr al-Hakim and deputy leader of the Shi'a organisation, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.Commanded the group's armed wing, the Badr Brigades. He opposes US presence in Iraq but is well-connected other US-backed groups that opposed Saddam, including the Kurds and Chalabi's INC.Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

HAMID, Mohsen Abd al-: Sunni, born in Kirkuk. Secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic Party. Author of more than 30 religious books. Arrested in 1996 on charges of reorganising the IIP. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

HASHIMI, Aqila al- (Dr): Female, foreign affairs expert. Shi'a. Previously director of the research centre at the Iraqi foreign ministry. A report in al-Hayat in June 2003 suggested she would become Iraq's ambassador at the UN to replace Mohammed al-Douri, but on July 13 whe was appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council. Has a doctorate in modern literature and a degree in international(?) law. Reportedly speaks fluent English, French and Spanish.

JA'AFARI, Ibrahim al- (Dr): Shi'a, born in Karbala. Trained in medicine at Mosul university. Represents the Islamic Dawa Party, which was once based in Iran and launched a bloody campaign against Saddam's regime in the late 1970s. (The group, which was crushed in 1982, says it lost 77,000 members in its war against Saddam.) Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

KANA, Younadem: Assyrian Christian, active against Saddam since 1979. Secretary-general of the Democratic Assyrian Movement. Held the posts of minister of public works and housing and a minister of industry and energy in Iraqi Kurdistan. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

KHUZAAI, Raja Habib al-: Female head of a maternity hospital in the southern city of Diwaniyah. Shi'a. Studied and lived in Britain from the late 1960s until 1977, when she returned to Iraq. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

LATIF, Wael Abd al-: Shi'a lawyer and judge. Named as governor of Basra, 4 July, 2003. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

MAHMOUD, Samir Shakir: Writer from Haditha (western Iraq) who was involved in opposition to Saddam Hussein. Sunni. Member of al-Sumaidy clan. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

MOHAMMED, Abd al-Zahraa Othman: Writer, philosopher, political activist; edited several newspapers and magazines. Leader of the Islamic Da'wa movement in Basra. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

MOHAMMEDAWI, Abd al-Karim Mahmoud al-: Shi'a, leader of Hizbullah in southern city of Amarah. Known as "Prince of the Marshes" for leading resistance to Saddam in the southern marsh area for 17 years. Imprisoned for six years. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

MOUSSA, Hamid Majid: Economist and petroleum researcher. Secretary of the Iraqi Communist Party since 1993. Of Shi'a origin. Left Iraq in 1978 and returned in 1983. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

OTHMAN, Mahmoud (Dr): Physician. Sunni Kurd reagrded as politically independent. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

PACHACHI, Adnan: Sunni Muslim, born 1919 or 1920. Served as Iraqi foreign minister and ambassador to the UN before the Baathists took over in 1968. Later became secretary general of the opposition DCT. Potentially a key player in post-Saddam Iraq, but has said he wants only a facilitating role. Returned to Iraq in May 2003 after 32 years in exile. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

RABII, Mouwafak al- (Dr): Neurologist and human rights activist. Shi'a; split from Da'wa. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

TALABANI, Jalal: President of the PUK since it was established in 1975. Sunni Muslim. Born in Kelkan in 1933, he became active in the Kurdish opposition during his teens and eventually joined the central committee of the KDP. Worked for a time as a journalist and after the 1958 revolution commanded an Iraqi army tank unit. Joined the Kurdish rebellion which began 1961. In 1975 he split with the KDP and founded the PUK. Talabani is critical of exiled anti-Saddam groups, and distinguishes between the "opposition of the trenches and the opposition of the hotels". Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003. Interviews: Middle East Quarterly (Winter 2002); Frontline.

Jalal Talabani

ULOUM, Mohammed Bahr al-: Shi'a cleric from Najaf. Spent some time in London where he headed the Ahl al-Bayt charity. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.

YAWER, Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-: Born in Mosul. Chief of the Shimr tribe (Sunni Arab). Civil engineer who was also vice-president of Hicap Technology company in Saudi Arabia. Appointed to Iraq’s Governing Council, 13 July, 2003.