This article needs to be updated.(July 2021)
|8th President of Iraq|
|Assumed office |
2 October 2018
|Prime Minister||Haider Al-Abadi|
|Preceded by||Fuad Masum|
|Prime Minister of Kurdistan Region|
28 October 2009 – 5 April 2012
|Preceded by||Nechirvan Barzani|
|Succeeded by||Nechirvan Barzani|
21 January 2001 – 15 July 2004
|Preceded by||Kosrat Rasul Ali|
|Succeeded by||Omar Fattah Hussein (acting)|
|Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq|
20 May 2006 – 20 August 2009
|Prime Minister||Nouri al-Maliki|
|Preceded by||Rowsch Shaways|
|Succeeded by||Rowsch Shaways|
28 June 2004 – 3 May 2005
|Prime Minister||Iyad Allawi|
|Preceded by||Coalition Provisional Authority|
|Succeeded by||Rowsch Shaways|
|Chair of Board of Trustees at The American University of Iraq, Sulaimani|
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Succeeded by||Jill Derby|
Barham Ahmed Salih
12 September 1960
Slemani, Kurdistan, Iraq
|Political party||Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (1976–2017, 2018–present)|
|Coalition for Democracy and Justice (2018)|
|Residence(s)||Radwaniyah Palace, Baghdad, Iraq|
|Alma mater||Cardiff University|
University of Liverpool
Early life and education
Salih was born in 1960 in Sulaymaniyah. He was arrested in 1979 by the Ba'athist regime twice on charges of involvement in the Kurdish national movement by taking some photos of protesters in Sulaimaniya city and spent 43 days in detention in a Special Investigation Commission prison in Kirkuk where he was tortured. Once released, he finished high school and left Iraq for the United Kingdom to flee continued persecution.
Deputy Secretary General of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Barham Salih joined the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in late 1976 where he became a member of the PUK department of Europe, and was in charge of PUK foreign relations in London. In addition to the political struggle, he finished his university studies and received a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering and Construction from the Cardiff University in 1983. He continued to study and obtained a Doctorate degree in Statistics and Computer Applications in Engineering from the University of Liverpool in 1987.
He was elected a member of the PUK leadership at the first party conference when Iraqi Kurdistan was liberated from the Ba'ath Party following the Persian Gulf War. He was assigned the task of heading the PUK Office in the United States.
After the fall of the Ba'athist regime in 2003, he became Deputy Prime Minister in the Interim Iraqi Government in mid-2004, Minister of Planning in the Transitional Government in 2005, and Deputy Prime Minister in the elected Iraqi Government (Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet) in charge of the economic portfolio and Head of the Economic Committee. Representing the Iraqi Government, he launched the International Compact with Iraq – an initiative of mutual commitment between Iraq and the international community to help Iraq in meeting its obligations of "building a prosperous, democratic and federal country, in peace with itself and with the region and the world".
Salih appeared on The Colbert Report on 10 June 2009, broadcast from Baghdad, and was interviewed by the host. He praised the U.S. military for sending troops into Iraq, and acknowledged that many Kurds desire independence.
Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region Government
Barham Salih spearheaded the Kurdistani List in the 2009 Iraqi Kurdistan legislative election. The list won 59 of 111 seats. He succeeded Nechervan Idris Barzani as the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government. His term was marked by turbulence with the rise of an opposition (Movement for Change) to challenge the government while his own party was scrambling to stay together after losing the stronghold city of Sulaymaniyah. He survived the first motion of no confidence in Iraqi Kurdistan following the 2011 Kurdish protests in Iraq. He signed the first major oil contract with Exxon Mobil after drafting and amending a new oil law. He relinquished the post of Prime Minister to Nechervan Idris Barzani on 5 April 2012 as part of a political agreement between the ruling KDP–PUK coalition.
Move to opposition
In September 2017, Salih announced that he was leaving the PUK and forming a new opposition party, the Coalition for Democracy and Justice, to compete in the forthcoming Iraqi Kurdistan elections. Following the death of PUK leader Jalal Talabani and the Kurdish opposition leader Nawshirwan Mustafa, the alliance was seen to have the potential to change the Kurdish political landscape. He said he hoped to gather all the other opposition parties, including Gorran and Komal, to challenge the governing KDP–PUK alliance.
President of Iraq
Salih condemned the 2019 Turkish offensive into north-eastern Syria, stating that it "will cause untold humanitarian suffering, empower terrorist groups. The world must unite to avert a catastrophe, promote political resolution to the rights of all Syrians, including Kurds, to peace, dignity and security".
In March 2019, Salih submitted the groundbreaking “Yazidi Female Survivors Law” to Parliament for review. The ground-breaking bill set forth a number of reparation measures for female Yazidi survivors of captivity. It was seen by the Yazidi leaders as an important step toward a secure future for the survivors, and so they could move on and rebuild their homes, which were destroyed by IS fighting. On March 1, 2021, Parliament passed the Yazidi [Female] Survivors Bill into law, and the law was welcomed by Nadia Murad as "an important first step in acknowledging the gender-based trauma of sexual violence and need for tangible redress."
On 26 December 2019, Salih submitted a letter of resignation after refusing to appoint Basra Governor Asaad Al Eidani as Prime Minister following the resignation of Adil Abdul-Mahdi, amid ongoing protests across the country. Salih stated that Al Eidani would not be approved by the demonstrators.
On 19 September 2018, the announcement that Barham Salih will be the PUK's candidate for the post of Iraqi president was greeted with anger by many on social media while others expressed hope that his international reputation and experience would bring a steady hand to tumultuous Baghdad. Some took to the social media platform to call Salih out for perceived opportunism, noting he had just recently been campaigning against PUK and KDP corruption.
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