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March 13, 2007



The Allawi return meme is not exactly new: this is at least the fifth iteration since the beginning of 2005.

After the January 2005 elections, US officials, having confidently predicted an Allawi electoral triumph, were desperate to keep him in the PM spot, in spite of the fact that it was arithmetically impossible and that the government would evidently be formed by a Shia-Kurdish coalition headed by a Shia PM who had close ties to Iran.

Prior to the December 2005 elections, US officials were confidently predicting an improved Allawi performance that would deliver at least 20% of the vote and that would put him in pole position to put together a working coalition with himself as PM.

After the results of the Dec. 2005 election, with Allawi delivering a muscular 8% of the vote, thanks in part to a heroic rigging effort in Jordan, US officials still expressed optimism that he could form a government. It then took nearly four months to put together a government.

Last Autumn, the return of Allawi was again being touted by US officials ( otr ) and the media. The same is happening again today. The flip side of this is that the return of Allawi signals an end to the pretense of a National Unity government.

Mostly, the Allawi coup idea is an attempt to exercise leverage on the Iraqi government and to retard its headlong flight towards an entente cordiale with Teheran.

Allawi is not an Iraqi solution to the problems of Iraq; he is an American solution to the Bush administration conundrum of having a democratic Iraq that is "an ally in the war on terror" that has close relations with Iran, a key US objective in the war on terror.

There is no parliamentary route for Allawi to retake the premiership as he simply cannot make the numbers - and the alternative route guarantees a full-scale Shia uprising and, in all likelihood, a return to the Barzani-Talabani conflicts of the mid-1990's.


Yes, that's pretty much my argument - except that I didn't take the August rumors seriously, as opposed to the December rumors when he actually was getting back into the game. The other part, though, is that he isn't only an American candidate - he's also a Saudi-Jordanian candidate.


When you say Allawi has been "threatening to pull out of Maliki's Govt" what does that mean? Does Allawi's party hold any of the ministries? As far as I can work out the Govt is made up of the Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni blocs along with a few Independents? I always thought Allawi was more like an Opposition leader.

Regarding a change of govt: Under the Iraqi constitution the Prime Minister and Cabinet can only be dismissed by an absolute majority of the Council of Reps.

With the large Shiite bloc vote how likely is this to happen? Almost impossible,I would suggest. Is it a serious proposition that Muqtada would defy Sistani and the Shiite establishment leadership to vote no confidence in the Shiite led government? And even if he did, the absolute majority requirement would defeat the motion. The Council can barely even make a quorum.

And why would the United States support an action that would immediately lead to a major constitutional crisis in Iraq , let alone at a time when Bush has incrased troop committments in support of the Govt.?

I know the US is stupid in many respects, but that stupid? Surely Allawi's visit to Barzani and Khalilzad's presence must have some other explanation.


On reflection, it seems to me the most likely explanation for the Allawi manouevrings is negotiations going on for Allawi's party to JOIN the government with Allawi getting a major portfolio.This would suit everybody's interests except maybe the Iranians.

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