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Allawi and the Amazing Return - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Yes it is an amazing return for Dr. Iyad Allawi. I was never surprised at the prospect of Allawi’s return as he is a veteran in the political field through the gateway of elections and under a comprehensive nationalist banner. But that’s not all; the Iraqi political scene – which I praised a few days ago in an article as it is marginalizing [certain] leaderships and has restored the hope that Iraq will not go down the same road as Lebanon – has produced for us new satirical dimensions, even if they only last for a matter of moments.

As the preliminary election results come together – and the Rule of Law Coalition headed by Nuri al Maliki said that it had swept the elections – some affiliated to al Maliki began to talk about the majority having the right to form the government, rejecting any doubts about the election results; in fact Iran rushed to send its congratulations! But when it emerged that Allawi’s coalition was in the lead or that [the two coalitions] were neck and neck, those affiliated to al Maliki demanded a recount and began talking about “blatant fraud!” This is funny, but it indicates that there will be complications in the formation of government, as there is no majority for al Maliki and no marginalization of Allawi.

Let us state here that the discussion about Allawi is not out of support nor is it favoritism, as at the end of the day Allawi is still a politician with his own [political] accounts…we might agree with him one day and disagree with him the next. It wasn’t easy when I first met him, nevertheless we will try to present a realistic interpretation of what happened; the number of people expecting that Allawi was finished increased, however I did not touch on that [subject] for around four years, as every time I met him I found that he was working on a clear program and that he seemed to be a dreamer however the elections today tell us that the dream is getting closer to coming true.

Allawi’s opponents did not spare him; they said that he was isolated and conceited, whilst his friends had doubts, especially when he reached a dead end with George W. Bush and began to openly criticize Bush and his policies regarding Iraq and specifically when Allawi sent a letter in which he objected to the US administration at the time, as I had heard from some people [back then] that Allawi’s arrogance had reached its limit. Today Allawi is back through the gateway of secularism that has convinced many people (and we say “many” based on the election results) that it is a guarantee for Iraq and the Iraqis whether they are Sunnis or Shia or otherwise and that he is a man who believes in reconciliation, and the necessity of making Iraq play an active role in the region. If you find these qualities in an enemy then you should ally yourself with him let alone in an Iraqi who believes that the nation is above everybody and for everybody.

In an article published in Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday, the ex-president of the former Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev wrote about ‘Perestroika Lost’ in which he considered the number of mistakes that were committed and weakened the country. He wrote: “We, the reformers, made mistakes that cost us, and our country, dearly,” and the biggest mistake was “acting too late to reform the Communist Party,” adding that “we made other mistakes, too. In the heat of political battles we lost sight of the economy, and people never forgave us for the shortages of everyday items…”

This is the problem with Iraq and what it needs…reform, reconciliation, and providing for the everyday needs of Iraqis whether Allawi or al Maliki is prime minister. Apart from that the Iraqis are saying provide us with the basics and God will take care of the rest. Therefore we say Allawi is back and his return is worthy of praise.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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