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Monday, August 27, 2007

Allawi Lobbying by Abu Aardvark

Allawi lobbying

I've been enjoying the exposure of Iyad Allawi's contracts with DC consultants, which Iraqslogger uncovered and got into the mainstream media. It really shouldn't be all that surprising - Allawi has always been about foreign support, not a domestic political base. The idea that the road to power in Baghdad lies through DC lobbyists is not a particularly strange one, especially given the experience of Iraqi exile politicians in 2002-2003. It's also worth noting that Allawi's bid for a return to power is nothing new - his candidacy has been pushed by the Saudis and other Arab states, and by some Americans since last fall. I warned about this Allawi gambit back in March:

Will Iyad Allawi, the rotund one-time Iraqi Prime Minister and current London resident, be the next Prime Minister of Iraq? He certainly seems to want the job, and he suits the Bush administration's agenda suspiciously well. But his return to power would not only fail to end the civil war - it would also signal a decisive end to democratic aspirations in Iraq and the Arab world, increase America's role at a time when most Americans would prefer to leave, and pave the way to a confrontation with Iran.

I think that analysis from the spring holds up pretty well, for better or for worse. Allawi would not solve any of America's problems in Iraq, and - as several people have pointed out - he'd have a rough time getting a change of government through Parliament or taking control of an Iraqi state thoroughly penetrated and controlled by pro-Iranian Shia factions. But he represents an easy out for those who want to blame Maliki for problems which really flow from the nature of the Iraqi state, and an excuse to kick the can down the road for another year. What makes Allawi plausible is the absence of any other serious contenders to rule Iraq - which is, perhaps, the real indictment of the Iraqi political system.
Posted on August 27, 2007 at 10:17 AM | Permalink |

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