The New Leaders

Interim Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi (right) shakes hands with Chief Justice Medhat Mahmud after Allawi was sworn in to office inside the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq on Monday, June 28, 2004. (Photo: © Stefan Zaklin/EPA/AP Wide World)
The new government of Iraq is made up of people representing the country's different religious, political, and ethnic groups. Read through the list of important leaders below to learn more about the new government.

Government Leaders

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi is the man in charge of Iraq. He is a Shiite Muslim and a former member of the Iraqi Governing Council. He is also a former member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, but turned against the Party in the 1970s. As Prime Minister, Allawi hopes to make the country safer and richer, while at the same time preparing Iraq for national elections.

As Deputy Prime Minster, Barham Salih is something like the Vice President of Iraq. He is a Kurd, and leads the two main Iraqi Kurdish groups. He also served as the Kurdistan Regional government representative to the United States for 10 years.

A 33-member Cabinet will advise Prime Minister Allawi on important decisions. Six women will serve in the Cabinet. This is the first time women have been allowed to serve in government in the region.

Ceremonial Leaders

President Ghazi Ajil al-Yawar will be the ceremonial leader of Iraq, much like a European king or queen is the ceremonial leader of his or her country. He is a former member of the Iraqi Governing Council as well as a leader of a prominent Sunni tribe in northern Iraq. He was educated in Saudi Arabia and at Georgetown University in the United States.

Deputy President Ibrahim Jafari will assist President al-Yawar. Jafari is a Shiite and also a former member of the Iraqi Governing Council. He is also a member of the Dawa Party, which opposed Saddam Hussein and hopes to make Iraq a religious Islamic state.

Deputy President Rowsch Shaways will also report to President al-Yawar. Shaways is a Kurd and President of the Kurdistan National Assembly. Kurds are a non-Arab people who live in northern Iraq and Turkey. When he was a student, Shaways left Iraq, but returned to fight for Kurdish causes in 1975.

Spiritual Leaders

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is widely considered to be the spiritual leader of Iraq's Shiite Muslims. He rarely makes political statements, but he is a very powerful man. Many believe that he urged his followers to accept American authority after the war.

Moqtada al-Sadr is a Shiite cleric who helped lead the fight against Americans in Iraq after the war. His loyal supporters are based in the holy city of Najaf, and in a Shiite section of Baghdad. The section of Baghdad is called Sadr City, which is named after al-Sadr. The Bush administration has called him a criminal, but his black-clad followers believe that he speaks for poor Iraqis.

American Leaders

John Negroponte is the American ambassador to Iraq. He will oversee the construction of a new American embassy in Iraq that will employ more than a thousand Americans and 700 Iraqis. He has represented the U.S. to the United Nations, and served as ambassador to countries around the world.

L. Paul Bremer III oversaw Iraq during the period between the war and the transfer of power back to Iraqis. He hoped to set Iraq on the path toward stability and prosperity, but violence only increased under his watch. Bremer is a lifelong politician and diplomat, and returned to the U.S. in June.

General John Abizaid of U.S. Central Command is in charge of all U.S. troops in the Middle East, East Africa, and South-Central Asia. Abizaid is an Arab-American and speaks fluent Arabic. Abizaid helped plan and carry out the war in Iraq.