Friday, October 14, 2016

Allawi Iraq’s Absent Prime Minister

Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi took power in June 2004 as the Coalition Provisional Authority closed up shop. He had the support of both the United States and the United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi. The Americans quickly found several issues with the new premier. One of them was Allawi’s constant trips outside of the country. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice for example, noted that the prime minister was always flying around the region, and could not always be contacted. Rice asked, “Are we worried that Allawi is spending ten to eleven days [a month] outside the country?” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers agreed with Rice that Allawi’s constant foreign travel was an issue. The next year when Allawi was replaced as prime minister he left Iraq for nearly four years even though he was elected as a member of parliament. When his Iraqiya list won first place in the 2010 elections he again decided to take extended tours around the region thinking that would help his chance to become the prime minister once again, but that only backfired against him. Allawi’s Iraqi National List was created in 1990 with the help of the intelligence agencies of Turkey, the Gulf States, and the west. He has maintained those ties ever since hoping they would help his political career. Given most of those states antagonistic stance towards the new Iraq they have not served him well.


Allawi, Ali, The Occupation of Iraq, Winning The War, Losing the Peace, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2007

BBC, “Profile: Iyad Allawi,” 3/27/10

Galbraith, Peter, “Iraq: The Bungled Transition,” New York Review of Books, 9/23/04

Gordon, Michael and Trainor, General Bernard, The Endgame, The Inside Story Of The Struggle For Iraq, From George W. Bush To Barack Obama, New York, Pantheon, 2012

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