Cole Interview Of Ali Allawi In

Cole interview of Ali Allawi in Chronicle

My interview with Ali Allawi, author of The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace is temporarily available at the Chronicle of Higher Education at this special site for non-subscribers.

Excerpt:

Cole: Is the Iraqi government as it is now constituted really viable? Can it be expected to assert itself any time soon, given that it is internally deeply divided and has a weak, inexperienced, and often reluctant military and a police force wracked with corruption and absenteeism? Is there any chance that an international peacekeeping and reconstruction force could help shore it up in a way that the U.S. has not been able to?

Allawi: The Iraqi government relies on its continuity in power on deals made by its principal components, the Shia United Iraqi Alliance, the Kurdistan Front, the secular Iraqiya list [associated with the former interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi], and the Sunni Tawafuq bloc, which were brokered by the U.S. Embassy. So far this uneasy coalition, misleadingly called the “national unity” government, has remained mostly intact despite defections from the UIA and some rumblings inside the Tawafuq. A great deal depends on the position of the U.S., which has huge influence on the Kurds, the Sunni-led groups inside the governing coalition, and elements of the UIA.

So far the U.S. has continued to support the Maliki government, even though it is extremely uncomfortable generally about Shia Islamists in power. The risks of jettisoning the Maliki government at this stage are simply too high. That might change, however, and political rivals to Maliki are hovering around trying to fashion a new governing parliamentary majority if the security situation is not stabilized or more defections from the UIA take place. In spite of all the risks ahead, I believe the Maliki government will continue in power as a weak and divided government simply because of the absence of a credible alternative from within the current parliamentary majority. ‘

Read the whole thing .

Allawi put forward a peace plan for Iraq last winter.

Allawi served as minister of Trade and of defense in the appointed government of the Interim Governing Council 2003-2004.