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Ibrahim al-Jaafari Poised to Become Iraq’s Next Prime Minister

Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iraq's interim vice president, is poised to become the country's next prime minister after the United Iraqi Alliance, a Shiite coalition, nominated him. Kwame Holman provides background information on Iraq's next likely leader.

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  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    A former family doctor, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, likely will be Iraq's first prime minister. Al-Jaafari was nominated by the coalition that won the most seats in the Jan. 30 election, the United Iraqi Alliance. His main competitor, Ahmed Chalabi, dropped his bid for the post earlier today.

  • AHMED CHALABI:

    The United Iraqi Alliance unanimously chose Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari to be the prime minister of Iraq. We decided that unity is more important than winning, and we proceeded in this direction, and I think it is a great result for Iraq and for the alliance.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Today al-Jaafari took a hard line against insurgents.

  • IBRAHIM AL-JAAFARI (Translated):

    When affairs require us to use force for the interest of the country, we will use that. And if we see affairs going smoothly, we will not use force. And if those criminals insist on committing crimes, we will use force to deter them. There is no heavenly doctrine allowing such crimes to be committed. We should have deterrent force to stop such bloodshed.

  • KWAME HOLMAN:

    Ibrahim al-Jaafari is a Shiite and a member of the Dawa Party, one of Iraq's oldest Islamic Shiite movements. Saddam Hussein's regime crushed the party in a bloody campaign in the late 1970s. Al-Jaafari went into exile, first to Iran and then to Britain. After Hussein was ousted from power, al-Jaafari returned to Iraq. He became a member of the original governing council and served as its interim vice president.

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