London, Asharq Al-Awsat-A source close to Al-Iraqiya List’s leader Iyad Allawi has stated that the List’s decision to participate in the government followed telephone calls its leader received from several world leaders, the last of which was from US President Barack Obama the night before yesterday.
The source said “President Obama asked Allawi to head the National Council for Strategic Policies, which is the post for Al-Iraqiya’s leader and not Al-Iraqiya.” He pointed out that the “US Ambassador in Baghdad James Jeffrey conveyed the day before yesterday President Obama’s message to Obama who left the meeting of the political blocs’ leaders and headed to the US ambassador’s residence in the fortified Green Zone.” It added that “the message urged Allawi to accept the new post which has extensive executive powers.”
On his part, Falah al-Naqib, a leading “Al-Iraqiya” figure and former interior minister, said the “council which Allawi will chair will have 20 members, among them Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, and will take the important decisions that concern national security, foreign policy, and whatever affects the country’s future and its decisions must be unanimous.” He pointed out that the “council will be a real watchdog over Al-Maliki’s powers.” But deputies from Al-Maliki’s coalition said “this is not so” and hinted at a coming battle.
Allawi, who was the target of more than 13 assassination attempts, will have protection made up of two regiments from the Iraqi forces and the authority to appoint 100 advisers in the new council, according to authoritative Iraqi sources. It is recalled that Allawi proposed establishing this council in 2005 and wanted its chairmanship as his condition for participating in the government but the prime minister turned it into the Political Council for National Security and rendered useless its functions as planned by “Al-Iraqiya’s” leader.