Global Viewpoint

Allawi: Stalemate threatens Iraqi security

Iraqi politician Iyad Allawi discusses Iraq's deteriorating security, Iran's efforts to block him, and the status of talks to form a coalition government in Baghdad.

Iyad Allawi, a secular politician who is Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s main rival for power in Iraq, warned in an interview with The Los Angeles Times this week that the country’s security situation is likely to worsen after coordinated bombings killed 113 people in the capital Tuesday and extremists massacred 58 people in a siege of a Baghdad church two days earlier. Mr. Allawi, whose Iraqiya political bloc was widely supported by the country’s Sunni Arab minority among others, won two more seats than Maliki’s faction in March elections, which still have not produced a new administration.

Allawi was interviewed in Baghdad for the Global Viewpoint Network by Los Angeles Times correspondent Ned Parker.

Global Viewpoint: How do you view the security after the attacks this week?

Allawi: It’s very sad. I always maintained that the security improvement was only fragile.... Unless the political landscape is changed, then all the surges and awakenings are not going to bring sustainable results. That’s why we have been witnessing an escalation of violence....

What we have seen and what we know is only the tip of the iceberg. We haven’t yet seen the whole iceberg. Assassinations are now a flourishing business throughout the country. There are explosions and violence. But now I think it will continue to take a sharper bend toward the worst.

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

GV: Do you think the attacks will force everyone to come to the table and form a government?

Allawi: It’s not a matter of forming a government ... It is a matter of the political landscape. [It’s] the dynamic of things.... Suppose a government is formed without a roadmap, without tackling the real issues. Violence will escalate. We have problems. We have to face these problems. Without facing these problems, there will be no security.

GV: Do you see any way you could become prime minister now?

Allawi: You have to ask the Iranians if they agree to have me become prime minister or not. Until now they don’t agree. Tehran has put a redline on Allawi.... They have been blocking me the past few years. They continue to block me.

GV: What is the motivation of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s list in not agreeing to your concepts of sharing powers now held by the prime minister’s office?

Allawi: They don’t believe in power-sharing. What is the alternative to power-sharing? Absolute power. If you don’t want to share power with others, what does this mean?... The big question mark is: Where is the democracy that we fought the last regime for 30 years? I did fight the last regime for over 30 years to bring about rule of law and democracy to this country. So we have now full-blown rule of law? [laughs]

GV: Do you think new elections could happen?

Allawi: I think all options should be considered, including a new, fresh election, because my guess is even by January we won’t be able to have a government.

© 2010 Global Viewpoint Network/Tribune Media Services. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor.

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