Ayad Allawi’s Comeback Plan

Former Iraqi Prime Minister and CIA asset Ayad Allawi kicks his campaign up a notch to get restored to the premier’s office in an op-ed for the *Washington Post*, in which he outlines a plan for Iraq.
allawi_narrowweb__200x266.jpgWhat’s the plan? (Other than returning Allawi to power, of course.) First: fawn over the United States as having little blame for the problems in Iraq. Second, harshly criticize Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for sectarianism and being unable to organize a two-car parade. (Totally justified charges, by the way.) Three: Know which way the political winds in Washington are blowing and suggest a withdrawal of American troops over the next two years and a change in mission before that.
After that, it’s mostly details. Declare a state of emergency in Iraq (which was pretty much the *status quo* under Allawi) and absorb the various Sunni and Shi’ite militias into the security forces. Allawi comes out strongly against a loose confederation model for Iraq and praises the Kurds for their democracy. It’s an op-ed long on verbiage, but short on specifics. Just how will he incorporate the militias into a non-sectarian command structure? How will he “empower local and provincial institutions at the expense of sectarian politics and an all-powerful and overbearing Baghdad”? No clue. One of the few specifics: The ex-Ba’athist calls for the reversal of the de-Ba’athification law.
[Here you can read an interview I did with Allawi while he was still in office back in 2004.

Lebanon: One year later

This week marked the anniversary of the end of last summer’s war between Hezbollah and Israel. It was a stupid war, as most wars are, but the end of the conflict on Aug. 14, 2006 after 34 days of fighting saw a defiant Hezbollah and a chastened Israeli military. The day also saw a flattened Lebanon and a United States policy for the region in tatters. It was a disaster for almost everyone involved.
But a year later, it’s a good idea to come back and take a look at who really won the war and who lost. Where do all the major players stand and how significant was the “divine victory”?
There’s little doubt that Hezbollah came out of the war politically stronger, at least initially. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, had Lebanon in the palm of his hand, which is another way of saying he had it by the balls.

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