Iraq’s President Names Iran-Backed Candidate as New PM-Designate

Intel Chief Is Third PM-Designate In 10 Weeks

Iraq continues to struggle with its premiership after the resignation of Adel Abdul Mahdi in December, but President Salih has continued to try to fill the post, naming Intelligence Chief Mustafa Khahdimi as the latest PM-designate charged with trying to form a government.

A split government and large anti-government protests make that a tall order, and Khadhimi is the third person charged with trying to put together a cabinet in the past 10 weeks, following Mohammed Allawi and Adnan Zurfi.

Iran issued a statement congratulating Khadhimi, suggesting he is a pro-Iran candidate. The US has yet to comment, but so far, no one has been palatable to both the US and Iran. Zurfi was a pro-US candidate, and Iran insisted he was unacceptable.

In the long run, any PM would be very temporary, just readying election laws for a new vote, but for now, even that seems to be a lofty goal for an Iraq that is struggling to get anything together resembling a stable government.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.