After a month of negotiations, Iraq’s parliament approved appointments to the final seven open cabinet positions this week – foreign affairs, trade, culture, agriculture, justice, migration, and oil – setting Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s new government forward as it looks to tackle the immense challenges facing the country.

46-year-old Ihsan Ismaael takes over as Oil Minister replacing the veteran Thamir Ghadhban, and looks to be a strong choice to oversee Iraq’s all-important oil and gas industry. As former Basra Oil Company (BOC) Director General (2017-2020), Mr Ismaael was a close adviser to both Mr al-Ghadhban as well as his predecessor, Jabbar al-Luaibi – and was a regular attendee at Opec meetings in Vienna. (CONTINUED - 477 WORDS)