Jalal Talabani

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Jalal Talabani
جلال حسام الدين نور الله طالباني
Meetings of Presidents participated in Nowruz with Ali Khamenei - Tehran, Iran (Cropped on Talabani).jpg
6th President of Iraq
In office
7 April 2005 – 24 July 2014
Acting: 7 April 2005 – 22 April 2006
Prime MinisterIbrahim al-Jaafari
Nouri al-Maliki
Vice PresidentAdil Abdul-Mahdi
Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer
Tariq al-Hashimi
Khodair al-Khozaei
Preceded bySaddam Hussein
Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer (Interim)
Succeeded byFuad Masum
President of the Governing Council of Kurdistan
In office
1 November 2003 – 30 November 2003
Preceded byAyad Allawi
Succeeded byAbdul Aziz al-Hakim
Leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
In office
1 April 1975 – 3 October 2017
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byKosrat Rasul Ali (Acting)
Personal details
Jalal Husamuddin Talabani[1]

Kelkan, Iraq
Died3 October 2017(2017-10-03) (aged 83)
Berlin, Germany
Cause of deathCerebral hemorrhage
Resting placeDabashan, Sulaymaniyah
Political partyKurdistan Democratic Party (1947–1975)
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (1975–2017)
Children2, Bafel and Qubad
Alma materUniversity of Baghdad

Jalal Talabani (Arabic: جلال طالبانيJalāl Ṭālabānī; 1933 – 3 October 2017)[2][3] was an Iraqi Kurdish politician who served as the sixth President of Iraq from 2006 to 2014, as well as the President of the Governing Council of Iraq. He was the first non-Arab president of Iraq.[4] He is known as Mam Jalal (uncle Jalal) in the Middle East.[5] The surname Talabani, like the name of the Afghan Taliban, originates from the arabic word 'talib', meaning 'student' or 'scholar'.

Talabani was the founder and secretary general of one of the main Kurdish political parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). He was a prominent member of the Interim Iraq Governing Council, which was established following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Talabani was an advocate for Kurdish rights and democracy in Iraq for more than 50 years. Apart from his native Kurdish, Talabani was fluent in Arabic, Persian, and English. He was also able to speak French to a good proficiency.

Early life and education

Talabani was born in Kelkan village.[5] of the Koysinjaq branch of the Talabani family. The Talabani lineage has produced many leading social figures including the poet Riza Talabani, his grandfather, Abd al-Karim Qasim prime minister (1958–1963) and former National Democratic Party's member Hasan Talabani and Mukarram Talabani, a prominent member of the Communist party.[6]

Talabani received his elementary and intermediate school education in Koya (Koysanjak) and his high school education in Erbil and Kirkuk.[7] When he was in his teens, Talabani's peers began referring to him as "Mam" Jalal, as 'mam' meaning "paternal uncle" in Kurdish, and the Kurds have called him by this affectionate name ever since.[8] In 1957, during the final year of his studies for a degree in law at Baghdad University, he was expelled because of his political activities.[9]


Rights for Kurds

When in September 1961, the Kurdish uprising for the rights of the Kurds in northern Iraq was declared against the Baghdad government of Abdul Karim Qassem, Talabani took charge of the Kirkuk and Silemani battle fronts and organized and led separatist movements in Mawat, Rezan and the Karadagh regions.[10] In March 1962, he led a coordinated offensive that brought about the liberation of the district of Sharbazher from Iraqi government forces.[11] When not engaged in fighting in the early and mid-1960s, Talabani undertook numerous diplomatic missions, representing the Kurdish leadership at meetings in Europe and the Middle East.[10]

The Kurdish separatist movement collapsed in March 1975, after Iran ended their support in exchange for a border agreement with Iraq.[12] This agreement was the 1975 Algiers Agreement, where Iraq gave up claims to the Shatt al-Arab (Arvand Rūd) waterway and Khuzestan, which later became the basis for the Iran–Iraq War.[10] Believing it was time to give a new direction to the Kurdish separatists and to the Kurdish society, Talabani, with a group of Kurdish intellectuals and activists, founded the Kurdish Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (Yekiaiti Nishtimani Kurdistan).[7]

In 1976, he began organizing an armed campaign for Kurdish independence inside Iraqi Kurdistan.[13] During the 1980s, Talabani sided with Iran and led a Kurdish struggle from bases inside Iraq until the crackdown against Kurdish separatists from 1987 to 1988.[13]

In 1991, he helped inspire a renewed effort for Kurdish independence.[7] He negotiated a ceasefire with the Iraqi Ba'athist government that saved the lives of many Kurds and worked closely with the United States, United Kingdom, France and other countries to set up the safe haven in Iraqi Kurdistan.[14] In 1992 the Kurdistan Regional Government was founded.[15]

Talabani pursued a negotiated settlement to the Iraqi Kurdish Civil War, as well as the larger issue of Kurdish rights in the current regional context.[14] He worked closely with other Kurdish politicians as well as the rest of the Iraqi opposition factions.[15] In close coordination with Masoud Barzani, Talabani and the Kurds played a key role as a partner of the U.S. led Coalition in the invasion of Iraq.[14]

Talabani was a member of the Iraqi Governing Council which negotiated the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), Iraq's interim constitution.[11] The TAL governed all politics in Iraq and the process of writing and adopting the final constitution.[13]


Jalal Talabani with U.S. President Barack Obama during a visit to Camp Victory, Iraq, 7 April 2009.
Talabani between U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki, 2011

Talabani was elected President of Iraq on April 6, 2005, by the Iraqi National Assembly and sworn into office the following day.[16]

On 22 April 2006, Talabani began his second term as President of Iraq, becoming the first President elected under the country's new constitution.[11] His office was part of the Presidency Council of Iraq.[7] Nawshirwan Mustafa was Talabani's deputy until Mustafa resigned in 2006 and formed an opposition party called Gorran.[11]

He supported Barzani's extended presidency of the Kurdistan Region post-2013.[5]

Personal life

Talabani was married to Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, daughter of Ibrahim Ahmed.[17] He has two sons, Bafel and Qubad. Qubad controversially is the deputy Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil.

Health and death

On 18 December 2012, Talabani suffered a stroke and was in intensive care in Baghdad, where his condition eventually stabilized after reports that he was in a coma.[18] A statement on the President's official website said that he was being treated for blocked arteries.[19][20] On 20 December, Talabani's condition had improved enough to allow travel to Germany for treatment.[21][22] The head of Talabani's medical team in Iraq has been Governor Najmiddin Karim.[23][24] On 19 July 2014, Jalal Talabani returned to Iraq after more than 18 months of medical treatment.[25] Due to his absence from politics, as a result of his illness, the PUK became consumed by a succession crisis.[5]

Jalal Talabani died on 3 October 2017, at the age of 83, in Berlin, Germany, of a cerebral hemorrhage as complications of the stroke he suffered in 2012.[26][7] Masoud Barzani, President of Kurdistan Regional Government and for years his Kurdish rival,[5] announced seven days of mourning in Iraqi Kurdistan in memory of Talabani.[27] Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also announced three days of mourning in the country.[28] His state funeral was held on 6 October 2017.[29][30] Millions turned out across the cities and memorials were held across the globe.


  1. ^ "Index Ta-Ti".
  2. ^ "You are being redirected..."
  3. ^ McDonald, Mark (3 October 2017). "Jalal Talabani, Kurdish Leader and Iraq's First Postwar President, Is Dead at 83" – via
  4. ^ "Iraq's president appoints Shiite as prime minister". 2009-04-21. Retrieved 8 April 2005.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Jalal Talabani's mediating skills will be much missed". The Economist. 5 October 2017.
  6. ^ although they were not closely related with Jalal Talabani, cf. Martin van Bruinessen, ‘The Qâdiriyya and the lineages of Qâdirî shaykhs among the Kurds’, in: Thierry Zarcone, Ekrem Işın an Arthur Buehler (eds), The Qadiriyya Order, Journal of the History of Sufism (special issue) 1–2 (2000), pp. 131–149
  7. ^ a b c d e "Jalal Talabani, Kurdish Leader and Iraq's First Postwar President, Is Dead at 83". The New York Times. 3 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Veteran Iraqi Leader Jalal Talabani Dies". BBC News. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  9. ^ "An Iranian Kurd is a president of Iraq". 3 February 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  10. ^ a b c "Iraq's first non-Arab president, Jalal Talabani, has died". CNN. 3 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d "As Kurdish Leader And Iraqi President, Jalal Talabani Brought People Together". NPR. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Iraq's 1st post-Saddam president, Jalal Talabani, Dies at 83". CBS News. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  13. ^ a b c "Iraq's former President Jalal Talabani Dies at 83". Financial Times. 3 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  14. ^ a b c "The Kurds: A Divided Future?". Joost Hiltermann. The New York Review of Books. 2016-05-19. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  15. ^ a b "Iraq's unifying President, Jalal Talabani, Dies at 83". The Washington Post. 3 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  16. ^ Turner, B. (7 February 2017). The Statesman's Yearbook 2006: The Politics, Cultures and Economies of the World. Springer. p. 911. ISBN 9780230271340. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Iraqi first lady survives bombing". BBC News. 2008-05-04. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
  18. ^ "Iraqi President Jalal Talabani 'in coma after stroke'". BBC News. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  19. ^ Adam Schreck and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (18 December 2012). "Jalal Talabani, Iraq President, Suffers Stroke". AP via Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  20. ^ "Iraq President Talabani stable after stroke". Al Jazeera English. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  21. ^ "Iraq's Jalal Talabani arrives in Germany for treatment". BBC News. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  22. ^ "Iraq's President Talabani leaves for treatment in Germany after stroke". NBC News. Reuters. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2012.
  23. ^ Anatolia News Agency (17 May 2013). "Iraq Presidential Office publishes pictures showing ailing Jalal Talabani recovering from stroke". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  24. ^ Alas, it may make little difference: The incumbent prime minister holds on like grim death,
  25. ^ Zanko Ahmad (24 July 2014). "Mourning The Magic Man — Ex-President Talabani Returns To Iraq Diminished". Niqash. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  26. ^ George, Susannah (3 October 2017). "Kurdish officials: Iraqi ex-President Jalal Talabani dies". The Washington Post. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  27. ^ "Barzani announces 7 days mourning over passing away of Mam Jalal". 4 October 2017.
  28. ^ "Abadi Announces Three Days of Mourning in Iraq after Talabani's Demise". 4 October 2017.
  29. ^ "Jalal Talabani laid to rest in Sulaimaniyah funeral". Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  30. ^ "Thousands attend Talabani funeral in Iraq". 6 October 2017. Retrieved 3 April 2018 – via

External links

Party political offices
New office Leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan
Succeeded by
Kosrat Rasul Ali
Political offices
Preceded by
Ayad Allawi
President of the Governing Council of Iraq
Succeeded by
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim
Preceded by
Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer
President of Iraq
Succeeded by
Fuad Masum
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