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Global Viewpoint

Iyad Allawi: If Maliki tries to form a government in Iraq, chaos will ensue

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi discusses prospects for resolving the political impasse in Iraq and the threat of a new sectarian conflict.

April 9, 2010

In an interview this week with Ned Parker of the Los Angeles Times, former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, whose Iraqiya alliance edged out Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s party in national elections last month, warned of potential chaos if he is denied the right to form the country’s next government.

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Below are highlights from the interview, made available to the Global Viewpoint Newtork, in which Mr. Allawi shared his views on Baghdad’s recent spate of attacks; the competition among parties to form the next government; and also his chief competitor, Mr. Maliki.

Q: With two days of major bombings in Baghdad last week and the shooting of 25 Iraqis in a village last weekend, is security deteriorating in Iraq?

Allawi: The security has been deteriorating for almost eight to ten months… I think it is the failure of reconciliation and the sectarianism that still prevails. I also believe the readiness of security and military services have not been adequate. I think both the Army and police were built on and around sectarianism rather than professionalism.

I believe also the forces who took part in confronting extremism and Al Qaeda have been suddenly declared antigovernment and have been pursued and detained. I’m referring to the sawa [Sunni paramilitary Awakening movement of former insurgents].

Also the surge had ended and the Americans withdrew from towns and cities in preparation for drawdown. All of this combined encouraged the killers and extremist forces and terrorists to start operating again in this country and to increase their activities...

There is literally a vacuum after the election until the new government is formed. We don’t have now a full-functioning government. We don’t have a parliament and the American forces are preparing to leave so really there is what I would call a vacuum. This encourages terrorists… The terrorists thrive on such a political environment.

Q: If the violence continues to rise, should the US administration reconsider its plans to drawdown to 50,000 non-combat troops by the end of August?

Allawi: I think the Americans should adhere to the dates prescribed but I think Iraqis should shoulder responsibility. I think the Iraqis should expedite the formation of the government. The program for this government should most importantly have a very clear foreign policy and address the issue of security, and the heart of the issue of security is restructuring the Army and police, and even the judiciary…

Frankly speaking, the deterioration of the security in Iraq and the fact America will draw down its forces should create the right pressure on Iraq to expedite the formation of the government and be more willing and ready to compromise with each other and to create an inclusive government and at the same time a functioning government.

Q: Isn’t it optimistic to think that the American drawdown of troops will help push the Iraqis to form their next government?