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Who Is Allawi?

By Ghali Hassan

19 June, 2004
Countercurrents.org

On 30 June 2004, Mr. Iyad Allawi will switch his position from the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) to be come the Iraq's new Prime Minister in the new named Iraqi Interim Government (IIG), another creature of the U.S. Nothing will change for the Iraqi People. The Iraqi people are very sceptical and despised those expatriates the U.S. piggybacked to Baghdad. For Mr. Allawi and his clique, they will be richer and brutal. Mr. Allawi will appear on American TV screens as often as possible, simply to legitimise the occupation of Iraq.

Mr. Allawi is a secular of prominent Moslem merchant family. He was a former member of the Baath Party underground movement, and was in Saddam's regime unti1 1979. His wealthy family was close to the royal family that ruled before Saddam Hussein took power. After falling out of favour with Saddam, Allawi sought exile in London, where he developed a relationship with Britain's MI-6 intelligence service during the 1980s, and eventually he also formed a relationship with the CIA. Allawi and Chalabi are related by marriage, have been alternately rivals and allies. Chalabi had a bitter break-up with the CIA in the 1990s but became close with the Pentagon. Meanwhile, Allawi and his Iraqi National Accord (INA) organization have solid relationships with the CIA and State Department.

In 1991, Allawi with Salih Omar Ali Al-Tikriti founded the INA as an opposition to Saddam's Baath Party. Both were ex-Baathist and former supporters of Saddam's regime. Salih Al-Tikriti viewed as unsavoury by the U.S. The INA constituted of disillusioned former Baathists from the military and security fields. With support from the CIA and MI-6, the INA instigated a coup d'étate within the Iraqi Army, but Saddam was not so stupid and the attempt ended disastrously. In London, Allawi's job was to keep an eye on Iraqi students studying in the UK. After moving to London in 1971 as a medical student he received payment from the Iraqi embassy there. It is also alleged that he did not quit the Baath party until 1975, and that he escaped an assassination attempt on his life in 1978.

According to Patrick Cockburn of The Independent of London, "[Allawi] is the person through whom the controversial claim was channelled that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction could be operational in 45 minutes". This big lie, helped prepare the British citizens to support Tony Blair messianic war on Iraq. In January 2004 a New York spokesman for Allawi acknowledged this was in fact "a crock of shit." Almost sounds like the new Prime Minister has learned his skill of lying from his masters in London and Washington.

The Iraqi Girl Blog, Baghdad Burning, wrote on 18 June 2002: "Iyad Allawi is completely America and Britain's boy. He has been on the CIA's payroll for quite some time now and I don't think anyone was particularly surprised when he was made Prime Minister. The cabinet of ministers is an interesting concoction of exiled Iraqis, Kurdish Iraqis who were in the northern region and a few Iraqis who were actually living inside of Iraq".

Like Chalabi, Allawi too was appointed to the IGC. He has been responsible for overseeing the council's security committee of the IGC. His position in the IGC was to recruit new army, police and intelligent members, a job he had under Saddam. Allawi was a member of Hunein, a security apparatus headed by Saddam Hussein. He has always opposed to the purging of members of the Baath party from senior government posts. I wonder if Mr. Allawi is not able to resurrect some of "Saddam's doubles". The mainstream media and particularly the BBC used to be obsessed with Saddam's doubles. Where on earth are Saddam's famed look-alikes?

The choice of Iyad Allawi as Iraq's prime minister of the upcoming IIG was "forced by the United States as a fait accompli on the UN and the Iraqi people. He was an American candidate than one of the UN or the Iraqis themselves. "When we first heard the news today, we thought that the [IGC] had hijacked the process", a senior U.N. official said. Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN special envoy to Iraq resigned as a result of his failure to stand up to the U.S. and show some credibility in Iraq. Once again, the UN failed the
Iraqi people and denied them their legitimate human rights. Allawi's choice and his close ties with the U.S. came in a country where public opinion has grown almost universally hostile to the Americans. Recent polls reveal that Mr. Allawi has almost 5 percent supports, just below the president, with a 7
percent approval rating.

In Washington and London, Mr. Allawi is well connected, but in Iraq everyone mistrusts Mr Allawi. Extensive PR campaign last year to built support in Washington rather than in Baghdad seemed to pay off. Danielle Pletka, a Middle East analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think
tank, said: "It was a bid for influence, and it was money well spent". "Allawi has always assumed, in many ways correctly, that he didn't need a constituency in Iraq as long as he had one in Washington", Pletka added.

According to report by Jim Drinkard of USA Today: "Lobbying records show that the law firm of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds and the New York public relations firm of Brown Lloyd James engaged in a flurry of contacts on Allawi's behalf beginning in late October. Most were aimed at setting up meetings with influential members of Congress and their staffs, administration officials, think tanks and journalists". The money paid by a wealthy Iraqi expatriate in London.

Dr. Haifa al-Azawi, a California-based gynaecologist and a U.S. citizen who went to school with Allawi in Baghdad in the 1960s, remembered Mr. Allawi as: "big, husky man. The Baath party union leader, who carried a gun on his belt and frequently brandished it terrorizing the medical students, was a poor student and chose to spend his time standing in the school courtyard or chasing female students to their homes. His medical degree is bogus and was conferred upon him by the Baath party, soon after a World Health Organization (WHO) grant was orchestrated for him to go to England and study public health accompanied by his Christian wife, whom he dumped later to marry a Muslim woman. In England he was a poor student, visiting the Iraqi embassy at the end of each month to collect his salary as the Baath party representative. According to his first wife and her family members, he spent his time dealing with assassins doing the dirty work for the Iraqi government, until his time was up and he became their target". It is not uncommon in Iraq during the Baath Party rule to give special favours for those who choose to serve its agenda.

A report in The New York Times described the INA (funded by the CIA of course), as "a terrorist organization. In the early 1990's the INA sent agents into Baghdad to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the C.I.A., several former intelligence officials say, they also bombed movie theatres and school buses full of children". Furthermore, the Times reported "[i] n 1996, Amneh al-Khadami, who described himself as the chief bomb maker for the Iraqi National Accord and as being based in Sulaimaniya, in northern Iraq, recorded a videotape in which he talked of the bombing campaign and complained that he was being short-changed money and supplies. Two former intelligence officers confirmed the existence of the videotape."[W]e blew up a car, and we were supposed to get $2,000 but got only $1,000' Mr. Khadami alleged told The Independent in 1997". Who the Americans are fighting in their "war on terror"?

The Iraqi born novelist and artist, Haifa Zangana wrote in The Guardian of London: "The CPA also ignores the violent activities of the four militias in Iraq, which have taken the law into their own hands: the peshmergas of the two Kurdish parties; the Badr brigade of the Supreme Council for Islamic
Revolution in Iraq; Ahmed Chalabi's troops; and the ex-Ba'athist Mukhabarats under Iyad A[l]lawi's national accord. These militias are run by members of the IGC and no one can touch them. No high-ranking official of Saddam's regime has yet been prosecuted either, despite the wish of most Iraqis that they be bought to justice".

In September 2003, Akila Al-Hashimi, a female member of the council, was shot and died later of her wounds. A rotating president of the U.S.-appointed council was assassinated on May 17 in a car-bomb attack on his convoy west of Baghdad. At least 1000 professionals and intellectuals have been murdered. "Many academics fear a deliberate brain drain is not being executed through murder. The mukhabarat (secret intelligence) of all the surrounding countries are active here: Mossad, the Iranians, Turks, Kuwaitis, Jordanians, Syrians," said an unnamed academic. "They are settling scores with each other, with the Americans and the Americans with them". "Why are they still detaining university professors if they are re-analysing their own intelligence on whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass
destruction?" Gulshan Husayn, wife of Dr Ali al-Zaak, detained dean of Genetic Engineering at Baghdad University told Al-Jazeera.

The U.S. is not interested in genuine democracy, the democracy of one citizen, one vote. In fact, the U.S. refused to allow local elections in Iraq last summer. The U.S. administration is interested in a U.S-controlled democracy. The kind of democracy enforced on the people of Latin America. In Allawi's Iraq, if he survived, elections will be an open contest but that candidates have to be vetted in an opaque process achieved by the return of many thugs of the old regime.

After more than thirty years in exile (London and Washington) and a "bogus" medical degree, the Iraqi people expected "their" Prime Minister to speak their language, not broken English. Unfortunately, Dr. Allawi has failed the Iraqi people. How can Dr. Allawi and those around him watch their compatriots (the Iraqi people) abused, tortured, raped and murdered by the same occupying forces they are collaborating with. He should learn to speak the language of the vast majority of the Iraqi people. He should learn to say: End the occupation; free the Iraqi people from America's violent militarism.

Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia. He can be contacted on:
G.Hassan@exchange.curtin.edu.au