Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Back to 'Saddam without a mustache'

The true measure of the overwhelming Iraqi tragedy is that people in Baghdad are now yearning for an ersatz Saddam Hussein. For many, former premier Iyad Allawi is just such a man. "We have cooperation with all national groups," Allawi's spokesman tells Pepe Escobar. What he does not say is that Allawi also has the support of the US.

By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times

".....Allawi used to be referred to in Baghdad as "Saddam without a mustache". The ex-Ba'athist and former darling of US and British intelligence also became "the butcher of Fallujah" after ordering the massive assault on the Sunni resistance stronghold in November 2004. Not to mention his push against Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's followers in Najaf, also in 2004.....

....To this end Allawi is even talking to the Sadrists. Ibtisan al-Awadi, a former member of Parliament for the Iraqi List, which has four ministers, is the negotiator in charge.

The development is quite surprising, considering the extremely strained relationship between Allawi and Muqtada because of the attack on Najaf. But the fact is nobody at the moment - except for the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and the Da'wa Party - seems to be supporting Maliki.....

Allawi has been to Saudi Arabia building alliances - unlike Maliki, who has been snubbed by King Abdullah. Allawi travels as much as most Iraqi politicians, who spend most of their time in Cairo, Amman, Damascus or, for that matter, London. Not bad for a hefty US$15,000-a-month salary. During recent festivities, members of Parliament received "gifts" to the tune of almost $60,000 each.

Shabander (Allawi's spokesman) sounded like an Israeli politician when he argued Allawi's point for defending the Adhamiyah wall that is being built by US forces to separate Sunnis and Shi'ites. "This is not a wall; it's a partition barrier that the security forces find useful for controlling who enters and who exits a dangerous zone. It's not an isolated wall. People who are against the wall are just blowing it out of proportion." This "against the wall" crowd happens to include the population of Adhamiyah itself......"

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