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Ayad Allawi

A'yad Allawi
إياد علاوي
Vice President of Iraq
In office
9 September 2014 – 11 August 2015
President Fuad Masum
Preceded by Khodair al-Khozaei
Succeeded by Office abolished
Prime Minister of Iraq
In office
1 June 2004 – 3 May 2005
President Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer (Acting)
Preceded by Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer (President of the Governing Council)
Succeeded by Ibrahim al-Jaafari
President of the Governing Council of Iraq
In office
1 October 2003 – 31 October 2003
Preceded by Ahmed Chalabi
Succeeded by Jalal Talabani
Personal details
Born (1944-05-31) May 31, 1944 [1]
Adhamiyah-Baghdad, Kingdom of Iraq
Political party Iraqi National Accord (1991-Present)
Other political
Al-Wataniya (December 2012-Present)[2]
Iraqi National Movement (2009-2012)[3]
Alma mater University of London
Profession Neurologist
Religion Shia Islam

Ayad Allawi (Arabic: إياد علاوي‎. Iyād ʿAllāwī; born 1944) is an Iraqi politician who was the interim Prime Minister of Iraq from 2004 to 2005. He was Vice President of Iraq from 2014 to 2015.

A prominent Iraqi political activist who lived in exile for almost 30 years, Allawi, a Shia Muslim, became a member of the Iraq Interim Governing Council, which was established by U.S.-led coalition authorities following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He became Iraq's first head of government since Saddam Hussein when the council dissolved on June 1, 2004 and named him Prime Minister of the Iraqi Interim Government. His term as Prime Minister ended on April 7, 2005, after the selection of Islamic Dawa Party leader Ibrahim al-Jaafari by the newly elected transitional Iraqi National Assembly.[4]

A former Ba'athist, Allawi helped found the Iraqi National Accord, which today is an active political party. In the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the INA provided intelligence about alleged weapons of mass destruction to MI6. Allawi has lived about half of his life in the UK. His wife and children still live in Britain for their security. He survived assassination attempts in 1978, in 2004, and on April 20, 2005.

Allawi's first name is sometimes rendered as Iyad or Eyad.


  • Allawi's early life 1
  • Early political career 2
  • The Iraqi National Accord 3
  • Post-Saddam 4
  • Interim Prime Minister 5
  • Post-Prime Ministership 6
  • Personal life 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Allawi's early life

Allawi was born in 1945 to a prominent Shia merchant family; his grandfather helped to negotiate Iraq's independence from Britain, and his father was an Iraqi Abdul Karim Qassim. In the 1960s, he studied at medical school in Baghdad. He graduated high school from Baghdad College an American Catholic Jesuit high school. Ayad has three children. Allawi is related to Ahmed Chalabi, another prominent former exile and now disgraced though somewhat rehabilitated U.S. ally, through Ahmed's sister. Former minister of trade Ali Allawi is Chalabi's sister's son as well as Iyad Allawi's cousin. The relationship between Chalabi and Allawi has been described as alternating between rivals and allies. In addition, Nouri Badran, interim Minister of Interior, is married to Iyad Allawi's sister.

Early political career

In 1971, he moved to London due to increasing differences with the Ba'ath party and in order to continue his medical education. He resigned from the Ba'ath party in 1975, "having decided that Saddam was exerting too much control over it".[5][6] Allawi himself states that he remained active in the international Ba'athist movement, but had no ties to the Ba'ath Party's Iraqi Regional Branch.

At first Saddam, then Iraq's vice president, pressured Allawi, who was in contact with senior military and party officers that were increasingly critical of Saddam, to rejoin the Ba'ath Party. In 1978, friends told Allawi that his name was on a liquidation list. In February 1978 Allawi was awoken in bed one night by an intruder in his Surrey home, who proceeded to attack him with an axe. The intruder left, convinced that Allawi was dead as he lay in a pool of blood. He survived the attempted murder, and spent the next year in hospital recovering from his injuries. His first wife, Atour, was also wounded in the attack. It is presumed that the attack was an assassination attempt ordered by Saddam Hussein.[7] He separated with his wife after mutual agreement.

The Iraqi National Accord

While still recovering in hospital from the attack, Allawi started organising an opposition network to work against the government of Saddam Hussein. Through the 1980s he built this network, recruiting Iraqis while traveling as a businessman and for the UNDP.

In December 1990, Allawi announced the existence of the

Political offices
Preceded by
Ahmed Chalabi
President of the Governing Council of Iraq
Succeeded by
Jalal Talabani
Preceded by
Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer
as President of the Governing Council of Iraq
Prime Minister of Iraq
Succeeded by
Ibrahim al-Jaafari
Preceded by
Khodair al-Khozaei
Vice President of Iraq
Succeeded by
Office abolished
  • Video on life of Ayad Allawi on YouTube
  • Resources on Ayad Allawi
  • Op-Ed by Allawi published in NY Times November 2007
  • Interview of Allawi with German Der Spiegel - in English
  • Opinion Editorial in Washington Post by Dr Allawi 18/08/2007
  • Personal website of Dr. Ayad Allawi - A vision for all
  • - Ahlulbayt Television Network
  • Website of the National Iraqi List for Dec 15 2005 elections
  • Website of the Iraqi National Accord
  • Text of Allawi's Speech to U.S. Congress, 23 September 2004
  • Dow Jones Newswire, 24 January 2004
  • Profile in The Guardian
  • Transcript of interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, November 25 2007
  • Profile on al-Jazeera
  • The TimesProfile in
  • New YorkerProfile in the
  • Short biography on
  • Profile at SourceWatch
  • Iraqi cleric slams war coverage under Allawi (Monday 23 August 2004, Aljazeera)
  • The strongman of Baghdad (13. November 2004, The Spectator)
  • Ayad Allawi on BBC Doha Debates, November 3, 2007, Doha, Qatar.

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^!cand/c1697
  3. ^
  4. ^ Cave, Damien (2007-08-19). "Maliki hangs on in the absence of a strong alternative in Iraq".  
  5. ^ Anderson, Jon (2005-01-24). "A Man of the Shadows: Can Iyad Allawi hold Iraq together?".  
  6. ^ Hersh, Seymour (2004-06-28). "Plan B: As June 30th approaches, Israel looks to the Kurds".  
  7. ^ "A Big Man To Watch In Baghdad". 2004-02-01. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  8. ^ Ghosh, Bobby (2004-07-05). "The Prime Minister: How Tough Will He Get?". TIME. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  9. ^ Andrew Gilligan "The Strongman of Baghdad" in The Spectator 13 November 2004
  10. ^ "A Big Man To Watch In Baghdad". 2004-02-01. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  11. ^ a b Europe
  12. ^ Leigh, David (January 28, 2004). "Iraqi who gave MI6 45-minute claim says it was untrue". The Guardian (London). Retrieved April 7, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Spy chief regrets '45 minute' Iraq weapons claim". The Age (Melbourne). 2003-09-17. 
  14. ^ Priest, Dana; Wright, Robin (December 11, 2003). "Iraq Spy Service Planned by U.S. To Stem Attacks". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 7, 2010. 
  15. ^ Green Left - Cover Story: IRAQ: US still calls the shots
  16. ^ Shamir, Shlomo (2008-04-02). "Brahimi quits post as UN envoy in Iraq". Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  17. ^ "U.S. Airstrike on Fallujah House Kills 10". 2004-07-06. Archived from the original on 2004-08-20. 
  18. ^ Ghosh, Bobby (2004-07-05). "The Prime Minister: How Tough Will He Get?". TIME. Archived from the original on May 1, 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  19. ^ Karon, Tony (2004-07-07). "Meet Iraq's New Strongman". TIME. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  20. ^ "Fourteen killed in Falluja strike". BBC News. July 18, 2004. Retrieved April 7, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Ex-Iraqi Leader Claims Assassination Attempt". CNN. 2005-12-04. Archived from the original on 2006-01-14. 
  22. ^ McClatchy Washington Bureau | 08/06/2007 | Iraqi government unraveling as more ministers boycott
  23. ^ "INSIDE IRAQ - Iraqi national movement". Al Jazeera English. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  24. ^ Iraq election: Iyad Allawi's bloc wins most seats
  25. ^ Profile: Iyad Allawi


He faced several assassination attempts in England and throughout the Middle-East by agents of Saddam's regime.[25]

Personal life

The 2010 parliamentary election ended up with a weeks-long wait for an announcement of results by the Iraqi Election Commission. The results of the elections finally came on March 26, 2010, when Allawi's Iraqiya bloc was declared the biggest winner of the parliamentary election with two seats surpassing Allawi's rival al-Maliki's party in the Assembly.[24]

The Iraqi National List was represented in the coalition government led by Nouri al-Maliki, but Allawi himself did not take a Cabinet post. The party eventually boycotted the government in 2007.[22] In preparation for upcoming national elections, Allawi formed a new coalition with leading Shia politician Iskander Witwit (one of the leaders of the 1991 uprising against Saddam), Shia tribal Sheikh Hussein al-Shalan, the deputy Prime Minister Raffi al-Essawi, Sunni politician Saleh Mutlaq and Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi called the Iraqi National Movement.[23]

In preparation for the next parliamentary elections that took place in Iraq in December 2005, Allawi formed an alliance between many groups, including secular Sunni and Shia groups and the Iraqi Communist Party under one electoral list (the Iraqi National List).

Post-Prime Ministership

The INA came in at third place in the first elections, with 14% of the vote, which on a party versus coalition makes him head one of the largest represented parties. In the 2010 elections, Allawi's list won the most votes and beat incumbent Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki by 2 seats.

Allawi led the Iraqi National Accord during the January 2005 Iraqi election. His campaign was mainly characterised by his attempt to combat the character assassination that was led by Iranian-sponsored groups. His campaign suffered when he visited the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf on December 4, 2004, where an unknown group attacked him. Allawi claimed that it was an assassination attempt.[21]

During the summer of 2004, Allawi made several decisions seen as controversial at the time, but later worked in his interest as they demonstrated to Iraqis that Allawi did not favour one sect over another, and that he was a strong leader not afraid to use force to bring back the rule of law. Most notably, his decision to support the military incursions of both Najaf and Falluja made him extremely unpopular amongst some Iraqis at the time. He also announced the creation of General Security Directorate, a domestic spy agency, whose main role is to counteract terrorist groups and the Iraqi insurgency.

Allawi's government also wrote a new emergency regulation, which allows the executive branch to declare martial law, impose curfews and detain suspects. Paul Bremer's aides said Allawi lacked the power to impose martial law, and Secretary of State Colin Powell warned that the U.S. would not support such a move. "The last thing we want," says a senior U.S. official, "is for the world to think we're foisting a new strongman on Iraq." [18] Though, in addition to the stick of martial law, the government planned to offer a carrot of a broad amnesty for insurgents who have taken up arms against the U.S.-led occupation forces. Allawi himself has made clear that his government will reach out to Iraqi insurgents who have fought the Coalition for "patriotic motives" while seeking to isolate and destroy foreign elements such as the network led by the Jordanian jihadist Musab al-Zarqawi. Allawi knew that both the Sunni insurgency and the one waged by supporters of Shiite firebrand Moqtada Sadr have significant popular support, while his own government has yet to win the loyalty of Iraqis.[19] On July 18, Iraqi militants offered a $285,000 reward for anyone who could kill Iyad Allawi.[20]

At the time of his nomination, Allawi was often described in the US mainstream media as a moderate Shia, a member of Iraq's majority faith, chosen for his secular, national views. On June 28, 2004 (two days early), the U.S.-led coalition handed over power to Allawi and the Iraqi Interim Government, who were sworn in later that same day. After his interim government assumed legal custody of Saddam Hussein and re-introduced capital punishment, Allawi gave assurances that he would not interfere with the trial and would accept any court decisions. In an interview with Dubai-based TV station al-Arabiya he said: "As for the execution, that is for the court to decide — so long as a decision is reached impartially and fairly."[17]

Allawi meets with U.S. President George W. Bush in New York, 21 September 2004

On May 28, 2004, he was elected unanimously by the Governing Council to be the Interim Prime Minister of Iraq to govern the country beginning with the United States' handover of sovereignty (June 30, 2004) until national elections, scheduled for early 2005. Although many believe the decision was reached largely on the advice of United Nations special envoy to Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi, the New York Times reported that Brahimi only endorsed him reluctantly after pressure from U.S. officials. (In response to a question about the role of the U.S. in Allawi's appointment, Brahimi replied: “I sometimes say, I'm sure he doesn't mind me saying that, Bremer is the dictator of Iraq. He has the money. He has the signature. Nothing happens without his agreement in this country.”[15]) Two weeks later, Brahimi announced his resignation, due to "great difficulties and frustration".[16]

Interim Prime Minister

In December 2003, he flew to CIA headquarters in Langley together with fellow INA official Nouri Badran to discuss detailed plans for setting up a domestic secret service. The agency was to be headed by Badran, a former Ba'athist who served Saddam as an ambassador until 1990, and, controversially, recruited several agents for Saddam's Mukhabarat.[14] When the Iraqi National Intelligence Service was set up in March 2004, its designated director was Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed al-Shehwani, another former Ba'athist exile with ties to INA.

Shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority (the "CPA") was established by the occupying forces in order to administer the country until sovereignty could be restored. The CPA decided to establish a grouping of senior Iraqi politicians to carry out some administrative responsibilities, with a view to giving the occupation a more "Iraqi face". This grouping was referred to as the Governing Council, and was made up of 25 Iraqis that were appointed by the CPA. Allawi was one of those selected to serve on the Governing Council, and held the position of Minister of Defence (although his real responsibilities in that regard were limited considering Iraq remained under occupation). He held the rotating presidency of the interim governing council during October 2003. In April 2004, Allawi reportedly resigned as head of the IGC security committee over concerns of US bombing in Fallujah, according to a letter published in INA's newspaper.[11]


The INA channelled the report from an Iraqi officer claiming that Iraq could deploy its supposed weapons of mass destruction within "45 minutes" to British Intelligence.[12] This claim featured prominently in the September Dossier which the British government released in 2002 to gain public support for the Iraq invasion. In the aftermath of the war, the "45 minute claim" was also at the heart of the confrontation between the British government and the BBC, and the death of David Kelly later examined by Lord Hutton. Giving evidence to the Hutton Inquiry, the head of MI6 Richard Dearlove suggested that the claim related to battlefield weapons rather than weapons of mass destruction.[13]

A military coup was planned for 1996, in which Iraqi generals were to lead their units against Baghdad and remove Saddam Hussein. The CIA supported the plot, code-named DBACHILLES, and added Iraqi officers that were not part of INA. The plan ended in disaster as it had been infiltrated by agents loyal to Saddam. US support was also questionable - requests by the CIA station chief in Amman for American air support were refused by the Clinton administration. Many participants were executed. Lands and factories belonging to the Allawi family were confiscated. Even their graveyard in Najaf was seized, although it was later returned. According to Allawi, his family lost $250M worth of assets.[10] US support for INA continued, receiving $6 million in covert aid in 1996 and $5 million in 1995 (according to books by David Wurmser as well as Andrew and Patrick Cockburn).[11]


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