Iyad Allawi

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Iyad Allawi

Dr Iyad Allawi (اياد علاوي) (born 1945) is an Iraqi politician, and was the interim Prime Minister of Iraq prior to Iraq's 2005 legislative elections. A prominent Iraqi-British neurosurgeon and Iraqi exile political activist, the politically secular Shia Muslim became a member of the Iraq Interim Governing Council, which was established by U.S.-led coalition authorities following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He became Iraq's first head of government since Saddam Hussein when the council dissolved on June 1, 2004 and named him Prime Minister of the Iraqi Interim Government. His term as Prime Minister ended on April 7, 2005, after the selection of Islamic Dawa Party leader Ibrahim al-Jaafari by the newly-elected transitional Iraqi National Assembly.

He continues to lead his Iraqi National Accord's party in the new Assembly, though its support was weak during legislative elections, and only polled 14 per cent of the vote.

A former Ba'athist, Allawi set up the Iraqi National Accord, which carried out bombings in Saddam Hussein's Iraq and is today an active political party. In the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq the INA provided intelligence about alleged weapons of mass destruction to MI6. Allawi has lived about half of his life in the UK and retains British citizenship. His wife and children still live in Britain for their security. He survived an assassination attempt on 20th of April 2005.

Allawi's name is sometimes rendered as Ayad Allawi.


Allawi's early life

Allawi was born in 1945 to a prominent Shia merchant family; his grandfather helped to negotiate Iraq's independence from Britain, and his father was an Iraqi Member of Parliament. He became involved in Ba'athism at a young age and organized against the government of Abdul Karim Qassim. In the 1960s, he studied at medical school in Baghdad, where he first met fellow Ba'athist Saddam Hussein.

Early political career

In 1971, he moved to London in order to continue his medical education. Some have reported this as an exile, but some of Allawi's old counterparts have claimed that he continued to serve the Baath Party, and the Iraqi secret police, searching out enemies of the regime. During this time he was president of the Iraqi Student Union in Europe. However, he resigned from the Baath party for undisclosed reasons in 1975. [1] (http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040628fa_fact) Allawi himself states that he remained active in the international Ba'athist movement but had no ties to the Iraqi Ba'atist party.

At first Saddam, then Iraq's deputy president, pressured Allawi, who was in contact with senior military and party officers that were increasingly critical of Saddam, to rejoin the Ba'ath Party. In 1978, friends told Allawi that his name was on a liquidation list. In February 1978 Allawi was awoken in bed one night by an intruder in his Surrey home, who proceeded to attack him with an axe. The intruder left, convinced that Allawi was dead. He survived the attempted murder, and spent the next year in hospital recovering from his injuries. His wife was also wounded in the attack. The attack was an assassination attempt ordered by Saddam Hussein. [2] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23-2004Jan30.html)

The Iraqi National Accord

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While still recovering in hospital from the assassination attempt, Allawi started organising an opposition network that would topple Saddam. Through the 1980s he built this network, recruiting Iraqis while traveling as a businessman and for the UNDP. It is widely believed that he spent much of this period working for British intelligence.

In December 1990, Allawi announced the formation of the Iraqi National Accord (INA). The main sponsors of INA were the British, but they received secret backing from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States. The group consisted mainly of former military personnel who had defected from Saddam Hussein's Iraq to instigate a military coup. Allawi was recruited by the CIA in 1992 as a counterpoint to the more well-known CIA asset Ahmed Chalabi, and because of the INA's links in the Ba'athist establishment. Allawi's INA organised terrorist attacks in Iraq. This campaign never posed a threat to Saddam Hussein's rule, but was designed to test INA's capability to effect regime change. It is estimated to have caused up to 100 civilian deaths.[3] (http://www.antiwar.com/spectator2/spec509.html)

A military coup was planned for 1996, in which Iraqi generals were to lead their units against Baghdad and remove Saddam Hussein. The CIA supported the plot, code-named DBACHILLES, and added Iraqi officers that were not part of INA. The plan ended in disaster as it had been infiltrated by agents loyal to Saddam. US support was also questionable - requests by the CIA station chief in Amman for American air support were refused by the Clinton administration. Many participants were executed. Lands and factories belonging to the Allawi family were confiscated, even their graveyard in Najaf was demolished. According to Allawi, his family lost $250 million worth of assets. [4] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23-2004Jan30_2.html) US support for INA continued, receiving $6 million covert aid in 1996 and $5 million in 1995 (according to books by David Wurmser as well as Andrew and Patrick Cockburn).[5] (http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000085&sid=agdsULUSsCdo&refer=europe)

Allawi channelled the report from an Iraqi officer claiming that Iraq could deploy its supposed weapons of mass destruction within "45 minutes" to British Intelligence. [6] (http://politics.guardian.co.uk/kelly/story/0,13747,1131993,00.html) This claim featured prominently in the September Dossier which the British government released in 2002 to gain public support for the Iraq invasion. In the aftermath of the war, the "45 minute claim" was also at the heart of the confrontation between the British government and the BBC, and the death of David Kelly later examined by Lord Hutton. Giving evidence to the Hutton Inquiry, the head of MI6 Richard Dearlove suggested that the claim related to battlefield weapons rather than weapons of mass destruction.[7] (http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/09/16/1063625031302.html?from=storyrhs&oneclick=true). Nick Theros, Allawi's Washington, DC representative, stated in January 2004 that the claim was a "crock of shit."[8] (http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,3605,1131973,00.html)

Political career following the invasion

Allawi was appointed to the Iraqi Governing Council following his return from exile after the fall of Saddam in 2003 becoming Minister of Defence. He held the rotating presidency of the interim governing council during October of 2003. In April 2004, Allawi reportedly resigned as head of the IGC security committee over concerns for US bombing of Fallujah, according to a letter published in INA's newspaper.[9] (http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000085&sid=agdsULUSsCdo&refer=europe)

In December 2003, he flew to CIA headquarters in Langley together with fellow INA official Nouri Badran to discuss detailed plans for setting up a domestic secret service. The agency was to be headed by Badran, a former Ba'athist who served Saddam as an ambassador until 1990, and, controversially, recruit many agents of Saddam's Mukhabarat. [10] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A54518-2003Dec10&notFound=true) When the Iraqi National Intelligence Service was set up in March 2004, its designated director was Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed al-Shehwani, another former Ba'athist exile with ties to INA.

Allawi is related to Ahmed Chalabi, another prominent former exile and now disgraced U.S. ally, through his sister. The interim minister of trade Ali Allawi is Chalabi's sister's son as well as Iyad Allawi's cousin. The relationship between Chalabi and Allawi has been described as alternating between rivals and allies.[11] (http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/05/29/1085641749684.html?from=storyrhs&oneclick=true) In addition, Nouri Badran, interim Minister of Interior, is married to Iyad Allawi's sister.[12] (http://www.agenceglobal.com/Article.asp?Id=144)

Interim Prime Minister

On May 28, 2004, he was chosen by the council to be the Interim Prime Minister of Iraq to govern the country beginning with the United States' handover of sovereignty (June 30, 2004) until national elections, scheduled for early 2005. Although many believe the decision was reached largely on the advice of United Nations special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, the New York Times reported that Brahimi only endorsed him reluctantly after pressure from U.S. officials. (In response to a question about the role of the U.S. in Allawi's appointment, Brahimi replied: “I sometimes say, I'm sure he doesn't mind me saying that, Bremer is the dictator of Iraq. He has the money. He has the signature. Nothing happens without his agreement in this country.” [13] (http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2004/585/585p15.htm) Two weeks later, Brahimi announced his resignation, due to "great difficulties and frustration". [14] (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/438248.html))

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At the time of his nomination, Allawi was often described in the US mainstream media as a moderate Shia, a member of Iraq's majority faith, chosen for his secular, pro-American views. Later, as military situation in Iraq worsened the death toll increased, coveraged became sometimes less flattering and included descriptions suggesting Allawi was Washington's puppet (e.g. Newsweek:"Iraq's New S. O. B." [15] (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5457368/), NYT: "Dance of the Marionettes" [16] (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/26/opinion/26dowd.html?hp)). The BBC attributes his nomination to being "equally mistrusted by everyone" in Iraq. [17] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3757923.stm) A secret document written in 2002 by the British Overseas and Defence Secretariat reportedly stated that within Iraq, Allawi was seen as "a western stooge" who "lacked domestic credibility". [18] (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/09/24/wus124.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/09/24/ixhome.html)

On June 28 2004 (two days early), the U.S.-led coalition handed over power to Allawi and the Iraqi Interim Government, who were sworn in later that same day. After his interim government assumed legal custody of Saddam Hussein and re-introduced capital punishment, Allawi gave assurances that he would not interfere with the trial and would accept any court decisions. In an interview with Dubai-based TV station al-Arabiya he said: "As for the execution, that is for the court to decide — so long as a decision is reached impartially and fairly." [19] (http://www.abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20040706_164.html)

On July 18, Iraqi militants offered a $285,000 reward for anyone who could kill Iyad Allawi. [20] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3904151.stm)

During the summer of 2004, Allawi made several controversial decisions. He announced the creation of General Security Directorate, a domestic spy agency, whose main role is to counteract terrorist groups and the Iraqi insurgency. He recruited some former agents of Saddam Hussein's secret police to form the General Security Directorate. He gave himself the powers to declare martial law [21] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33260-2004Jul7.html). He closed the Iraqi office of al-Jazeera and nominated Ibrahim Janabi, a former Ba'athist and Mukhabarat officer, to head the newly created media regulator. He also made moves to eliminate Muqtada al-Sadr from the scene. [22] (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5709446/site/newsweek/)

Allawi led the Iraqi National Accord during the 2005 Iraqi election. The INA polled a distant third, with 14% of the vote, suggesting a lack of domestic support for Allawi's rule. While he has tried to give his 14% bloc influence in the new assembly, at times courting mavericks and independents for support, it is unlikely the INA will be of consequence due to a safely majority coalition between the Shi'a United Iraqi Alliance and Kurdish Democratic Alliance.

See also

External links


Preceded by:
Power Handed To Interim Government
Prime Minister of Iraq
Succeeded by:
Ibrahim al-Jaafari

Template:End boxar:إياد علاوي de:Iyad Allawi et:Iyad Allawi el:Αλάουι, Ιγιάντ es:Iyad Allawi eo:Ijad ALLAVI fr:Iyad Allaoui nl:Iyad Allawi ja:イヤード・アッラーウィー no:Iyad Allawi pl:Ijad Allawi tr:Ayat Allavi zh:伊亚德·阿拉维


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