May 7 (UPI) -- Former intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhini was named prime minister of Iraq on Thursday, after five months of political instability in the Middle Eastern nation.
Al-Kadhini, 53, was named to the post by Iraqi President Barham Salih after weeks of cabinet shuffling to appease various parties. Al-Kadhini had been the head of Iraq's National Intelligence Service since 2016. He replaces Adel Abdul-Mahdi, who resigned as prime minister last November after mass protests.
Al-Kadhini, a former journalist, already has a close relationship with Salih and is widely viewed as a pragmatist.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with al-Kadhini Thursday after his appointment.
"Now comes the urgent, hard work of implementing the reforms demanded by the Iraqi people," Pompeo tweeted Thursday. "I pledged to help him deliver on his bold agenda for the sake of the Iraqi people."
State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said the two discussed the COVID-19 crisis and fighting corruption.
Al-Kadhimi failed to win support from one of the strongest Iraqi militias, Kataib Hezbollah, which accused him of complicity in a January U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.