Friday, August 24, 2007

Who's Behind Allawi?

We know who's in front of Iyad Allawi -- namely, Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers -- but who's backing him?

Allawi's power play seems to be something that's been in the works for several weeks now. Earlier this month a handful of cabinet members loyal to Allawi balked at participating in further government meetings. Then came his commentary in the Washington Post -- which must have taken some time to arrange. Then came news of the allawi-for-iraq business. Now the former prime minister is pulling his party out of the government entirely.

So why would the U.S. want to replace al-Maliki with Allawi? Iran:

Ayad Allawi, who timed his re-entry on the political scene perfectly with this editorial on Saturday demanding that Iraq (meaning the US) take a much harder line on Iran and Syria. "The United States is indispensable to peace and security in Iraq and the greater Middle East," writes Allawi, as he cannily suggests that the US should reduce its "combat role" in Iraq. Allawi here is no doubt echoing the Democrat position of "re-deployment," which is another word for "onward into Iran."

That kind of hardline stance would find a lot of favor in neocon policy circles, who could be footing the bill for Allawi's $300,000 lobbying fees.

[Here's a New Yorker piece on Allawi.]

MORE: Steve Benen suggests an Allawi relative may have "appropriated" some of his current wealth before leaving office.

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