Iraq ex-premier sees security deteriorating amid political stalemate

Iyad Allawi, a secular politician who is Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s main rival for power in Iraq, warned in an interview with The 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. 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. He made it clear his bloc would not participate in a government headed by Maliki that did not include real power-sharing. He accused Iran of dictating the makeup of Iraq’s next government and warned that a non-inclusive government would cause greater unrest.

How do you view the security after the attacks this week?

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.


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

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.

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

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 last few years. They continue to block me.

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?

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]

Do you think new elections could happen?

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