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Abd al-Karim al-Iryani
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Biographical notes
Dr Abd al-Karim al-Iryani is one of Yemen's most experienced politicians, having served as a government minister almost continuously since 1974, first in the Yemen Arab Republic and later in the unified state.
He was born in 1934 in the village of Iryan in the central highlands, to a one of Yemen's most prominent families. His uncle, the late Abd al-Rahman al-Iryani, was president of the republic during the early 1970s.
Before entering politics, Abd al-Karim al-Iryani studied biochemistry and genetics in the United States where he obtained a doctorate at Yale University. He still takes an interest in the subject and once, during an official visit to Britain, made a special journey to Cambridge University to see the place where DNA was discovered.
Regarded as a technocrat, he has held a variety of government posts, including Agriculture Minister, Planning and Development Minister, Education Minister and Prime Minister. He is a member of Yemen's largest political party, the General People's Congress.
He is considered one of President Ali Abdullah Salih's closest advisors and played a crucial role in developing the north's political strategy before and during the civil war last year. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that in his spare time he is also an excellent chess player.
(See The role of the state in a traditional society by Abd al-Karim al-Iryani)
Curriculum vitae
Born: Iryan, Ibb province, October 12, 1934.
Education: B. Sc. in Agriculture, University of Georgia, USA,1962.
M. Sc. in Agriculture, University of Georgia, USA,1964.
Ph. D. in Biochemical Genetics, Yale University, USA, 1968.
1968 - 1972: Director of the Zabeed Agriculture Project.
Jan 1972 - March 1974: Chairman of the Central Planning Organisation (CPO).
March 1974 - Dec 1976: Minister of Development & Chairman of CPO.
Dec 1976 - July 1978: Minister of Education & Rector of Sana'a University.
Aug 1978 - Oct 1980: Advisor, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
Oct 1980 - Nov 1983: Prime Minister.
Nov 1983 -Dec 1984: Chairman of the Supreme Council for the Reconstruction of Earthquake - Affected Areas in the Central Highlands in Yemen.
Dec 1984 - May 1990: Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs.
May 1990 - June 1993: Minister of Foreign Affairs.
June 1993 - Oct 1994: Minister of Planning
Oct 1994 - May 1997: Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs.
June 1995: - Secretary General of the General People's Congress.
May 1997: (following the Parliamentary Elections), he was re-appointed Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs.
April 29, 1998: Appointed caretaker prime minister following resignation of Dr Faraj bin Ghanim. Appointment confirmed two weeks later. 
He is married and has six children.
Book choice
The Egyptians: A Radical Story 
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Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War
by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami, 2016. Available from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk. Review by Brian Whitaker
The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer 
by James Dorsey 
A view of the Middle East and its politics through the lens of its most popular sport. Available from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk
ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror
by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan. Available from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk
The Bride of Amman 
by Fadi Zaghmout  
A hugely controversial novel when originally published in Arabic. A powerful social critique and a sharp-eyed look at the intersecting lives of four women and one gay man in Jordan's historic capital, a city deeply imbued with traditions and taboos. Available from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk
Note: al-bab receives commission from Amazon for book purchases made using links on this site.
 
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