Salih is respected by both the United States and Iran. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
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President Barham Salih, 58, who was elected by Parliament, is respected by both the United States and Iran, archrivals whose competition for influence in Iraq has fueled factionalism in a country already dogged by deep sectarian rifts.Salih's choice of Adel Abdel-Mahdi, 76, as prime minister defuses months of tension between Iraq's two main Shiite blocs who hold the most seats in Parliament and are in possession of the most powerful militias in the country.Sadr, alongside outgoing Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, leads one of the two main Shiite blocs.Amiri and Maliki are Iran's two most prominent allies in Iraq. Salih designated Abdel-Mahdi prime minister less than two hours after being named president.Arguably the most powerful man in the country, Sistani has long urged politicians to stop clinging to power and give a new breed of technocrats a chance to rebuild Iraq.
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