Thursday, January 20, 2005

"Saddam lite"

Fascinating background piece on Iyad Allawi, the interim Prime minister of Iraq by Jon Lee Anderson in The New Yorker. This article gives some insight into Allawis somewhat suspect past and reveals disturbing qualities in the man who could be the future leader of Iraq.
Of particular interest was an account of a meeting between Allawi and Sunni leaders as can be seen in this discussion between Anderson and a Sheik from Falluja

He had disagreed with Allawi’s decision to order the assault on Falluja in November, but when I asked him what he thought of Allawi he said, “He’s a good man,” as if he assumed that this was what I wanted to hear. He evaded my attempts to find out if he planned to vote for Allawi, but finally said, “We see only the outside of Allawi. We’ve met with him many times, but we don’t know what’s in his heart, and we don’t know what’s behind his back.” He held up his left hand, and I saw that he was missing three fingers. “I lost these fingers and three brothers fighting in the Iran-Iraq War,” he said. “With all of that, I never felt afraid. But I do now. We are scared about the future.”

Anderson in this article revives the allegations that were raised by by Sydney Morning Herald correspondent, Paul McGeough that Allawi personally executed six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station last year.

Here is another account of a peace conference held in Baquba that also shows the level of distrust held by Sunnis towards the occupation forces.

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