Nesreen Mustafa Berwari

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Nesreen Mustafa Berwari/Barwari was chosen as Minister of Municipalities & Public Works in the Iraqi Interim Government which assumed power June 30, 2004. She is also Iraq's former first lady, as she is married to Sheikh Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, the first president of the Iraqi Interim Government, currently serving as deputy president, and former president of the Iraqi Governing Council. [1]

Berwari was "minister of reconstruction and development for the Kurdistan Regional Government in Northern Iraq", which is led by the Kurdistan Democratic Party. She was also a "member of the economy and infrastructure working group at the U.S. State Department's Future of Iraq project. Berwari previously worked with the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Department of Humanitarian Affairs." She was "with the UN in liberated Kurdistan until 1998, when she was accepted as a Mason Fellow at the Kennedy School" at Harvard University. [2][3][4][5]

Berwari's name also appears as Nesreen Berwari and Nasreen Berawari.

Iraqi insurgency and the Iraqi national elections

Speaking June 6, 2004, at a "discussion on Iraq's scheduled election hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Berwari said "the 'enemies' of Iraq are pouring into the country across Iraq's porous borders to fight US soldiers."

"Berwari and fellow ministers expressed optimism that insurgents would not derail elections planned for January 30 [2005] for which some 200 groups have registered.

"'It's proven to be more challenging than what it was only because the groups that are against freedom in Iraq are multi-faced, well funded and definitely supported by external bodies and governments,' Berwari stressed."

"Berwari and the other ministers said security was the top priority overshadowing the planned election. ... Asked if US troop levels were adequate, Berwari replied: 'We would like to see more than 150,000 Iraqi forces trained and well equipped and empowered to take charge of the security, until that happens we will need multinational forces.' ... She declined to say when she thought American forces would be able to leave Iraq."

The Betrothal

On September 17, 2004, it was reported that "Baghdad is abuzz over the reported betrothal" of President Ghazi Yawer to Public Works Minister Nesreen Mustafa Berwari.

"But more interesting to Baghdadis than the fact that the President [is a Sunni and] already has two wives in Saudi Arabia is that Ms. Berwari is a Kurd, hailing from one of the Kurdish north's two dominant political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party or KDP.'"

"Yawer is a scion of the leader of Iraq's powerful Shamar tribe, which populates land from Syria to Kuwait. Some Iraqis say it's not the time for a president to be marrying, with bombs going off and Iraqis dying. But one Iraqi woman [said] maybe it has nothing to do with politics. 'Maybe they just fell in love despite themselves,' she said. 'Why not?'"

Berwari and al-Yawer are indeed married: "Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer was one of the first to vote [January 30, 2005] at election headquarters in the heavily fortified Green Zone, calling the action his country's first step 'toward joining the free world.' ... As poll workers watched, al-Yawer marked two ballots -- one for the 275-member National Assembly and the other for provincial legislatures -- and then dropped them into boxes. A poll worker handed him an Iraqi flag as he left. ... His wife, Nesreen Mustafa Berwari, a minister of public works in the country's interim government, followed him shortly afterward. 'This is a shining day on the road to the new Iraq,' she said." [6]

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