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Key members of Iraq's new government

A look at some of the key members of Iraq's new government:

President Jalal Talabani—Iraq's first Kurdish president is the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the two leading political factions in the semiautonomous northern region. He was a member of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council that served just after the former regime fell.

Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari—A Shiite Muslim, al-Jaafari is an Islamist from the Dawa Party, one of the oldest and most influential religious parties in Iraq. He was exiled to Iran in the 1980s and later lived in Britain. He was a member of the U.S.-appointed governing council. He is now the acting defense minister, one of seven posts still unfilled.

Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi—A one-time favorite of the Pentagon to lead Iraq, Chalabi fell from grace last year amid accusations that he passed secrets to Iran. Unpopular among ordinary Iraqis, Chalabi nevertheless has managed to remain a power broker. The secular Shiite is one of four deputy premiers. He is also acting oil minister, one of seven posts still unfilled.

Minister of Interior Bayan Jabr—Named Bakr Solagh at birth, he took on the pseudonym Bayan Jabr to evade Saddam Hussein's intelligence agents. Jabr is a senior member of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and he headed the powerful Shiite party's offices in Syria and Lebanon. He was the minister of housing and reconstruction on the first U.S.-appointed government.

Minister of Finance Ali Abdel-Amir Allawi—Allawi is a wealthy businessman and former consultant to the World Bank. He also has strong political connections—he's a cousin of the caretaker Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, as well as the nephew of controversial lawmaker Ahmad Chalabi. He came to power through the United Iraqi Alliance, the mostly Shiite coalition that swept the elections.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshyar Zebari—Zebari belongs to a prominent tribe from Iraq's northern Kurdish region and is a member of the influential Kurdistan Democratic Party. He's served as foreign minister since the first interim Iraqi government was named in June 2004.


(Compiled by Hannah Allam in Baghdad, Iraq.)


(c) 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.