Barham Salih

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I'm realistic, but at the same time, I'm optimistic.

Barham Ahmad Salih (born 12 July 1960) is a Kurdish Iraqi politician who has been served as the president of Iraq from October 2018 to October 2022.


  • Leave Saddam in power? So that he would be free to continue killing, free to invade his neighbors, so that he would be free to — I am sorry — develop nuclear weapons? No.
    • As quoted in "Regrets Only?" (7 October 2007), by Dexter Filkins, The New York Times Magazine




  • I'm realistic, but at the same time, I'm optimistic. I believe we can overcome the problems. I do not shrink from the level of interest and political economy of the violence that has been caused by successive crises over the past ten years. These interests have prevented the progress of Iraq and the welfare of the citizens, but I am optimistic to the children of the country that they will understand the depth of the problems.
  • Is the Iraqi state succeeding? I think there are some prospects for this country to be moving in the right direction. But the legacies of the past, the problems are really, really monumental... We need to deliver. Otherwise we will not be able to justify what we do in the eyes of our public. And public opinion does matter in Iraq. People speak their minds. People are engaged, are interested... Life is coming back... Every time I go out of the presidential palace in Baghdad — and I do try to go out as often as I can — I do see normalcy coming back, more and more. I do think there is a window of opportunity — it should be cherished. We’ve not had it like this for a long, long time... It’s precious, but precarious.