Mustafa Al-Kadhimi

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Mustafa Al-Kadhimi
مصطفى الكاظمي
Al-Kadhimi in 2020
Prime Minister of Iraq
In office
7 May 2020 – 27 October 2022
PresidentBarham Salih
Preceded byAdil Abdul-Mahdi
Succeeded byMohammed Shia' Al Sudani
Minister of Foreign Affairs
12 May 2020 – 6 June 2020
Prime MinisterHimself
Preceded byMohamed Ali Alhakim
Succeeded byFuad Hussein
Director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service
In office
7 June 2016 – 7 May 2020
Prime MinisterHaider al-Abadi|Adil Abdul-Mahdi
Preceded byZuheir Fadel Abbas Ghirbawi
Personal details
Mustafa Abdul Latif Mishatat

(1967-07-05) 5 July 1967 (age 56)[1][2]
Baghdad, First Iraqi Republic
Political partyIndependent
Residence(s)Republican Palace, Baghdad
Alma materHeritage University (LLB)
  • Politician
  • diplomat
  • bureaucrat
  • journalist
  • documentalist

Mustafa Abdul Latif Mishatat (Arabic: مصطفى عبد اللطيف مشتت; born 5 July 1967),[1][2] known as Mustafa al-Kadhimi, alternatively spelt Mustafa al-Kadhimy, is an Iraqi politician, lawyer and bureaucrat and former intelligence officer who served as the Prime Minister of Iraq from May 2020 to October 2022.[3] He previously served as columnist for several news outlets and the Director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service,[4] originally appointed in June 2016.[5] He briefly served as Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs in an acting capacity in 2020. The latter part of his tenure closely followed the 2022 Iraqi political crisis.


Al-Kadhimi was born in Baghdad in 1967 to Abdul Latif, who was born in Al-Shatra, a town in southern Iraq, located northeast of Nasiriyah. He later migrated from Nasiriyah to Baghdad as a student.

Al-Kadhimi was a vocal opponent of the regime of Saddam Hussein.[6] He escaped Iraq in 1985 for Iran then Germany, before settling in the United Kingdom, and lived in exile for several years, eventually becoming a citizen of the UK.[2]

After the 2003 American-led invasion of Iraq, al-Kadhimi returned to Iraq and cofounded the Iraqi Media Network.[2]

He was a columnist and an editor of the Iraqi version of Al-Monitor[7][8] and contributed to various outlets. He has also published a number of books and studies.[6] Al-Kadhimi was also the senior editor of Iraq's Newsweek magazine for three years.[2]

Al-Khadhimi studied law at Al-Turath University, was responsible for reforming the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) to be more effective and to meet international standards. He oversaw ending the politicization of intelligence action, implementing advanced methods to intelligence gathering and analysis, and setting priorities to broaden the scope of the work of the National Intelligence Service.[9][10] Under his leadership, the agency expanded its remit, particularly in counter-terrorism, both internally and abroad, playing a vital role in Iraq's fight against the ISIL, also known as Daesh.[11][12] During his tenure, he established links with scores of countries and bureaus working within the US-led federation against ISIL.[2]

Prime Minister of Iraq[edit]

Al-Kadhimi with US President Donald Trump in 2020
Al-Kadhimi with US President Joe Biden in 2021

Following months of protests that broke out across Iraq in October 2019 and the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and his cabinet, Mustafa Al Kadhimi became a leading contender for the premiership.[13]

Al-Kadhimi and Haider al-Abadi went to Riyadh in 2017. Al-Kadhimi made headlines when he was seen in a long embrace with Mohammed bin Salman.[2]

On 9 April 2020, he was named by President Barham Salih as prime minister-designate, the third person tapped to lead the country in just 10 weeks as it struggled to replace a government that fell last year after months of protests. Kadhimi was nominated by President Barham Salih, state television reported, shortly after the previous designated prime minister, Adnan al-Zurfi, announced he was withdrawing having failed to secure enough support to pass a government.[14] After nearly six months of political negotiations, Iraq's parliament confirmed al-Kadhimi as Prime Minister of Iraq on 6 May 2020.[15] Before entering office, al-Kadhimi said his government would be a government that finds solutions to Iraq's many problems and not a crisis ridden government. He promised early elections and vowed Iraq would not be used as a battleground by other countries.[2] He assumed office on the heels of major upheavals in Iraq – large protests, falling oil prices, and the COVID-19 pandemic.[16]

Upon assuming power, al-Kadhimi promised to guide Iraq through a serious financial crisis, saying the state treasury was “nearly empty” after years of waste and declining oil prices. Al-Kadhimi's cabinet vowed to reduce public spending and audit salaries granted to millions of Iraqis but retracted the plan after public criticism. In August 2020, he hired hundreds of unemployed Iraqis at the Ministry of Defense, but not enough to halt sit-ins outside other public sector offices demanding jobs. He has few allies in government and parliament is heavily dominated by pro-Iran MPs who have balked at his references to protester demands. He has also struggled to fulfill his promise to bring the security forces to justice who were allegedly responsible for the deaths of nearly 600 protesters and activists since October 2019. In addition, al-Kadhimi pledged to investigate the recent murders of journalists and political activists that have increased in the past year, but no one has been brought to justice yet.[17]

Al-Khadhimi with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, 21 July 2020
Al-Kadhimi with the leaders of United States, the GGC, Egypt and Jordan at the GCC+3 summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 16 July 2022

In July 2021, al-Kadhimi and U.S. President Joe Biden sealed an agreement to end the U.S. combat mission in Iraq by the end of 2021.[18] Following his visit to the United States, Iraq reclaimed 17,000 artifacts, mostly looted by ISIS and sold to the Museum of the Bible that were recovered by US authorities.[19]


The prime minister has been criticized in failing to raise alarms when it was found that since September 2021, $2.5bn from the country's tax deposits were reported as missing, the allegations were made by the finance ministry under Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani. Investigators believed that the money were distributed to politicians and used for bribes and hush-money. Former Finance Minister Ali Allawi mentioned that "senior officials and corrupt businessmen siphon billion from the public purse". The large volumes traded caused the dinar to fall and property prices in posh areas in Baghdad to rise.[20] According to the Washington Post an anti-corruption drive under Mustafa al-Kadhimi used torture and sexual violence on detainees.[21]

Accusation for the deaths of Soleimani and al-Muhandis[edit]

Iran and its allied Fatah Alliance heavily opposed al-Kadhimi's appointment. In April 2020, Kata'ib Hezbollah, an shia-Iraqi militia with close links to Iran and ties to the Popular Mobilization Forces, published a statement that accused al-Kadhimi of being culpable for the deaths of its leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and charged him with working with the United States.[2] In the meantime, al-Kadhimi directed the Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) to investigate rocket attacks against the Green Zone in Baghdad, and promised to confront the disobedient Iranian supported paramilitaries.[22]

Assassination attempt[edit]

In the early hours of 7 November 2021, al-Kadhimi survived an assassination attempt via explosive drone, two drones were shot down by the army while the last one targeted his residence in the heavily fortified Green Zone district of Baghdad. The assassination attempt is suspected by many to be Iran’s response to Mustafa for his crackdown on Iranian supported militias and his strict policy of removing foreign influence in Iraq.[23]

On 8 November, a pair of anonymous regional officials and some (also anonymous) militia sources told Reuters that Iranian-backed militias were behind the attack, such as Kata'ib Hezbollah or Asaib Ahl al-Haq, also alleging that the weapons used by the perpetrators were made in Iran.[24]

According to experts, the assassination attempt came as a response to pro-Iranian parties losing seats in the 2021 Iraqi parliamentary election.[25]


  1. ^ a b "Is Mustafa Al-Kadhimi Sunni or Shiite?". Jannah News. 8 November 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Who is Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq's new prime minister?". Al Jazeera. 7 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Mustafa al-Kadhimi sworn in as prime minister of Iraq". Rudaw. 7 May 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  4. ^ "IMF". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Impersonating U.S. Intelligence Official, Oregon Man Wrote to Iraqi Prime Minister". KDRV News. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  6. ^ a b "IMF". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  7. ^ "Mustafa al-Kadhimi | Author | RealClearWorld". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Iraqi politicians focus on buying, not convincing voters – By Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Al-Monitor – Jordan Vista". Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Iraqi man sentenced for illegally using US insignia". Star Tribune.
  10. ^ "Iraq Gets a Government—and It Was Worth the Wait".
  11. ^ "Basnews".
  12. ^ Mamouri, Ali (3 December 2019). "Iraq on brink of abyss: What happens next?". Al-Monitor. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  13. ^ "Iraqi spy chief Mustafa Al Kadhimi rumoured to be prime ministerial contender". The National (Abu Dhabi). 29 December 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Iraq names its third prime minister in 10 weeks". Reuters. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  15. ^ Aldroubi, Mina (6 May 2020). "Iraqi Parliament confirms Mustafa Al Kadhimi as new Prime Minister". The National. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
  16. ^ "Iraq hospitals fear 'losing control' as coronavirus cases surge". Al Jazeera. 5 September 2020.
  17. ^ "Challenges in Iraq mount a year after anti-gov't protests erupted. The prime minister is seen by many as having an close relationship with the west and Saudi Arabia while being heavily opposed by Iran and Iranian-supported militias". Al Jazeera. 30 September 2020.
  18. ^ "Biden, Kadhimi seal agreement to end U.S. combat mission in Iraq". Reuters. 27 July 2021.
  19. ^ "Iraq Reclaims 17,000 Looted Artifacts, Its Biggest-Ever Repatriation". The New York Times. 3 August 2021.
  20. ^ "Iraq's new prime minister vows to clean up the country". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 16 December 2022.
  21. ^ "A U.S. ally in Iraq vowed to tackle corruption. Torture and extortion followed". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  22. ^ Marsin Alshamar (13 November 2020). "Six months into his premiership, what has Mustafa al-Kadhimi done for Iraq?".
  23. ^ Davison, John; Rasheed, Ahmed (7 November 2021). "Iraqi PM safe after drone attack on residence, military says". Reuters. Retrieved 7 November 2021.
  24. ^ "Iran-backed militia staged drone attack on Iraqi PM - officials". Reuters. 8 November 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  25. ^ "Iraqi PM al-Kadhimi survives drone attack on his home". BBC News. 7 November 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2021.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Zuheir Fadel Abbas al-Ghirbawi
Director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Prime Minister of Iraq
Succeeded by