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Saudi Arabia is a Regional and international Balancing Center- Allawi - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Iyad Allawi, leader of the Iraqi National List [Al-Iraqiyah] warned of Electoral fraud in the upcoming parliamentary elections, stating that: “The currently prevailing climate is tense and lacks transparency.” He praised Saudi Arabia’s positive stands toward the “Iraqi people’s issues”, and described Saudi Arabia as “a regional and international balancing center.”

Allawi, who led the first Iraqi government following the fall of the former regime, was speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat by phone from his office in Baghdad. He said: “The current acts of raids, arrests, assassinations, exclusions, and leveling of accusations at random are not based on any judicial decisions or procedures. They are not in line with the required transparent and fair elections.”

The leader of the Iraqi List Said: “The Security Council did not issue a statement on Iraqi elections last week arbitrarily. It stressed the need to hold transparent, legal, comprehensive, and fair elections. This means that no Iraqi group or person who has the right to run in these elections should be excluded or banned.” He added: “This Security Council statement clearly shows that there are doubts about the situation that will prevail on the day of elections.”

Allawi said: “The document of honor that was signed by a number of parliamentary blocs, and which was signed for our list by brother Rafi al-Issawi, emphasized that these and other non-signatory groups must not level accusations at random and must be committed to transparency and fairness. The document also emphasized that the voting process must be healthy and sound. I call for the need to abide by the provisions of this document.”

He added: “Regrettably, the accusations are leveled by groups and figures that use fictitious names, speak in the name of shadowy parties, and issue false statements against others.”

According to a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat by a parliamentary source yesterday, there were reports indicating that some groups, which compete against the Iraqi List, forged pictures, TV films, and audiotapes and said they will release them in the Iraqi market soon. The parliamentary source added that this forged material will move Sunni voters away from the Iraqi List and prompt them not to vote for it.

In reply to a question on these reports, Allawi said: “It is known that advanced technology on the forgery of voices, films, and even pictures is possessed by intelligence agencies of states, not by individuals. It is a huge and advanced technology.”

He added: “I would like to note here that such practices, which confuse the Iraqi voters, regardless of whether they are directed against me or against other candidates, will produce negative results against Iraq and our people. These practices will not contribute to stability in the Iraqi street and in the political process.”

He said that he “counts on the cleverness and discernment of the Iraqis who do not accept lies and falsification anymore.” He added: “It is they who will be the first to uncover this information.”

The leader of the Iraqi List warned: “Violence will return to Iraq again if fair elections are not held. This is especially true in light of the fact that the process began with the exclusion of groups and candidates. And today we hear that the Debathification Committee intends to level a criminal charge at brother Saleh al-Mutlak [leader of the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue] without explaining this charge.”

He said: “We demand that the Iraqi judiciary play its role and investigate these illegal measures. It is unreasonable to invent charges and claim that so-and-so is a killer and so-and-so is terrorist, as was the case with the Jund al-Sama [Soldiers of Heaven] Organization in 2007. At the time, they invented charges that I funded them (Jund al-Sama).”

He added: “They forged audio recordings and testimonies that were extracted under torture and coercion. They sought to air these forged recordings, but officials of the Iraqi Satellite Television Channel at the time refused to air them. Thus, they were removed and punished. Therefore, we insist that the Iraqi judiciary be the arbiter in these cases. We also insist that a highly transparent atmosphere prevail.”

Allawi praised Saudi Arabia’s stand toward the Iraqi people’s issues. He said: “We highly value Saudi Arabia’s stands on the issues of our people. I always recall the Saudi officials’ principled stands and the stand of late King Fahd who hosted more than 30 Iraqi opposition figures, including Shiite and Sunni clergymen, back in 1993. Foremost among them was Bahr-al-Ulum, Masud Barzani, and Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim.”

He added: “At the time, King Fahd proposed to us formation of a national government in Iraqi Kurdistan and said that he would be the first to recognize and deal with it.”

He continued: “The brothers in Saudi Arabia supported Iraqi opposition parties and figures, including leading figures in the [Islamic] Dawa Party. These figures resided there [Saudi Arabia], and I am very surprised today by their attack on us. They created huge uproar because we visited Saudi Arabia as part of an Arab tour that we conducted.”

Allawi said: “I am known for my respect to the Arab states because I am an Arab. I consider these states as our strategic reserve, especially Saudi Arabia because it represents a regional and international clout in the balancing process. This is particularly true because the region suffers tension, beginning with Afghanistan, Somalia, Mauritania, and Sudan and ending with Yemen. Therefore, I communicate with the Arab and Islamic states, and always consider this practice a fundamental requirement, whether I am in or out of government.”

He added: “Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and the Arab Gulf states are eager to preserve Iraqi unity and cohesion because they believe that Iraq’s stability contributes to stability in the entire region.”

The leader of the Iraqi List said: “Instead of blessing such initiatives that are made for the sake of Iraq, Iraqi parties and political figures attacked us, and I say that only what is right will prevail in the end.”

Allawi denied that he announced his candidacy in the elections in order to head the next government. He said: “I did not think of this point and did not introduce myself as head of the next government. In the List, we think of Iraqi unity and cohesion and building a state of institutions that will respect the citizen and the judiciary.”

He noted: “Leadership of the next government will be decided by the results of the elections and a decision by the List and other political groups. As far as we are concerned, what is important is to give priority to the Iraqi national project and consolidation of the political process. All parties must participate in this process in a country that accommodates all Iraqis with their various national, religious, and confessional affiliations.”

Allawi said that the current government’s “practices do not rise to the level of legitimacy and legality.” He added: “It was the responsibility of this government to stop the illegal acts that took place. Also, it should have reinforced the judiciary’s role. Regrettably, however, some parties in the government encourage the continuation of liquidations, exclusions, and arrests.”

Allawi called on “the Iraqis to vote in large numbers in the upcoming elections to keep the opportunity from the forgers and to ensure that the results will represent the Iraqis’ true will in this serious stage in Iraq’s history.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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