Iyad Allawi: ‘A man of the Shadows’
In recent developments, Iyad Allawi has been promoted by the British and the U.S. mainstream media as a defender of “human rights”. This new spin coincides with Blair and Bush strategy of resurrecting Allawi as “the best hope” in the December 15 illegitimate elections. Despite his well-publicised unpopularity among Iraqis, the propaganda for his elections campaign has already begun. Careful examination of this policy reveals that the U.S. and Britain are in pursuit of a rotten imperialist policy to serve their own interests at the expense of the Iraqi people.
A brief history of Allawi’s political career is essential. Dr. Haifa al-Azawi, a California-based gynaecologist and a U.S. citizen who went to school with Allawi in Baghdad in the 1960s, remembered Allawi as: “big, husky man. The Baath party union leader, who carried a gun on his belt and frequently brandished it terrorizing the medical students, was a poor student and chose to spend his time standing in the school courtyard or chasing female students to their homes. His medical degree is bogus and was conferred upon him by the Baath party, soon after a World Health Organization (WHO) grant was orchestrated for him to go to England and study public health accompanied by his Christian wife, whom he dumped later to marry a Muslim woman. In England he was a poor student, visiting the Iraqi embassy at the end of each month to collect his salary as the Baath party representative. According to his first wife and her family members, he spent his time dealing with assassins doing the dirty work for the Iraqi government, until his time was up and he became their target”. It was not uncommon in Iraq during the Baath Party rule to give special favours for those who choose to serve its agenda.
After falling out of favour with Saddam, Allawi sought exile in London, where he developed a relationship with Britain’s MI-6 intelligence service during the 1980s, and eventually he also formed a relationship with the C.I.A. Allawi and Chalabi are related by marriage, have been described by Western media as “alternately rivals and allies”. However, the reality is that the two have been allies, and there is no evidence of rivalry. Chalabi had a bitter break-up with the C.I.A in the 1990s but became close with the Pentagon. Meanwhile, Allawi and his Iraqi National Accord (INA), one of several death squads created by the C.I.A. and Britain MI-6, have solid relationships with the C.I.A., the State Department and the MI-6. I will return to the death squads later.
In 1991, Allawi with Salih Omar Ali Al-Tikriti founded the INA as an opposition to Saddam’s Baath Party. Both were ex-Baathists and former supporters of Saddam’s regime. Salih Al-Tikriti viewed as unsavoury by the U.S. The INA constituted of disillusioned former Baathists from the military and security fields. With support from the C.I.A., MI-6 and the Israeli Mossad, the INA instigated a coup d’étate within the Iraqi Army, but Saddam was not so stupid and the attempt ended disastrously. In London, Allawi’s job was to keep an eye on Iraqi students studying in the UK. After moving to London in 1971 as a medical student he received payment from the Iraqi embassy there. C.I.A. agents alleged that Allawi “had served as an assassin for Saddam in Europe, killing dissenting Iraqi students, before his own defection”. It is also alleged that he did not quit the Baath party until 1975, and that he escaped an assassination attempt on his life in 1978.
A report in The New York Times described the INA as; “a terrorist organization. In the early 1990′s the INA sent agents into Baghdad to plant bombs and sabotage government facilities under the direction of the C.I.A., several former intelligence officials say, they also bombed movie theatres and school buses full of children”. Furthermore, the Times reported, “In 1996, Amneh al-Khadami, who described himself as the chief bomb maker for the [INA] and as being based in Sulaimaniya, in northern Iraq, recorded a videotape in which he talked of the bombing campaign and complained that he was being short-changed money and supplies. Two former intelligence officers confirmed the existence of the videotape”.”[W]e blew up a car, and we were supposed to get $2,000 but got only $1,000′ Mr. Khadami alleged told The Independent in 1997”.
In Washington and London, Mr. Allawi is well connected, but in Iraq everyone mistrusts Allawi. An extensive PR campaign last year to built support in Washington rather than in Baghdad seemed to pay off. Danielle Pletka, a rightwing analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank said; “It was a bid for influence, and it was money well spent. Allawi has always assumed, in many ways correctly, that he didn’t need a constituency in Iraq as long as he had one in Washington”, added Pletka.
According to report by Jim Drinkard of USA Today: “Lobbying records show that the law firm of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds and the New York public relations firm of Brown Lloyd James engaged in a flurry of contacts on Allawi’s behalf beginning in late October. Most were aimed at setting up meetings with influential members of Congress and their staffs, administration officials, think tanks and journalists”. The money paid by a wealthy Iraqi expatriate in London.
From the beginning of the U.S. Occupation of Iraq, Allawi and Chalabi were appointed to the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC). Allawi was responsible for overseeing the council’s security committee of the IGC. His position in the IGC was to recruit new army, police and intelligent members, a job he had under Saddam. Allawi was a member of Hunein, a security apparatus headed by Saddam Hussein. He admitted recently that he has always opposed to ‘the purging of members of the Baath party’ from senior government posts.
After the so-called “handover of sovereignty” to Iraqis, Allawi was appointed “Prime Minister” of the Iraqi Interim Government (IIG) by US. Proconsul Paul Bremer. The choice of Iyad Allawi as Iraq’s “Prime Minister” was forced by the U.S. as a fait accompli on the UN and the Iraqi people. He was an American candidate than one of the UN or the Iraqis themselves. “When we first heard the news today, we thought that the [IGC] had hijacked the process”, a senior U.N. official said. Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN special envoy to Iraq resigned as a result of his failure to stand up to the U.S. and show some credibility in Iraq.
Allawi’s choice and his close ties with the U.S. came in a country where public opinion has grown almost universally hostile to the U.S. presence. Recent polls reveal that Allawi has 5 per cent supports among Iraqis, just below the president (Ghazi al-Yawar), with a 7 per cent approval rating. According to a poll conducted by the Iraq Centre for Research and Strategic Studies (ICRSS) in May 2004, among 17 prominent Iraqi religious and political leaders, Allawi ranked in sixteenth place. Behind him, dead last, came al-Yawer, who was named “president” of the IIG on 01 June 2004. In the January rigged elections, even with the massive backing of the U.S. and British mainstream media in Iraq and outside Iraq, Allawi was only able to garner 14 per cent of the vote. Allawi’s unpopularity is due to his violent past as an “attack dog”, and his connection with the MI-6, the CIA and the Israeli Mossad.
From his first days as the U.S.-appointed interim “Prime Minister”, Allawi deliberately increased the violence against the Iraqi people. In August 2004, U.S. forces savagely attacked the Muslim holy city of Najef. There were no witnesses to the atrocity: The few journalists in Najef were ordered to leave or risk being arrested. The indiscriminate attacks have killed thousand of innocent Iraqis. The ancient city of 600,000 people was deliberately destroyed. Allawi played an important propaganda role for the justification of U.S. crimes against the people of Najef. Despite the big atrocity, tens of thousands of Iraqis defied Allawi and flocked into Iraqi cities, including Najef, to condemned the atrocity and demonstrate their support for the Iraqi Resistance.
In November 2004, Allawi alleged to have “given the green light” to U.S. forces to attack Fallujah. The city was savagely attacked with chemical bombs, fire bombs (fuel-air bombs), napalm and other non-conventional weapons (WMD) and it’s been ruined. More than 6000 innocent Iraqi women and children were massacred by U.S. and British forces. Fallujah was a war crime committed in gross violation of the Geneva Conventions and international law. The city entire 300,000 population are still displaced refugees. These criminal attacks exposed Allawi as a Western-created thug and criminal.
As the Occupation continues, Allawi’s INA and other death squads – created and trained by the U.S., Britain and Iran – have adopted Gestapo-like tactics in terrorising the Iraqi people on behalf of their masters. Torturing and murdering not only innocent members of the former regime, but also prominent Iraqi opposition leaders, Iraqi academics and professionals. They are eliminating anyone who looks like opposition. “Hundreds of accounts of killings and abductions have emerged in recent weeks, most of them brought forward by Sunni civilians, who claim that their relatives have been taken away by Iraqi men in uniform without warrant or explanation”, reported the New York Times correspondent Dexter Filkins from Baghdad. “Some Sunni males have been found dead in ditches and fields, with bullet holes in their temples, acid burns on their skin, and holes in their bodies apparently made by electric drills”, writes Filkins. One of these death squads is a commando force, known by Iraqis as the ‘Maghawir’, was widely used under the interim administration of Iyad Allawi.
The Los Angeles Time reported that; “The Baghdad morgue reports that dozens of bodies arrive at the same time on a weekly basis, including scores of corpses with wrists bound by police handcuffs”. These murderous acts are the “deliberate product of carefully crafted, efficiently managed U.S.-Zionist strategy” for the sole purpose of disintegrating Iraq and destroying the unity of the Iraqi society. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of Iraqi prisoners and detainees languishing in countless prisons run by the U.S. forces and the puppet government. They are abused, savagely tortured, murdered and disappeared. The “new” Iraq is a cluster of prisons within a larger prison, devoid of “democracy”, “liberty”, and all the rest of “human rights”, that the US using as a vehicle to spread war and fear.
Independent reports on the creation of the death squads by investigative journalists AK Gupta of the NYC Independent Media Centre (Indypendent), and journalist Max Fuller shed light on the purpose of the death squads and the complicity of the U.S. and its allies in the incitement of civil strife in Iraq. The U.S. aim is to make the public focus on the violence of the occupied and oppressed and justify the action of the occupiers. The role of the media is to amplify and explain the violence in cultural terms, as “Iraqis against Iraqis”, a colonial propaganda to justify the Occupation. In addition, the U.S. ant its allies are broadening the violence by undermining the power of the central authority. The recent signing of an oil contract between Norway – a recent peace-loving mask of Western imperialism – and the Kurdish warlords to drill for oil in northern Iraq without the knowledge of the central government in Baghdad is a case in point on how the West fuelling the bloodshed by pitting Iraqis against each other, and carving Iraq’s oil wealth.
In his latest conversion into a defender of human rights, Allawi told the Sunday’s Observer that a lot of Iraqis are being killed during interrogations. He said: “People are doing the same as [in] Saddam Hussein’s time and worse. These are the precise reasons why we fought Saddam Hussein and now we are seeing the same things. We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being interrogated”. As the US.-appointed “Prime Minister”, Allawi heard lots about the U.S. sadistic practice of torture at Abu Ghraib.
Allawi didn’t only approve of torture of Iraqi prisoners, he killed some of them. As the U.S.-appointed Iraqi “Interim Prime Minister”, Allawi “pulled a pistol and executed as many as six suspected “insurgents” at a Baghdad police station”, reported the Sydney Morning Herald on 17 July 2004. Allawi’s message is to tell the police how to treat prisoners and to send a message of violence to all Iraqis that they accept his terror or else. He is a professional thug and criminal.
Allawi’s recent resurrection for the December elections showed that the U.S. and Britain real aim in Iraq is not “democracy”, “freedom” or “liberty”, but the colonisation of Iraq to serve the interests of Western imperialism and Israel’s Zionism. The U.S. war on Iraq has taught the rest of the world that the real purpose of the terms, “democracy”, “human rights” and “liberty” propagated by Western countries; is “to camouflage sordid realities”. The U.S. and its allies are not interested human rights or in genuine democracy. The U.S., in particular, is interested in U.S.-controlled regimes that serve its imperial interests. The kind of democracy enforced on the peoples of Latin America, the Arab states and states ruled by U.S.-backed bloody dictators.
Consistent with U.S. democratic principles, political transparency and freedom of speech, the U.S. new “democratic” offensive in Iraq is to promote the Occupation U.S.-style “democracy” through deceptive propaganda in Iraqi newspaper and in order to fool the Iraqi people. As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish positive news stories in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. Occupation and distort the image of the Iraqi Resistance. The articles, written by U.S. military “information operations taskforce” troops masquerading as independent journalists, are translated into Arabic and planted in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defence contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times. In addition, Jonathan S. Landay of Knight Ridder Newspapers reported on 01 December 2005 that the U.S. military was also paying Iraqi reporters up to $U.S.200 a month to write positive news stories. It said the payments were made to members of the Baghdad Press Club, set up by U.S. Army officers more than a year ago.
When asked about the issue, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch defended the program and said: “We don’t lie. We don’t need to lie. We do empower our operational commanders with the ability to inform the Iraqi public, but everything we do is based on fact, not based on fiction”. Hallucinations result from the failure to acknowledge realities.
Furthermore, the recent U.S. and Britain propaganda campaign to depict the Occupation of Iraq as “necessary to promote democracy and fight terrorism” is misleading and deceptive propaganda. It is contrary to the Iraqi people aspiration for freedom and democracy. A recent poll conducted by the British Ministry of Defence in August 2005 reveals that over 82 per cent of Iraqis are “strongly opposed” to the. Less than 1 per cent of Iraqis think the Occupation forces are responsible for any improvement in security; and that 45 per cent supports attacks on the Occupation forces. If one excludes the Kurdish region of Iraq – where the U.S. has some support – from the poll, the anti-Occupation sentiment is even higher. It follows that there is no reason for U.S. and British forces to remain in Iraq; the only “job” left is the full and immediate withdrawal. George Bush refusal to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq is also contrary to the “tentative agreement” reached on 21 November 2005 at the Cairo conference”, by Iraqi leaders, including the current puppet government.
Allawi does not represent the Iraqi people; far from it. He is “‘a man of the shadows’”, as his cousin, Ali Allawi described him. “Iyad sees maintaining power primarily as an intelligence game. It’s a kind of mind-set”, Ali Allawi told The New Yorker. Iyad Allawi had his time and proved to be a coward puppet and a corrupt. He failed to save Iraqi lives and failed to stand up to the violence of the Occupation. Allawi lives in England and there where he should campaign for elections not in Iraq.
Allawi is promoted by the U.S. and British government for the upcoming December elections, because he fits Western image of the “educated technocrat” who serves Western interests at the expense of the Iraqi people. Allawi provides the best Arab façade of acting on behalf of his masters. Like his relative, Ahmed Chalabi, Allawi is a conman, committed crimes against the Iraqi state and the Iraqi people, and should be held accountable for his crimes.
Finally, democratic elections are illegitimate under foreign military occupation. The only way to a free, faire and democratic elections; is a free and sovereign Iraq. Democracy and freedom are not compatible with occupation and repression. The Iraqi people’s aspiration for freedom and democracy, and their rejection of the ongoing Occupation should be supported and emulated by all freedom-loving peoples.
Global Research Contribuitng Editor Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia.