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Ayad Allawi ( . ) (born 1945) is an Iraqi politician, and was the interim Prime Minister of Iraq prior to Iraq's 2005 legislative elections. A prominent Iraqi political activist who lived in exile for almost 30 years, 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.

A former Ba'athist, Allawi helped found the Iraqi National Accord, which today is 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 MI6marker. Allawi has lived about half of his life in the UKmarker and retains British citizenship. His wife and children still live in Britain for their security. He survived an assassination attempt on April 20, 2005.

Allawi's name is sometimes rendered as Eyad Allawi, the Iraqi pronunciation for Ayad.

Allawi Timeline

1945: Born to a wealthy Shiite merchant family. His grandfather helped to negotiate Iraq's independence from Britain, and his father was a doctor and a MP.

1950s: Joins Baath party.

1960s: Studies at medical school in Baghdad.

1971: Leaves Baghdad due to differences with Saddam and moves to London to continue his medical education. Trains to be a neurologist and obtains a master of science in medicine and a doctorate in medicine from London University.

1975: Officially leaves the Baath party due to consolidation of power of the party by Saddam.

1978: Plots with Iraqi generals to overthrow Saddam in a coup and Saddam comes to know of this. He is attacked while in his bed in Kingston-upon-Thames. Intruder hits aims to strike Allawi a deadly blow, which Allawi deflects nearly severing his right leg. The would-be assassins flee. Allawi spends a year in hospital recovering from his injuries.

1980s: Travels extensively in the Middle East, holding clandestine meetings with other exiled Iraqis, and cultivating links with rebel army officers still in Iraq.

1991: Publicly announces the existence of the Iraqi National Accord which was previously a clandestine operation; and is voted its Secretary General. The organisation recruits amongst others disillusioned Baathist military officers who have defected.

1996: An INA coup attempt ends disastrously when Saddam's intelligence services penetrate the group's dissident operations inside Iraq. In June, 30 military officers linked to the INA are executed and another 100 arrested. Saddam takes revenge by confiscating all assets that has been owned by Allawi's affluent merchant family.

2002: Through an Iraqi officer linked with Allawi, the report claiming that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes is passed to British Intelligence.

2003: After the fall of Saddam, Allawi returns to Iraq and joins the Iraqi Governing Council. He holds the rotating presidency of the interim governing council during October 2003.

May 28, 2004: Allawi is voted for unanimously by the Governing Council to become the interim Prime Minister of Iraq.

June 28: As per Allawi's request, the US-led coalition hands over power to Allawi and the interim government two-days early.

20044: Assassination attempt by al-Qaeda against Allawi in Germany.

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 Baghdadmarker. He graduated high school from Baghdad College an American Catholic Jesuit high school, same as Ahmed Chalabi and Adil Abdul Mahdi.

Allawi is related to Ahmed Chalabi, another prominent former exile and now disgraced though somewhat rehabilitated U.S. ally, through Ahmed's sister. Former 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. In addition, Nouri Badran, interim Minister of Interior, is married to Iyad Allawi's sister. He is half Lebanese, as he is son of Najat Osseiran, and cousin of Leila Adel Osseiran.

Early political career

In 1971, he moved to London due to increasing differences with the Baath party and in order to continue his medical education. He resigned from the Baath party in 1975, "having decided that Saddam was exerting too much control over it". 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 Surreymarker home, who proceeded to attack him with an axe. The intruder left, convinced that Allawi was dead as he lay in a pool of blood. He survived the attempted murder, and spent the next year in hospital recovering from his injuries. His first wife, Athour, was also wounded in the attack. It is presumed that the attack was an assassination attempt ordered by Saddam Hussein. [51862] He separated with his wife after mutual agreement.

The Iraqi National Accord

Iyad Allawi
While still recovering in hospital from the attack, Allawi started organising an opposition network to work against the government of Saddam Hussein. Through the 1980s he built this network, recruiting Iraqis while traveling as a businessman and for the UNDP.

In December 1990, Allawi announced the existence of the Iraqi National Accord (INA). One of Allawi's allies in the INA was Salah Omar Al-Ali, a former member of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council and ambassador to the United Nations. The INA received open backing from the UKmarker, Egyptmarker, Jordanmarker, Saudi Arabiamarker, Turkeymarker and the United Statesmarker. The group consisted mainly of former military personnel who had defected from Saddam Hussein's Iraq to instigate a military coup. Allawi established links and worked with the CIA in 1992 as a counterpoint to the better-known CIA asset Ahmed Chalabi, and because of the INA's links in the Ba'athist establishment. It is alleged Allawi's INA organised 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. Though Saddam's government claimed the attacks have caused up to 100 civilian deaths though there are no true records of theses statistics to date.

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 Ammanmarker 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 Najafmarker was seized, although later was returned. According to Allawi, his family lost $250 million worth of assets. [51863] 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).

The INA channelled the report from 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 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.

Post-Saddam

Shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority (the "CPA") was established by the occupying forces in order to administer the country until sovereignty could be restored to the country. The CPA decided to establish a grouping of senior Iraqi politicians to carry out some administrative responsibilities, with a view to giving the occupation a more "Iraqi face". This grouping was referred to as the Governing Council, and was made up of 25 Iraqis that were appointed by the CPA. Allawi was one of those that were selected to serve on the Governing Council, and occupied the position Minister of Defence (although his real responsibilities in that regard were obviously limited considering Iraq remained under occupation). He held the rotating presidency of the interim governing council during October 2003. In April 2004, Allawi reportedly resigned as head of the IGC security committee over concerns for US bombing of Fallujahmarker, according to a letter published in INA's newspaper.

In December 2003, he flew to CIA headquarters in Langleymarker 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. 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.

Interim Prime Minister

On May 28, 2004, he was elected unanimously by the Governing 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.” Two weeks later, Brahimi announced his resignation, due to "great difficulties and frustration".

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, national views. 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 Dubaimarker-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."

On July 17, two Australian newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald [51864], [51865] and The Age [51866], published an article alleging that one week before the handover of sovereignty, Allawi himself summarily executed six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station. The allegations were suspiciously made by two unnamed sources and the execution is said to have taken place in presence of about a dozen Iraqi police, four American security men and Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib. Mr Allawi reportedly said that the execution was to "send a clear message to the police on how to deal with insurgents". Both Allawi's office and Naqib have denied the report. US ambassador John Negroponte did not clearly deny the allegations. Additionally, the allegations made by Sydney Morning Herald journalist Paul McGeough went largely unreported by mainstream American media. Iraq's Human Rights Minister Bakhtiar Amin pledged to investigate the allegations against his PM.[51867] The stories were reported to have increased Allawi's reputation in Iraq as they convinced many that he had the fortitude to rule. The stories proved false in investigations by the following government of Ibrahim al-Jaafari. Ahmed Chalabi has been routinely involved in planting stories in the media against Allawi.

On July 18, Iraqi militants offered a $285,000 reward for anyone who could kill Iyad Allawi.

During the summer of 2004, Allawi made several decisions seen as controversial at the time, but later worked in his interest as they demonstrated to Iraqis that Allawi did not favour one sect over another, and that he was a strong leader not afraid to use force to bring back the rule of law. Most notably, his decision to support the military incursions of both Najafmarker and Fallujamarker made him extremely unpopular amongst some Iraqis at the time. He also 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. As he retained both legislative and executive power, he gave himself the powers to declare martial law. 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.

Allawi led the Iraqi National Accord during the January 2005 Iraqi election. His campaign was mainly characterised by his attempt to combat the character assassination that was led by Iranian-sponsored groups. His campaign suffered when he visited the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf on December 4, 2004, where an unknown group hurled their shoes at him. Later on, in a face saving statement, Allawi claimed that it was an assassination attempt.

The INA came in at third place in the first elections, with 14% of the vote, which on a party versus coalition makes him head one of the largest represented parties.

Post-Premiership

In preparation for the next parliamentary elections that took place in Iraq in December 2005, Allawi formed an alliance between many groups, including secular Sunni and Shia groups and the Iraqi Communist Party under one electoral list (the Iraqi National List). However, despite a slick advertising campaign, and despite high expectations, this list performed less than expected in the polls with thirteen members assassinated in the run up to the elections and allegations (later proven) of fraud. It managed to secure 25 seats in the national assembly, a net loss of 15 seats since the January 2005 elections, yet doing as well as other parties when partitioned from their sectarian/ethnic blocs.

The Iraqi National List was represented in the coalition government led by Nouri al-Maliki, but Allawi himself did not take a Cabinet post. The party eventually boycotted the government in 2007. In preparation for upcoming national elections, Allawi formed a new coalition with Sunni politician Saleh Mutlaq and the Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi called the Iraqi National Movement.

Personal life

Allawi's first wife was named Athour. He divorced her in 1981 in the wake of the assassination attempt against him in 1978. He later remarried. His wife lives in London with their two daughters, born around 1988 and 1989, and son, born around 1996 named Hamza Allawi.

When he first came to England years ago he was married to an Iraqi Catholic whose father was one of the top pilots in Iraq. He faced several assassination attempts in England and throughout the Middle-East by agents of Saddam's regime.

See also



References

  1. Andrew Gilligan "The Strongman of Baghdad" in The Spectator 13 November 2004
  2. Bloomberg.com: Europe
  3. Iraqi who gave MI6 45-minute claim says it was untrue | Special Reports | Guardian Unlimited Politics
  4. Spy chief regrets '45 minute' Iraq weapons claim - www.theage.com.au
  5. Iraq Spy Service Planned by U.S. To Stem Attacks (washingtonpost.com)
  6. Green Left - Cover Story: IRAQ: US still calls the shots
  7. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/438248.html
  8. [1]
  9. Lateline - 16/07/2004: Iraqs interim PM executed six insurgents: witnesses
  10. BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Fourteen killed in Falluja strike
  11. Iraq Approves Security Law Allowing Martial Rule (washingtonpost.com)
  12. Iraq: Carrots and Clubs - Newsweek The War in Iraq - MSNBC.com
  13. CNN.com - Ex-Iraqi leader claims assassination attempt - Dec 4, 2005
  14. McClatchy Washington Bureau | 08/06/2007 | Iraqi government unraveling as more ministers boycott
  15. http://english.aljazeera.net/programmes/insideiraq/2009/11/2009116132756765619.html
  16. Profiles: A Man of the Shadows: The New Yorker


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