Knowing the political players is an important component of understanding the Middle East. The following list contains the names and positions of those in power in key Middle Eastern countries at the end of 2009:

  • Afghanistan: President Hamid Karzai

  • Egypt: President Hosni Mubarak

  • Iran: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hoseyni Khâmene’i

  • Iraq: President Jalal Talabani; Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki

  • Israel: President Shimon Peres; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

  • Jordan: King Abdullah II

  • Libya: Chief of State Muammar al-Qaddafi

  • Pakistan: President Asif Ali Zardari

  • Palestine: Prime Minister Salam Fayyad; President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas

  • Saudi Arabia: King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

  • Syria: President Bashar al-Assad; Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Utri