News and opinions on situation in Iraq
25/06/04 Who Is Iraq's New Prime Minister, Dr. Iyad Allawi?
 
(TMPress International – New York – June 25, 2004) – Who Is Iraq's New Prime Minister, Dr. Iyad Allawi? … Mr. Allawi is the new interim Prime Minister-Designate of Iraq. A supposed prominent Iraqi Exile and neurologist working in Britain, Allawi is a former Ba'athist and supporter of Saddam Hussein's government. Allawi was born in 1945 to a prominent Iraqi Shi'a family; his grandfather helped to negotiate Iraq's independence from Britain, and his father was an MP (Member of Parliament). In the 1960s, he studied at medical school in Baghdad, where he first met Saddam Hussein.

His early political career, according to the memoirs of Talib Shabib, began around 1963, as an assassin for Saddam's hated and much feared Mukhabarat, or the famous Iraqi secret police. Dr. Allawi was an active supporter of the Iraqi Ba'ath Party and Saddam in the 1960s and early 1970s and it is this `role as a Ba'ath Party operative, while Saddam struggled for control in the nineteen-sixties and seventies that one needs to examine … and as Saddam became President in 1979, that is much less well known. According to a new piece this week … `The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh' … `Allawi helped Saddam get to power,' as described to Hersh by an American intelligence officer. And according to that operative, `He was a very effective operator and a true believer.' Seymour Hersh adds that Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA case officer who served in the Middle East, added to Allawi's credentials, `He likes to think of himself as a man of ideas; and, two, his strongest virtue is that he’s a thug.'

Also according to Hersh, early this year, one of Allawi’s former medical-school classmates, Dr. Haifa al-Azawi, published an essay in an Arabic newspaper in London raising questions about his character and his medical bona fides. She depicted Allawi as a `big husky man … who carried a gun on his belt and frequently brandished it, terrorizing the medical students.' `Allawi’s medical degree, she wrote, `was conferred upon him by the Ba'ath party.' Hersh reports, that Allawi moved to London in 1971, not to exile as has been reported in the mainstream press – and ostensibly to continue his medical education; there he was in charge of the European operations of the Ba’ath Party organization and the local activities of the Mukhabarat, its intelligence agency, until 1975. Hersh states, that she is quoted as saying, `If you’re asking me if Allawi has blood on his hands from his days in London, the answer is yes, he does,' … Hersh quotes Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA officer, as saying, `He was a paid Mukhabarat agent for the Iraqis, and he was involved in dirty stuff.' In addition a cabinet-level Middle East diplomat, who was rankled by the U.S. indifference to Allawi’s personal history, according to The New Yorker's Hersh … stated early this month, `That Allawi was involved with a Mukhabarat `hit team' that sought out and killed Ba'ath Party dissenters throughout Europe. (Allawi’s office did not respond to The New Yorker's Hersh … to a request for comment). At some point, according to Hersh – around 1975, and for reasons that are not clear, Allawi fell from favor and Ba'athist Agents organized a series of attempts on his life. The third attempt, by an axe-wielding assassin who broke into his home near London in 1978, resulted in a yearlong hospital stay.

Mr. Allawi post-recovery continued to remain engaged in Iraqi politics, visiting the country frequently. Post 1990 and around the time of the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait, Mr. Allawi began to set up and lead the CIA-supported Iraqi National Accord or the (INA), although others indicate that the INA wasn't fully operational until 1993, according to `Wikipedia.'

This group Allawi organized 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 Ahmad Chalabi, and because of the INA's links in the Ba'athist establishment. According to former CIA officers, Allawi's INA organized terrorist attacks in Iraq between 1992 through 1995, and including an apparent bombing of a school bus that killed many Iraqi school children.

Operating with the CIA, the INA unsuccessfully attempted to provoke a military coup in Iraq in 1996. Allawi also is apparently also the source, from which a report was channeled by way of an Iraqi officer … claiming that Iraq could deploy its supposed weapons of mass destruction within `45 minutes' to British Intelligence. 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, the BBC and the suicide-death of WMD expert … Dr. David Kelly, which was later examined by Lord Hutton's Commission. 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. An Allawi spokesman admitted in January 2004 that the claim was for better words `bogus,' which of course was not reported as much as the misnomer of `flawed intelligence as an accident by both the US and the UK governments.'

Allawi has lived about half of his life in the UK and retains British citizenship, as a supposed exile and political activist. The Shi'a Muslim was appointed by CPA Ambassador L. Paul Bremer to become a member of the Iraq Interim Governing Council, which was created following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. As head of Iraq's first government since Saddam Hussein and as the Iraqi Governing Council dissolved on June 1, 2004, Seymour Hersh has also reported that the choice of Iyad Allawi as interim Prime Minister was a disappointment to the UN New Iraqi Leadership Broker, Mr. Brahimi.

Hersh also suggests, that the White House will yet have to deal with Allawi’s past, as will the Iraqi people when they discover his very true origins! As to his appointment on May 28, 2004 by the Iraqi Governing Council to be Interim PM of Iraq to govern the country beginning with the United States' handover of sovereignty on June 30, 2004 – until national elections, scheduled for early 2005, many insiders confirm Hersh's reporting, including the New York Times – that the decision was reached reluctantly after pressure from US officials.

In America, Allawi is often described as a moderate Shi'a, a member of Iraq's majority faith, chosen for his moderate religious and independent political views – that test will be shown by how much independence he truly has and the Iraqi people really have from the continued American and British occupation! – By John Osborne, Sr. Political Editor – TMPress International Newswire

© 2004 TMPress International Newswire. Reprint granted without fee or license, please feel free to query for reprint permission.

Article Sources/Citations: TMPress International, Wikipedia, The New Yorker – Seymour Hersh, The New York Times and international network and newswire services.

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