Profile of IGC members

In July 2003, the US occupation authorities in Iraq set up what they called a governing council which they hoped would lay the foundation of a future Iraqi government.

The governing council members pose for a group photograph
The governing council members pose for a group photograph

The Governing Council consists of 25 members drawn from across Iraq’s sectarian and ethnic divides.

1. Yonnadam Kanna, is an Assyrian Christian who heads the Assyrian Democratic Movement. An engineer by profession, Kana served as an official for the transport ministry in the first Kurdish regional assembly and then as a trade minister in the regional government established in Arbil in northern Iraq.

2. Sangul Shapuk, is a Turkman Sunni and one of just three women on the council. She is a member of the Iraqi Turkman Front. Shapuk holds a degree in education, and is studying fine arts at Mosul University. A married mother of two, she is a feminist activist who worked as a teacher and has lived her life in Iraq. 

3. Mahmud Ali Uthman, is a Kurdish Sunni who held various posts in the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the 1960s. He was close to Mulla Mustafa al-Barazani (the father of KDP leader Masud al-Barazani) before moving to London, where he founded the Kurdish Socialist party. He visited Israel and played a key role in coordinating relations between Barazani and the Zionist state.

IGC has 13 Shia, five Sunni, five
Kurds, one Turkman, one Assyrian

4. Salah al-Din Baha al-Din, is a Kurdish Sunni. He is an Islamist close to the Muslim Brotherhood. He was born to a religious family in the Kurdish region north of Iraq and studied religion. Baha al-Din founded the Islamist Union party after 1991 when the region shook off Baghdad’s control and became its secretary general in 1994. The party is the third biggest Kurdish grouping after the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic party.

5. Jalal Talabani, is also a Kurdish Sunni. He is a lawyer by training and head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). Talabani was born near Arbil (an ancient town in northern Iraq mentioned as Arbela in Greek scripts). During the 1960s he was a member of the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP) under Masoud Barzani’s control. He split from the party in 1975 to form the PUK, which controls the southeast of Kurdistan, while the KDP controls the northwest. His relations with Saddam Hussein’s government witnessed many ups and downs.

6. Masud al-Barazani, is a Kurdish Sunni and the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP). He became a Peshmerga (Kurdish militia) fighter in 1963, taking over the party leadership on his father’s death in 1979. He has shared power in the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq since 1991 along with rival Jalal al-Talabani. Al-Barazani sought Saddam Hussein’s aid in 1996 to drive al-Talabani’s militias out of his territories.

7. Dr Muhsin Abd al-Hamid. An Arab Sunni from Kirkuk, al-Hamid is the secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic party. Abd al-Hamid worked as an Islamic sharia professor before the occupation of Iraq. He was jailed during Saddam Hussein’s rule, but freed after successful mediation from the influential Sudanese political and religious figure Hasan al-Turabi.

8. Shaikh Ghazi Ajil al-Yawar, is an Arab Sunni. He is one of the leaders of the powerful Shamar tribe which comprises both Sunni and Shia. For 15 years he lived in Saudi Arabia only returning to Iraq in June 2003. He believes that the US authorities in Iraq should allow Iraqi Sunnis to be more represented in Iraq’s political life.

“The US-appointed IGC is an illegal aberration”

Dr Harith al-Dhari,
Association of Muslim Scholars

9. Dr Adnan al-Pachachi, is an Arab Sunni. He served as foreign minister and Iraq’s ambassador to the UN between 1965 and 1967 under the rule of the Arif brothers. Al-Pachachi lived in the United Arab Emirates before returning to Iraq in 2003 after the toppling of the Iraqi government by the US-led forces. He currently chairs the Iraqi Independent Grouping.

10. Dr Raja Habib al-Khuzai, is an Arab Shia. She worked as a nursery manager before the US-led invasion of Iraq. She currently runs al-Diwaniya Maternity in the southern city of al-Diwaniya. Al-Khuzai studied in London in the late 1960s. She returned to Iraq in 1977.

11. Nasir al-Jadirji, is an Arab Sunni who has lived in Iraq and ran several agricultural companies. Al-Jadirji chairs the Iraqi Democratic Current.

12. Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum, is an Arab Shia cleric who took refuge in the UK in 1991. Bahr al-Ulum backed the invasion of Iraq to remove the “anti-Shia” president Saddam Hussein. He was one of those who signed the Iraqi Shia Declaration in July 2000. He left London and returned to Iraq after the occupation of Iraq in April 2003.

Most IGC members are formerexiles and opponents of Saddam  

Most IGC members are former
exiles and opponents of Saddam  

13. Dr Muwafaq al-Rubaya, is an Arab Shia. A well-known physician, former Islamic Dawa party member and Shia activist. Some Iraqi intellectuals claim he is of Iranian origin. He was the godfather of the Iraqi Shia Declaration in July 2000. The declaration demands that the Iraqi constitution should stipulate that Shia are a majority in Iraq and guarantees them the right to practise their religious rituals. Al-Rubaya lived in exile in London and returned to Iraq in 2003.

14. Samir Mahmud al-Sumaidaie is a Sunni Muslim businessman belonging to a tribe that inhabits the western town of Haditha. He is facing difficulties in convincing his fellow tribesmen to accept the new situation in Iraq, as Sunnis in western Iraq have chosen to resist the US-led occupation in Iraq. 

15. Hamid Majid Mussa, is an Arab Shia and secretary-general of the Iraqi Communist party (ICP), which was banned during Baathist rule. He is an economist and researcher in oil issues. He fled Iraq in 1978 and returned in 1983 to continue his activities with the then underground ICP. When Iraqi Kurds managed to gain a US-protected autonomy in northern Iraq following the Gulf war in 1991, Mussa moved to the Kurdish areas. In 1993 he became the secretary-general of ICP. He returned to Baghdad after the end of the US-led war on Iraq in 2003.

“The IGC is illegal, I call to establish an Islamic army to confront the occupation”

Muqtada al-Sadr, a Shia cleric

16. Dr Salama al-Khafaji is an Arab Shia. She is a dentist, and was appointed as an IGC member on 9 December 2003, replacing Aqila al-Hashimi who was assassinated in September of the same year. She descends from a well-known family in Karbala, a city south of Baghdad where the tomb of Imam al-Husayn, the prophet Muhammad’s grandson, is situated. The Shia hold al-Husayn as one of their 12 holy imams.

17. Iyad Alawi is an Arab Shia and grandson of a health minister in the days when Iraq was a kingdom. A surgeon by trade, he is a prominent Baathist and was once close to Saddam Hussein. Alawi was assigned to many intelligence tasks during Baathist rule.

While studying in London, Alawi became a coordinator of the Baath party in the UK and Ireland. He was summoned to Baghdad in 1977, but refused to respond and defected to the UK. In 1991 he founded the National Accord Movement. The movement contained many defectors including Baathists and army officers. He returned to Iraq after the US-led war on Iraq.

18. Wail abd al-Latif is an Arab Shia. He lived in Basra, Iraq, and has served as a judge since 1982. Following the occupation of Iraq, he was appointed as deputy head of the Basra court and elected by the city council as Basra’s interim governor. He is entitled to set up a court to try the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

19. Dr Ibrahim al-Jafari, is an Arab Shia who was born in the Shia holy city of Karbala. In 1966 he joined the Islamic Daawa party in Iraq. The party was affiliated with Iran, and based there during the 1970s. The party launched a bloody campaign against the government of Saddam Hussein after al-Khumaini took power in Iran. The Iraqi government outlawed the Daawa party after attacks on governmental establishments inside Iraqi cities. Al-Jafari escaped from Iraq to Iran before he settled in London, where he stayed until the end of the war on Iraq in 2003.

IGC decisions must win Paul
Bremer’s approval to be effective  

20. Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim is an Arab Shia and leader of the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SAIRI). The SAIRI was founded in 1982 with full Iranian support. It opposed Saddam Hussein’s rule. He belongs to the prominent religious al-Hakim family based in al-Najaf.

He succeeded his brother Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, who was assassinated in al-Najaf on 29 August 2003, as chairman of SAIRI. Al-Hakim left Iraq in the late 1970s and lived in Iran where the SAIRI is based. He led the Badr brigades, the military wing of SAIRI, and returned to Iraq following the US-led war on Iraq. 

21. Karim al-Muhamadawi is a Shia who belongs to an Arab tribe inhabiting Iraq’s southern marshland. His nom de guerre is Abu Hatim, a name he used to hide his real identity from Iraqi intelligence. He is the leader of the Iraqi Hizb Allah party. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s he led anti-government armed groups using secret hideouts in the marshland region. His fighters used to attack Iraqi army convoys moving in the area between the marshland and the borders with Iran. He is known in southern Iraq as “Amir al-Ahwar” (Prince of the Marshland). 

22. Dara Nour al-Din is a Kurdish Sunni from Kirkuk. He served as a judge during Saddam Hussein’s rule. He was sentenced to three years in jail, but released after eight months following a national pardon from then-president Saddam Hussein. Nour al-Din was appointed as head of the Baghdad court following the occupation in April 2003.

Related links

23. Ahmad al-Barak albu Sultan is an Arab Shia belonging to the central governorate of Babil (Babylon). He gained an economics degree from Baghdad University. He served as head of the Human Rights League before the occupation of Iraq.

24. Izz al-Din Salim is an Arab Shia from the southern city of Basra and a prominent Iraqi historian. He is an Islamist who was a member of several Islamic parties, before establishing his own party, the Islamic Daawa Movement.

25. Ahmad Chalabi is an Arab Shia. He was born in 1945 in Baghdad to a wealthy Shia family, the head of whom was a cabinet member during monarchic rule. He fled Iraq after the fall of the monarchy in 1958. In 1977 he established the Petra Bank in Jordan. He fled the country in 1992 shortly before a Jordanian court sentenced him in absentia to 22 years in prison with hard labour for fraud.

In that same year he established the Iraqi National Congress (INC) in London. The INC was funded by the CIA and received more than $100mn in the first half of the 1990s to topple Saddam Hussein. In 1995 Chalabi tried to initiate a rebellion in northern Iraq. On 31 August 1996 the Iraqi army stormed INC bases in northern Iraq killing hundreds of INC militia members and forcing others to flee including Ahmad Chalabi.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

More from News
Most Read