The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Iraq

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This page contains a list of the greatest Iraqi Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,577 Politicians, 195 of which were born in Iraq. This makes Iraq the birth place of the 16th most number of Politicians behind Austria, and Egypt.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Iraqi Politicians of all time. This list of famous Iraqi Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Iraqi Politicians.

Photo of Saladin

1. Saladin (1138 - 1193)

With an HPI of 89.39, Saladin is the most famous Iraqi Politician.  His biography has been translated into 136 different languages on wikipedia.

Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub (c. 1137 – 4 March 1193), commonly known as Saladin, was the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. Hailing from a Kurdish family, he was the first sultan of both Egypt and Syria. An important figure of the Third Crusade, he spearheaded the Muslim military effort against the Crusader states in the Levant. At the height of his power, the Ayyubid realm spanned Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia, the Hejaz, Yemen, and Nubia. Alongside his uncle Shirkuh, a general of the Zengid dynasty, Saladin was sent to Fatimid Egypt in 1164, on the orders of the Zengid ruler Nur ad-Din. With their original purpose being to help restore Shawar as the vizier to the teenage Fatimid caliph al-Adid, a power struggle ensued between Shirkuh and Shawar after the latter was reinstated. Saladin, meanwhile, climbed the ranks of the Fatimid government by virtue of his military successes against Crusader assaults as well as his personal closeness to al-Adid. After Shawar was assassinated and Shirkuh died in 1169, al-Adid appointed Saladin as vizier. During his tenure, Saladin, a Sunni Muslim, began to undermine the Fatimid establishment; following al-Adid's death in 1171, he abolished the Cairo-based Isma'ili Shia Muslim Fatimid Caliphate and realigned Egypt with the Baghdad-based Sunni Abbasid Caliphate. In the following years, he led forays against the Crusaders in Palestine, commissioned the successful conquest of Yemen, and staved off pro-Fatimid rebellions in Egypt. Not long after Nur ad-Din's death in 1174, Saladin launched his conquest of Syria, peacefully entering Damascus at the request of its governor. By mid-1175, Saladin had conquered Hama and Homs, inviting the animosity of other Zengid lords, who were the official rulers of Syria's principalities; he subsequently defeated the Zengids at the Battle of the Horns of Hama in 1175, and was thereafter proclaimed the 'Sultan of Egypt and Syria' by the Abbasid caliph al-Mustadi. Saladin launched further conquests in northern Syria and Upper Mesopotamia, escaping two attempts on his life by the Assassins, before returning to Egypt in 1177 to address local issues there. By 1182, Saladin had completed the conquest of Islamic Syria after capturing Aleppo, but failed to take over the Zengid stronghold of Mosul. Under Saladin's command, the Ayyubid army defeated the Crusaders at the decisive Battle of Hattin in 1187, capturing Jerusalem and re-establishing Muslim military dominance in the Levant. Although the Crusaders' Kingdom of Jerusalem persisted until the late 13th century, the defeat in 1187 marked a turning point in the Christian military effort against Muslim powers in the region. Saladin died in Damascus in 1193, having given away much of his personal wealth to his subjects; he is buried in a mausoleum adjacent to the Umayyad Mosque. Alongside his significance to Muslim culture, Saladin is revered prominently in Kurdish, Turkic, and Arab culture. He has frequently been described as the most famous Kurdish figure in history.

Photo of Hammurabi

2. Hammurabi (-1810 - -1750)

With an HPI of 85.43, Hammurabi is the 2nd most famous Iraqi Politician.  His biography has been translated into 107 different languages.

Hammurabi (; Akkadian: 𒄩𒄠𒈬𒊏𒁉 Ḫâmmurapi; c. 1810 – c. 1750 BC), also spelled Hammurapi, was the sixth Amorite king of the Old Babylonian Empire, reigning from c. 1792 to c. 1750 BC. He was preceded by his father, Sin-Muballit, who abdicated due to failing health. During his reign, he conquered the city-states of Larsa, Eshnunna, and Mari. He ousted Ishme-Dagan I, the king of Assyria, and forced his son Mut-Ashkur to pay tribute, bringing almost all of Mesopotamia under Babylonian rule. Hammurabi is best known for having issued the Code of Hammurabi, which he claimed to have received from Shamash, the Babylonian god of justice. Unlike earlier Sumerian law codes, such as the Code of Ur-Nammu, which had focused on compensating the victim of the crime, the Law of Hammurabi was one of the first law codes to place greater emphasis on the physical punishment of the perpetrator. It prescribed specific penalties for each crime and is among the first codes to establish the presumption of innocence. They were intended to limit what a wronged person was permitted to do in retribution. The Code of Hammurabi and the Law of Moses in the Torah contain numerous similarities. Hammurabi was seen by many as a god within his own lifetime. After his death, Hammurabi was revered as a great conqueror who spread civilization and forced all peoples to pay obeisance to Marduk, the national god of the Babylonians. Later, his military accomplishments became de-emphasized and his role as the ideal lawgiver became the primary aspect of his legacy. For later Mesopotamians, Hammurabi's reign became the frame of reference for all events occurring in the distant past. Even after the empire he built collapsed, he was still revered as a model ruler, and many kings across the Near East claimed him as an ancestor. Hammurabi was rediscovered by archaeologists in the late nineteenth century and has since been seen as an important figure in the history of law.

Photo of Saddam Hussein

3. Saddam Hussein (1937 - 2006)

With an HPI of 84.38, Saddam Hussein is the 3rd most famous Iraqi Politician.  His biography has been translated into 128 different languages.

Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (28 April 1937 – 30 December 2006) was an Iraqi politician and revolutionary who served as the fifth president of Iraq from 1979 to 2003. He also served as prime minister of Iraq from 1979 to 1991 and later from 1994 to 2003. He was a leading member of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party and later the Baghdad-based Ba'ath Party and its regional organization, the Iraqi Ba'ath Party, which espoused Ba'athism, a mix of Arab nationalism and Arab socialism. Saddam was born in the village of Al-Awja, near Tikrit in northern Iraq, to a peasant Sunni Arab family. He joined the Ba'ath Party in 1957, and later in 1966 the Iraqi and Baghdad-based Ba'ath parties. He played a key role in the 17 July Revolution and was appointed vice president of Iraq by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. During his time as vice president, Saddam nationalised the Iraq Petroleum Company, diversifying the Iraqi economy. He presided over the Second Iraqi–Kurdish War (1974–1975). Following al-Bakr's resignation in 1979, Saddam formally took power, although he had already been the de facto head of Iraq for several years. Positions of power in the country were mostly filled with Sunni Arabs, a minority that made up about a fifth of the population. Upon taking office, Saddam instituted the Ba'ath Party Purge. Saddam ordered the 1980 invasion of Iran in a purported effort to capture Iran's Arab-majority Khuzistan province and thwart Iranian attempts to export their own 1979 revolution. The Iran–Iraq War ended after nearly eight years in a ceasefire after a gruelling stalemate that cost somewhere around a million lives and economic losses of $561 billion in Iraq. At the end of the war, he carried out the brutal Anfal campaign against Kurds, recognized by Human Rights Watch as an act of genocide. Later, Saddam accused its ally Kuwait of slant-drilling the oil reserves in Iraq and occupied Kuwait, initiating the Gulf War (1990–1991). Iraq was defeated by a multinational coalition led by the United States. The United Nations subsequently placed sanctions against Iraq. Saddam suppressed the 1991 Iraqi uprisings of the Kurds and Shia Muslims, which sought to gain independence or overthrow the government. Saddam adopted an anti-American stance and established the Faith Campaign, pursuing an Islamist agenda in Iraq. Saddam's rule was marked by numerous human rights abuses, including an estimated 250,000 arbitrary deaths and disappearances. In 2003, the United States and its coalition of allies invaded Iraq, falsely accusing Saddam of developing weapons of mass destruction and of having ties with al-Qaeda. The Ba'ath Party was banned and Saddam went into hiding. After his capture on 13 December 2003, his trial took place under the Iraqi Interim Government. On 5 November 2006, Saddam was convicted by the Iraqi High Tribunal of crimes against humanity related to the 1982 killing of 148 Iraqi Shi'a and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on 30 December 2006. Saddam has been accused of running a repressive authoritarian government, which several analysts have described as totalitarian, although the applicability of that label has been contested.

Photo of Sargon of Akkad

4. Sargon of Akkad (-2300 - -2215)

With an HPI of 83.30, Sargon of Akkad is the 4th most famous Iraqi Politician.  His biography has been translated into 76 different languages.

Sargon of Akkad (; Akkadian: 𒊬𒊒𒄀, romanized: Šarrugi), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire, known for his conquests of the Sumerian city-states in the 24th to 23rd centuries BC. He is sometimes identified as the first person in recorded history to rule over an empire. He was the founder of the "Sargonic" or "Old Akkadian" dynasty, which ruled for about a century after his death until the Gutian conquest of Sumer. The Sumerian King List makes him the cup-bearer to King Ur-Zababa of Kish. His empire is thought to have included most of Mesopotamia, parts of the Levant, and incursions into Hurrian and Elamite territory, ruling from his (archaeologically as yet unidentified) capital, Akkad. Sargon appears as a legendary figure in Neo-Assyrian literature of the 8th to 7th centuries BC. Tablets with fragments of a Sargon Birth Legend were found in the Library of Ashurbanipal.

Photo of Nebuchadnezzar II

5. Nebuchadnezzar II (-630 - -562)

With an HPI of 82.08, Nebuchadnezzar II is the 5th most famous Iraqi Politician.  His biography has been translated into 88 different languages.

Nebuchadnezzar II (; Babylonian cuneiform: Nabû-kudurri-uṣur, meaning "Nabu, watch over my heir"; Biblical Hebrew: נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר‎ Nəḇūḵaḏneʾṣṣar), also spelled Nebuchadrezzar II, was the second king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling from the death of his father Nabopolassar in 605 BC to his own death in 562 BC. Historically known as Nebuchadnezzar the Great, he is typically regarded as the empire's greatest king. Nebuchadnezzar remains famous for his military campaigns in the Levant, for his construction projects in his capital, Babylon, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and for the role he plays in Jewish history. Ruling for 43 years, Nebuchadnezzar was the longest-reigning king of the Babylonian dynasty. By the time of his death, he was among the most powerful rulers in the world. Possibly named after his grandfather of the same name, or after Nebuchadnezzar I (r. c. 1125–1104 BC), one of Babylon's greatest ancient warrior-kings, Nebuchadnezzar II already secured renown for himself during his father's reign, leading armies in the Medo-Babylonian conquest of the Assyrian Empire. At the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar inflicted a crushing defeat on an Egyptian army led by Pharaoh Necho II, and ensured that the Neo-Babylonian Empire would succeed the Neo-Assyrian Empire as the dominant power in the ancient Near East. Shortly after this victory, Nabopolassar died and Nebuchadnezzar became king. Despite his successful military career during his father's reign, the first third or so of Nebuchadnezzar's reign saw little to no major military achievements, and notably a disastrous failure in an attempted invasion of Egypt. These years of lackluster military performance saw some of Babylon's vassals, particularly in the Levant, beginning to doubt Babylon's power, viewing the Neo-Babylonian Empire as a "paper tiger" rather than a power truly on the level of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The situation grew so severe that people in Babylonia itself began disobeying the king, some going as far as to revolt against Nebuchadnezzar's rule. After this disappointing early period as king, Nebuchadnezzar's luck turned. In the 580s BC, Nebuchadnezzar engaged in a successful string of military actions in the Levant against the vassal states in rebellion there, likely with the ultimate intent of curbing Egyptian influence in the region. In 587 BC, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Kingdom of Judah, and its capital, Jerusalem. The destruction of Jerusalem led to the Babylonian captivity as the city's population, and people from the surrounding lands, were deported to Babylonia. The Jews thereafter referred to Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest enemy they had faced until that point, as a "destroyer of nations" (משחית גוים, Jer. 4:7). The biblical Book of Jeremiah paints Nebuchadnezzar as a cruel enemy, but also as God's appointed ruler of the world and a divine instrument to punish disobedience. Through the destruction of Jerusalem, the capture of the rebellious Phoenician city of Tyre, and other campaigns in the Levant, Nebuchadnezzar completed the Neo-Babylonian Empire's transformation into the new great power of the ancient Near East. In addition to his military campaigns, Nebuchadnezzar is remembered as a great builder king. The prosperity ensured by his wars allowed Nebuchadnezzar to conduct great building projects in Babylon, and elsewhere in Mesopotamia. The modern image of Babylon is largely of the city as it was after Nebuchadnezzar's projects, during which he, among other work, rebuilt many of the city's religious buildings, including the Esagila and Etemenanki, renovated its existing palace, constructed a brand new palace, and beautified its ceremonial centre through renovations to the city's Processional Street and the Ishtar Gate. As most of Nebuchadnezzar's inscriptions deal with his building projects, rather than military accomplishments, he was for a time seen by historians mostly as a builder, rather than a warrior.

Photo of Sennacherib

6. Sennacherib (-740 - -681)

With an HPI of 77.36, Sennacherib is the 6th most famous Iraqi Politician.  His biography has been translated into 57 different languages.

Sennacherib (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: Sîn-ahhī-erība or Sîn-aḥḥē-erība, meaning "Sîn has replaced the brothers") was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from the death of his father Sargon II in 705 BC to his own death in 681 BC. The second king of the Sargonid dynasty, Sennacherib is one of the most famous Assyrian kings for the role he plays in the Hebrew Bible, which describes his campaign in the Levant. Other events of his reign include his destruction of the city of Babylon in 689 BC and his renovation and expansion of the last great Assyrian capital, Nineveh. Although Sennacherib was one of the most powerful and wide-ranging Assyrian kings, he faced considerable difficulty in controlling Babylonia, which formed the southern portion of his empire. Many of Sennacherib's Babylonian troubles stemmed from the Chaldean tribal chief Marduk-apla-iddina II, who had been Babylon's king until Sennacherib's father defeated him. Shortly after Sennacherib inherited the throne in 705 BC, Marduk-apla-iddina retook Babylon and allied with the Elamites. Though Sennacherib reclaimed the south in 700 BC, Marduk-apla-iddina continued to trouble him, probably instigating Assyrian vassals in the Levant to rebel, leading to the Levantine War of 701 BC, and himself warring against Bel-ibni, Sennacherib's vassal king in Babylonia. After the Babylonians and Elamites captured and executed Sennacherib's eldest son Aššur-nādin-šumi, whom Sennacherib had proclaimed as his new vassal king in Babylon, Sennacherib campaigned in both regions, subduing Elam. Because Babylon, well within his own territory, had been the target of most of his military campaigns and had caused the death of his son, he destroyed the city in 689 BC. In the Levantine War, the states in the southern Levant, especially the Kingdom of Judah under King Hezekiah, were not subdued as easily as those in the north. The Assyrians thus invaded Judah. Though the biblical narrative holds that divine intervention by an angel ended the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem by destroying the Assyrian army, an outright defeat is unlikely as Hezekiah submitted to Sennacherib at the end of the campaign. Contemporary records, even those written by Assyria's enemies, do not mention the Assyrians being defeated at Jerusalem. Sennacherib transferred the capital of Assyria to Nineveh, where he had spent most of his time as crown prince. To transform Nineveh into a capital worthy of his empire, he launched one of the most ambitious building projects in ancient history. He expanded the size of the city and constructed great city walls, numerous temples and a royal garden. His most famous work in the city is the Southwest Palace, which Sennacherib named his "Palace without Rival". After the death of his eldest son and crown prince Aššur-nādin-šumi, Sennacherib originally designated his second son Arda-Mulissu heir. He later replaced him with a younger son, Esarhaddon, in 684 BC, for unknown reasons. Sennacherib ignored Arda-Mulissu's repeated appeals to be reinstated as heir, and in 681 BC, Arda-Mulissu and his brother Nabu-shar-usur murdered Sennacherib, hoping to seize power for themselves. Babylonia and the Levant welcomed his death as divine punishment, while the Assyrian heartland probably reacted with resentment and horror. Arda-Mulissu's coronation was postponed, and Esarhaddon raised an army and seized Nineveh, installing himself as king as intended by Sennacherib.

Photo of Ashurbanipal

7. Ashurbanipal (-685 - -627)

With an HPI of 76.76, Ashurbanipal is the 7th most famous Iraqi Politician.  His biography has been translated into 70 different languages.

Ashurbanipal (Neo-Assyrian cuneiform: Aššur-bāni-apli, meaning "Ashur is the creator of the heir") was the king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 669 BC to his death in 631. He is generally remembered as the last great king of Assyria. Ashurbanipal inherited the throne as the favored heir of his father Esarhaddon; his 38-year reign was among the longest of any Assyrian king. Though sometimes regarded as the apogee of ancient Assyria, his reign also marked the last time Assyrian armies waged war throughout the ancient Near East and the beginning of the end of Assyrian dominion over the region. Esarhaddon selected Ashurbanipal as heir c. 673. The selection of Ashurbanipal bypassed the elder son Shamash-shum-ukin. Perhaps in order to avoid future rivalry, Esarhaddon designated Shamash-shum-ukin as the heir to Babylonia. The two brothers jointly acceded to their respective thrones after Esarhaddon's death in 669, though Shamash-shum-ukin was relegated to being Ashurbanipal's closely monitored vassal. Much of the early years of Ashurbanipal's reign was spent fighting rebellions in Egypt, which had been conquered by his father. The most extensive campaigns of Ashurbanipal were those directed towards Elam, an ancient enemy of Assyria, and against Shamash-shum-ukin, who gradually began to resent the overbearing control that his younger brother held over him. Elam was defeated in a series of conflicts in 665, 653 and 647–646. Shamash-shum-ukin rebelled in 652 and assembled a coalition of Assyria's enemies but was defeated and died during Ashurbanipal's siege of Babylon in 648. On account of a lack of surviving records, much of Ashurbanipal's late reign is poorly known. Ashurbanipal is chiefly remembered today for his cultural efforts. A patron of artwork and literature, Ashurbanipal was deeply interested in the ancient literary culture of Mesopotamia. Over the course of his long reign, Ashurbanipal utilized the massive resources at his disposal to construct the Library of Ashurbanipal, a collection of texts and documents of various different genres. Perhaps comprising over 100,000 texts at its height, the Library of Ashurbanipal was not surpassed until the construction of the Library of Alexandria, several centuries later. The more than 30,000 cuneiform texts that have survived from the library are a highly important source on ancient Mesopotamian language, religion, literature and science. Artwork produced under Ashurbanipal was innovative in style and motifs and is regarded to possess an "epic quality" otherwise absent from much of the art produced under previous kings. Ashurbanipal is recognized as one of the most brutal Assyrian kings; he was one of the few rulers to boast of his gory massacres of rebellious civilians. His extensive destruction of Elam is regarded by some scholars as a genocide. The Assyrians won many battles under Ashurbanipal, campaigning further from the Assyrian heartland than ever before, but several of his campaigns achieved little strategic advantage. Ashurbanipal failed to maintain control of Egypt, and his wars in Arabia cost time and resources without establishing longterm Assyrian control. His extensive sack of Babylon after defeating Shamash-shum-ukin weakened the resources of the empire and fanned anti-Assyrian sentiment in southern Mesopotamia, perhaps contributing to the rise of the Neo-Babylonian Empire five years after Ashurbanipal's death. Whether Ashurbanipal's policies led to the fall of the Assyrian Empire only two decades after his death is disputed in modern Assyriology. A distorted legend of Ashurbanipal was remembered in Greco-Roman literary tradition under the name Sardanapalus, purportedly the effeminate and decadent last king of Assyria whose vices led to the fall of his empire.

Photo of Nur ad-Din

8. Nur ad-Din (1116 - 1174)

With an HPI of 73.81, Nur ad-Din is the 8th most famous Iraqi Politician.  His biography has been translated into 42 different languages.

Nūr al-Dīn Maḥmūd Zengī (نور الدين محمود زنگي; February 1118 – 15 May 1174), commonly known as Nur ad-Din (lit. 'Light of the Faith' in Arabic), was a member of the Zengid dynasty, who ruled the Syrian province (Shām) of the Seljuk Empire. He reigned from 1146 to 1174. He is regarded as an important figure of the Second Crusade.

Photo of Nebuchadnezzar I

9. Nebuchadnezzar I (-1200 - -1104)

With an HPI of 72.69, Nebuchadnezzar I is the 9th most famous Iraqi Politician.  His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.

Nebuchadnezzar I (), reigned c. 1121–1100 BC, was the fourth king of the Second Dynasty of Isin and Fourth Dynasty of Babylon. He ruled for 22 years according to the Babylonian King List C, and was the most prominent monarch of this dynasty. He is best known for his victory over Elam and the recovery of the cultic idol of Marduk.

Photo of Alexander IV of Macedon

10. Alexander IV of Macedon (-323 - -309)

With an HPI of 72.45, Alexander IV of Macedon is the 10th most famous Iraqi Politician.  His biography has been translated into 51 different languages.

Alexander IV (Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος; 323/322– 309 BC), sometimes erroneously called Aegus in modern times, was the son of Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) and Princess Roxana of Bactria.

People

Pantheon has 207 people classified as Iraqi politicians born between 2850 BC and 1976. Of these 207, 28 (13.53%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Iraqi politicians include Fuad Masum, Abdul Latif Rashid, and Sajida Talfah. The most famous deceased Iraqi politicians include Saladin, Hammurabi, and Saddam Hussein. As of April 2024, 8 new Iraqi politicians have been added to Pantheon including Abdul Latif Rashid, Sayf al-Din Ghazi I, and Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani.

Living Iraqi Politicians

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Deceased Iraqi Politicians

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Newly Added Iraqi Politicians (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.