Iraq is being led by an interim Cabinet. Following are brief descriptions of some of the people now in power:
Jalal Talabani: president
He attended Baghdad University, where he studied law and was leader of the KDP-affiliated Kurdistan Students Union. He also was a prominent member of the Interim Iraq Governing Council, set up after the United States' invasion of Iraq.
Born in Southern Kurdistan, he joined the Kurdish Democratic Party when he was 14 and was elected to the party's central committee in 1951.
Shaikh Gazi Alyawer: vice president
A Sunni, he trained as a civil engineer at Georgetown University and also was vice president of Hicap Technology Co. in Saudi Arabia until June 2003.
He was president of Iraq under the Iraqi Interim Government from 2004 to 2005. He also was a member of the Interim Iraq Governing Council set up after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He served as interim president of Iraq after the June 28 return of Iraqi sovereignty from the Coalition Provisional Authority.
Ibrahim al-Jafaari: prime minister, acting defense minister
Al-Jaafari, 57, whose real name is Ibrahim al-Shukair, is a senior figure in the Shiite Dawa Party (search), which ran one the main Iraqi armed groups trying to topple Saddam Hussein's Baath regime.
He fled Iraq in 1980 after a crackdown on the party. In Iran, he rose in the ranks of Dawa's political branch, while the group's militia was carrying out attacks on Iraq during the 1980-1988 Iraq-Iran war. Later he left for Syria and then to the United Kingdom. He returned to Iraq after Saddam's fall in 2003 and was a member of the U.S.-appointed Governing Council.
Educated as a physician at Mosul University, he worked as a doctor in his hometown of Karbala (search).
Ahmad Chalabi: deputy prime minister, acting oil minister
Chalabi, 60, an MIT graduate and mathematician, left Iraq with his family in 1958 and became one of the most visible faces of Iraqi opposition in exile, forming close ties with the Pentagon as he lobbied Washington to help topple Saddam Hussein. After Saddam's fall, he became a member of the Governing Council and was touted by some in Washington to become Iraq's next leader.
A secular Shiite, he fell out with the United States last year over accusations he leaked intelligence to Iran. Many also blamed him for flawed evidence on Saddam's alleged weapons of mass destruction program. Shunned by the Americans, he moved to build ties to Iraqi Shiites and made a political comeback. By joining the United Iraqi Alliance (search), led by Shiite cleric and ally Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim (search), he secured a seat in the new parliament.
Rousch Shaways: deputy prime minister, acting electricity minister
President of the Kurdistan National Assembly from 1999 to 2004, he trained in engineering in Germany. He also was a deputy prime minister of the Kurdish regional government from 1992. He was appointed deputy prime minister in April 2005, also serving as acting electricity minister.
Abed Mutlak al-Jiburi: deputy prime minister
A Sunni, he was an army major-general. His son, a militant, was killed burying an explosive device.
Saadoun al-Duleimi: defense minister
A Sunni, he studied sociology and social psychology at Baghdad University and also worked as a security officer in 1991.
Hoshyar Zibari: foreign minister
Zebari, 55, belongs to a powerful Kurdish tribe in northwest Iraq and is uncle of Massoud Barzani (search), one of the two leaders who control the Kurdish areas. (The other is Iraqi President Jalal Talabani (search).) He was a spokesman for Barzani's Kurdish Democratic Party (search), and, as a member of the KDP political bureau, was active in opposition contacts with the United States before the war. He has held the foreign minister's post since the first interim government was formed June 2004.
Bayan Jabr: interior minister
Jabr, 55, was a Shiite activist while studying engineering at Baghdad University in the 1970s. He fled to Iran amid a Saddam crackdown on Shiite political groups and joined the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). He later headed SCIRI's office in Syria. After Saddam's fall, he became minister of housing and reconstruction in the first, U.S-picked provisional cabinet. He is a senior member in the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance.
Ali Abdel-Amir Allawi: finance minister
Allawi, a wealthy businessman, was previously a consultant to the World Bank and heads a London-based investment company, Pan-Arab. He was elected to Parliament on the United Iraqi Alliance.
His uncle on his mother's side is Ahmad Chalabi. On his father's side, he is a cousin of outgoing interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi (search).
Ali Allawi, born in 1947, left Iraq to go Britain in 1956 and studied high school there. He graduated from M.I.T. in engineering and got an economics degree from Harvard. His father was health minister during Iraq's monarchy, which was overthrown in 1958.