Jaafari, Ibrahim al- (ēbrähēmˈ äl-jäˈfärē) [key], 1947–, Iraqi political leader, b. Karbala as Ibrahim al-Ashaiqer. A Shiite, a physician, and the leader of the Dawa religious party, he fled Iraq in 1980 when Saddam Hussein began exterminating Dawa party members. In exile in Iran he forged close ties with Iranian leaders, and later in England he was Dawa's head and spokesman. Returning home shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2003, he became a member of the American-backed governing council and in 2004 was appointed one of the country's two vice presidents. Al-Jaafari, who was seen as a unifying figure, led his party into the United Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of Shiite political groups, and following the elections of 2005 became prime minister of the transitional government. After new elections at the end of 2005 he was again the Shiite coalition choice for prime minister, but the Kurd and Sunni parties objected to him and after weeks of deadlock he agreed to step aside in favor of Nuri al-Maliki. In 2010 he led the National Iraqi Alliance coalition to third place in the parliamentary elections.