Commentary on the economic , geopolitical and simply fascinating things going on. Served occasionally with a side of snark.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Iraq Updates ( July 6 , 2014 ) , including the political state of play and civil war updates .......Lead article to consider " ISIS Attack Planned In Amman " ----- While the US / Jordan / Turkey and other countries have voiced concerns over the ISIS campaign launched by the taking of Mosul , was the ISIS attack planned in Amman , Jordan ( with the full knowledge of the US , Israel , Jordan , Turkey and the Saudis ? And was the KDP in the know as well ? Was Chalabi sent to discourage Kurd support od ISIS - by Iran ? )
It has emerged that the recent ISIS assault on Iraq was planned at a meeting in the Jordanian capital of Amman.
According to the Özgür Gündem newspaper, the secret meeting was attended by the KDP and Ba'athists and took place with the knowledge of the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey on 1 June, 8 days before the attack on Mosul began.
The article in Özgür Gündem has exposed the forces behind the Iraq plans of ISIS. According to the article, the ISIS plan to capture Mosul and advance on Baghdad was formulated at a meeting in Amman on 1 June.
The meeting was attended by many influential organisations and figures in the world of Middle East politics.
The Özgür Gündem newspaper based its story on a copy of the document shown to their correspondent by a diplomat with years of experience in the Middle East. The diplomat told the reporter that the document had been sold to Iraqi officials for $4 million.
Those who attended the meeting
The diplomat said that Iran had been made aware of the meeting and had threatened the President of South Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani.
The diplomat, who preferred to remain anonymous, listed the attendees as follows: King Abdullah of Jordan's representative and intelligence chief Salih Kelob; Azad Berwari, on behalf of the KDP (it has emerged he went to Damascus to meet Bashar Assad during the ISIS encirclement of Kobane) and an assistant of Massoud Barzani named as Jouma; various sections of the Ba'ath Party;
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, leader of the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order, known as Saddam's right hand man;
Jaish al-Mujahideen representatives Amid Rukun and Abu Mahir; a person by the name of Seyfeddin on behalf of the Ansar al-Islam organisation led by Mele Kerakar, and representatives of other Islamist organisations, some of them north African.
Iran threatens KDP
The diplomat claimed that Massoud Barzani had been in Amman 4 days before the meeting took place, and had played a role in the build up to the meeting.
On hearing about the meeting the Iranians had sent Ahmet Chalabi (the person who told the Americans that Saddam had chemical weapons) to tell Barzani to withdraw his support for ISIS, and that he would regret a failure to do so.
Iran told Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki that they would provide him with military back up and that he would not need to ask the US.
Following the ISIS attack on Mosul the KDP raided the Iraqi 12th army in Kirkuk and seized all their weapons and equipment.
It is said that the PUK Peshmerga Commander Sheikh Jafari turned a blind eye to this. It is said that the PUK's recent discomfort with the KDP is due to the KDP's wish to take Kirkuk from the PUK.
The diplomat, a Middle East expert, said: "Israel and the US, who are in favour of continuing chaos in Syria, see benefits in this chaos spreading across the region. The US and Israel may produce a solution out of the clash of different, uncontrolled forces. This is their approach."
The role of Salafists
The diplomat said that the situation in Iraq provided a suitable environment for the advance centred on ISIS. Responding to a question regarding the relationship of the Salafist movement to this plan, the diplomat said: "this plan also addresses the strategic aims of many Salafist movements. One of its aims is to draw more forces in the Middle East into conflict."
What is Turkey's role in this plan?
The diplomat continued: "Turkey and Saudi Arabia want to widen the conflict in Syria throughout the region for both sectarian and political considerations."
New situation in the Middle East
According to the diplomat, recent developments indicate the existence of a new 'strategic' situation in the region. He added that there were three possible outcomes: "either a new map of Iraq will emerge, which will affect the whole region. Or a new equilibrium will be achieved, although it would still not be the old Iraq. Or conflict will intensify and continue." He said it was unlikely any of these outcomes would emerge soon, adding, regarding ISIS taking consular staff hostage in Mosul: "Everyone has their own ISIS, but Turkey did not imagine ISIS would do this."
5th July: Rumour spreads that Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi is killed in airstrikes near the Syrian border and has been taken to Syria for medical treatment. Daash disputes this and releases a video of Baghdadi addressing Friday worshippers in Mosul. The government in Baghdad calls the video a fake.
5th July: Two civilians are killed and six injured when two car bombs go off in Basra, Southern Iraq. The number killed is later reported to be eight.
5th July: Two senior army figures Ali Ghaydan (commander of Land Forces) and Mohsin al-Kaabi (Commander of federal Forces) are to be retired.
6th July: Hussein Firas al-Mashhadani, the Amir of Al Qaida in Iraq is killed by security forces in Iraq.
6th July: The police chief of Thi Qar, in the south of Iraq, has sent reinforcements to the west and north of Iraq. Hassan al Zaydi, the police chief, has stated that this in response to the call made by Sistani.
6th July: Twenty rebels are killed by security personnel when they attempted to bomb a government building of Salahuddin province in Tikrit.
6th July: In possibly a first, an official within Daash and two of his security detail are killed when a car they are travelling in is hit by an IED in north east Baqouba, Diyala.
6th July: A parliament session of Iraqi Kurdistan will be held on Monday to discuss the acute shortage of fuel and petroleum products being faced in Kurdish cities.
6th July: Masoud Barzani has told a German newspaper that according to him the partition of Iraq is inevitable. He stated that people in the region have an ethnic or religious identity but no national identity. He blamed Maliki and his ignoring of important issues that has led to this impasse. He also referred to the improving of relations between Turkey and Kurdistan over the last 10 years and stated that Turkey is now a "good neighbour" of Kurdistan."
6th July: The Iraqi Defence Ministry has sent a tank battalion to help government forces fight rebels in Jurf al-Sakher, north of Babel.
6th July: The National Coalition, the largest parliamentary block and a coalition of a Shi'a parties, is to hold a meeting today to decide on their Prime Ministerial candidate. The Kurdish and Sunni block have withheld the name of the President and Speaker until such time as the candidate for Prime Minister is announced.
6th July: Sameera al Mousavi of the State of Law coalition calls on the National Alliance to seek Sistani's guidance in forming the next government.
6th July: Former Prime Minister of Iraq, Iyad Allawi, has met Turkish officials in Istanbul and has called on Iraq neighbours to work towards Iraqi unity. He has also asked Maliki to step down and withdraw from the post of Prime Minister.
6th June: Qatar based Muslim Britherhood/regime cleric, Al-Qaradawi, has called the declaration of caliphate by Baghdadi of The DI of Daash as invalid and detrimental to the Islamic cause.
6th July: Indian press is reporting that the Indian government took the help of the US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar and their line to Daash in Syria to secure the release of the trapped nurses in Iraq.
6th July: DI of Daash issues passports guaranteeing protection to its citizens. Abu Bakr Baghdadi is seen wearing a Rolex watch during his Friday Sermon.
6th July: Nickolay Mladenov, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General discusses the situation in Iraq with Ammar Al-Hakim of the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council and confirms UN support for Iraq
6th July: Three civilians are killed by mortar shells in North eastern Baqouba. The shells were allegedly fired by Daash.
6th July: Atta's/Government claims for the day:
Government carries out air strikes against rebel targets in Tal Afar, Northern Iraq, and reports killing a number of fighters
The government has attacked and destroyed eight vehicles belonging to rebels outside of Baiji refinery and killing the occupants as well
The government's 2nd Brigade has seized explosives, grenades and a mine in the Rashidiya area of Baghdad
The government has attacked a rebel convoy in Fallujah destroying five vehicles and killing their occupants
6th July: The al Nusra stronghold of Shuheli in Eastern Syria falls to Daash on Thursday. It expels 60000 residents from Shuheli and neighbouring towns.
Comparing General Soliemani to Soze and Karla with very little facts and a lot of fiction:
The meltdown of American and British policy in Iraq and Syria attracts surprisingly little criticism at home. Their aim for the past three years has been get rid of Bashar al-Assad as ruler of Syria and stabilise Iraq under the leadership of Nouri al-Maliki. The exact reverse has happened, with Mr Assad in power and likely to remain so, while Iraq is in turmoil with the government’s authority extending only a few miles north and west of Baghdad.
By pretending that the Syrian opposition stood a chance of overthrowing Mr Assad after the middle of 2012, and insisting that his departure be the justification for peace talks, Washington, London and Paris have ensured that the Syrian civil war would go on. “I spent three years telling them again and again that the war in Syria would inevitably destabilise Iraq, but they paid no attention,” the Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told me last week. I remember in the autumn of 2012 a senior British diplomat assuring me that talk of the Syrian war spreading was much exaggerated.
Now the bills are beginning to come in, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), declaring a caliphate in northern Iraq and Syria. He has called on all Muslims to pledge allegiance to the Islamic state and effectively denied the legitimacy of Muslim rulers throughout the world. No wonder Saudi Arabia has moved 30,000 troops to guard its 500-mile-long border with Iraq. There is a certain divine justice in this, since until six months ago the Saudis were speeding jihadists in the general direction of Syria and Iraq but is now dreading their return.
The success of Isis depends on its ability to win spectacular victories against the odds and not on its primeval and brutal ideology. Victory in battle is what makes it attractive to young Sunni recruits and it can also afford to pay them. It cannot sit on its laurels for long but needs to secure the territories it has taken and make sure that its Sunni allies – tribal, Baathist, former members of Saddam’s army – who joined it to fight against Mr Maliki will not find the new masters worse than the old and change sides. Isis has moved swiftly to prevent this by demanding that the allies swear allegiance to the caliphate and give up their weapons. But beyond that Isis must show that success at Mosul was not a flash in the pan. As Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi put it last week: “There is no deed better than jihad, so to arms, to arms, soldiers of the Islamic state, fight, fight.”
The Baghdad government is hopeful that the White House will ultimately use drones against Isis convoys even if it will not allow air strikes by fixed wing aircraft called in by American forward air controllers on the ground. Drones are particularly appealing to politicians because they appear to maximise damage to the enemy without American loss of life which might anger voters back home. It is true that roving Isis columns of trucks packed with fighters and heavy machine guns have proved effective so far. One Iraqi official compared them to “Arab raiders of old who would strike at caravans and then quickly withdraw”. But the core Isis military leadership is experienced Iraqi military professionals who will make sure their men don’t make easy targets. Even so, any American military action, however, limited will buoy up the faltering morale of the Iraqi army.
The US is pleased with the way drones have worked in Yemen and Waziristan against small groups of al-Qa’ida-associated groups. But these isolated gangs are not a serious threat compared with what is brewing in Syria and Iraq, where there will soon be tens of thousands of trained, well-equipped and fanatical militants under a strong central command.
But there is one important aspect of drone warfare to which Washington has not given enough attention. Drones have hitherto been used largely against ill-equipped tribespeople in isolated parts of the world and not against well-organised groups such as Isis. The latter may not be able to do much against drones at the moment they strike, but it will certainly retaliate later against American or European targets. Sunni are attracted by the idea – and Hezbollah in Lebanon have the same attraction for Shia – that here at last is a Sunni military organisation that can fight and win, however toxic its beliefs and behaviour. Faith expressed through war and death is at the heart of jihadism, so drone strikes will inevitably bring retaliation.
Another round in the war in Iraq is gathering strength. Isis and its allies have succeeded easily because of the dysfunctional nature of the Iraqi army and because they have been advancing almost entirely through sympathetic Sunni-dominated areas. It is now up against Shia militia and is coming into mixed or Shia neighbourhoods where it will be resisted. But Iraq more than most countries is dominated by its capital with its seven million people, and Isis may want to establish that it has Baghdad under the gun, even if it cannot capture it.
The US, Britain, France and their allies still do not have a policy to counter Isis. Washington is trying to do now what it should have done in 2010 when it could have got rid of Mr Maliki. Smugly triumphant at the time at besting the Americans in Iraq, the Iranians made the same mistake in thinking that Mr Maliki was the safest bet for them, without realising the degree to which his effort to monopolise power was degrading the Iraqi state and armed forces and enraging the Sunni minority.
While the Americans imagine the Iranians are full of devious plots, they are, in fact, aghast at what has happened. “They don’t want to overextend themselves,” said an Iraqi politician I asked about Iranian policy. “They are waiting for the Americans to do something.”
The Iranians have started acting in Iraq, though they have not committed many people. They are trying repeat their tactics in Syria, which is to create a parallel army out of the militias to buttress or replace the regular Iraqi army. They openly say they are doing so. But there is another aspect of their Syrian strategy which shows signs of appearing in Iraq and is bad news for Iraqis. This is to cut off electricity and water to rebel areas and pulverise any town or city held by the enemy with shellfire and bombing without assaulting it, but forcing the civilian population to flee; then advance cautiously and try to encircle enemy positions with checkpoints so they can be gradually strangled.
This appears to be what is happening in Tikrit, the birthplace of Saddam Hussein and a city of 200,000 on the Tigris river. The city centre is being systematically smashed according to eyewitnesses, and any point of resistance is pounded by artillery. Iraqi security officials say they believe they have a good chance of clearing Salahuddin province of which Tikrit is the capital, but they admit that recapturing Mosul will take a long time. Meanwhile, Isis has started bulldozing Shia shrines and religious buildings, opening the door to a ferocious religious war.
“The fighting is going on and we cannot say that the YPG or the ISIS have taken or lost this or that area,” Bashar told Rudaw by telephone. “The fighting isn’t over yet.” Photo: YPG/Facebook
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region - The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), buoyed by its recent capture of a large swathe of Iraq, has renewed an offensive across the border in Syria against territory held by Kurdish forces.
Kurdish officials in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) reported fresh fighting in recent days as ISIS sought to advance on the city of Kobane using advanced weapons that its fighters captured from the Iraqi army in the fall of Mosul last month.
ISIS on June 30 declared the establishment of an Islamic state, spanning the border of the two countries, and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to be the new caliph.
So far in the Syrian civil war, Kurdish forces linked to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) have fought hard to hold off the advance of ISIS and other jihadist groups. They have succeeded in keeping the militants out of Rojava and have secured relative stability within the region. It has thus been spared the devastation inflicted on much of the rest of Syria.
Amid the renewed fighting, the head of the autonomous Kobane canton, Mahmud Bashar, called on all Kurds to come to the aid of the PYD’s armed wing - the People’s Protection Units (YPG) - to prevent the territory falling to the Islamists.
“The fighting is going on and we cannot say that the YPG or the ISIS have taken or lost this or that area,” Bashar told Rudaw by telephone. “The fighting isn’t over yet.”
Shelling had forced many villagers west of the Euphrates river to flee their homes and seek shelter in Kobane.
“The villagers have sent their women and children to Kobane and the men themselves have taken up arms to fight the ISIS,” Bashar said.
Neither side has revealed casualties in the latest fighting.
The PYD last year announced Kurdish autonomy in three cantons of Rojava, including Kobane. The party, which has close links with Abdullah Ocalan’s Kurdistan Workers’ Party, says it has established an administration that represents all communities in the region. There have been tensions, however, with other Kurdish groups over the dominant role of the PYD.
The autonomous cantons have not been recognised either abroad or by the moderate mainstream Syrian opposition which sees their establishment as a move that could lead to the break up of Syria.
With Rojava once again under pressure from a resurgent ISIS, local military leaders have appealed for international support to see off the threat.
YPG leaders have said that they need outside help to fight the Islamists, pointing out that the U.S. government is considering millions of dollars of support to what it regards as moderate opposition forces in Syria.
YPG commander Sipan Hemo complained recently that Washington had yet to make clear where it stood on the role of the Kurds in Syria. He told Rudaw: “If the goal truly is for democracy to come to the Middle East, and if the moderate forces in Syria are going to be supported, the Kurds are prepared for this and are the ones who deserve it the most.”
Anbar Tribal Leader: Maliki Is ‘More Dangerous’ Than ISIS
Chief of the powerful Dulaim tribe in Ramadi, Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman. Photo: Rudaw
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman, 43, is one of Anbar province’s most influential tribal sheikhs and is chief of the powerful Dulaim tribe in Ramadi.
Suleiman is founding member of the Anbar Salvation Council, a key group in the Sunni Awakening that collapsed after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to include the group in state and military institutions. As the leader of Anbar’s Tribes Revolutionary Council, he is a key leader in the Anbar insurgency and a sharp critic of Maliki. As early as 2006, he became a leader in mobilizing Sunni Arab rebels against Al-Qaeda.
In an exclusive interview with Rudaw, Suleiman claimed the Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS) and Iraq’s Sunni Arab tribes have drastically different philosophies. He says that armed tribes can easily push out ISIS but that Maliki must first leave office.
Rudaw: How will things pan out with the Islamic State (formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS) if Nouri al-Maliki is no longer in power?
I believe that Maliki is responsible for ISIS coming to Iraq.
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman: I’m very surprised by the media attention the so-called Islamic State has received. We don’t care if ISIS scares other nations. Our experience in Anbar with Al-Qaeda in 2006 is a perfect example of our ability to deal with ISIS. We’ve postponed fighting ISIS until we get rid of Nouri al-Maliki. As for the Anbar tribes, we consider Maliki to be more dangerous than ISIS.
I believe that Maliki is responsible for ISIS coming to Iraq; the evidence is that he freed scores of detainees in Abu Ghraib and Badush prisons.
Rudaw: Is it true that ISIS in Mosul asked the rest of the armed groups to join them and operate under their sole command?
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman: ISIS’s growth in Iraq is very dangerous and they don’t believe in the political process. Iran contributed to and has supported ISIS’s expansion in Iraq; Iran’s intelligence has clearly played a role in promoting ISIS.
Rudaw: In an alliance between the rebel tribes and ISIS, who then makes the decisions or gives military orders: you or ISIS?
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman: Rebel tribes have no alliance with ISIS because they don’t believe in the concept of tribes. ISIS only tries to exploit the name of the tribes because of our revolution. We fundamentally disagree with ISIS’s military vision. For example we have in the past released many of Maliki’s soldiers and prisoners. We helped shelter and treat the wounded and opened the door for dialogue with everyone. This isn’t ISIS’s philosophy, as it doesn’t believe in any kind of dialogue.
Rudaw: Who leads the military operations on the ground: the tribes or ISIS?
Rebel tribes have no alliance with ISIS because they don’t believe in the concept of tribes.
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman: ISIS has created a successful media campaign and even took advantage of social networking sites to promote themselves as if they’re in control on the ground. But this isn’t the case: we have control of the land. We have a quite different policy and approach from that of ISIS.
The rebels are the ones who started the revolution, and then ISIS came in to take advantage of those victories on the ground. This is what happened in Mosul.
Maliki’s unjust policies forced people to accept ISIS. The point is that Maliki’s tyranny and the lack of strong leadership forced some Sunni cities to accept ISIS over Maliki’s sectarian government.
Rudaw: Do you think that in the future fighting will break out between the tribes and ISIS?
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman: As we have stated to the international community and the United Nations, we’re opposed to terrorism and won’t accept it. If it comes from ISIS, we will confront them in the future. We just want the revolution’s international support and recognition; it was a popular revolution led by Arab tribes that came out against the tyrant (Maliki) who has fueled injustices against a particular group of people: the Sunni Arabs of Iraq. As for ISIS, as time will show they aren’t any match against rebel tribes.
Rudaw: What about the next stage of this war, especially given that rebels are threatening to take the battle to Baghdad?
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman: Obama, in one of his recent speeches, spoke about protecting Baghdad as if Baghdad is currently the only place under threat. Maliki also said that Baghdad was a red line. We say that there is no red line for tribal rebels. However, we don’t want Baghdad nor do we want to threaten security. We just want our rights, and if we attain them all of this will end.
We call on Obama and the international community to remove Maliki in order to form a government that represents all people, without discrimination.
Rudaw: What are the goals of the revolution?
We call on Obama and the international community to remove Maliki in order to form a government that represents all people, without discrimination.
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman: We want to remove Maliki and form a national salvation government to administer the country until elections are held. Of course, this isn’t in line with Maliki’s vision — he recently said a national salvation government would be a coup against the constitution. Maliki has forgotten that he is the one who turned on the constitution. Ayad Allawi won the previous election but Maliki manipulated the constitution and became prime minister. The other important issue is that Maliki isn’t only the prime minister; he is the minister of defense, interior, the federal court and all state agencies are under his command and authority.
As for the revolution’s objectives: we wanted to achieve our goals constitutionally and in a civilized manner through our yearlong sit-ins and without inciting violence. But Maliki didn’t acknowledge our demands and this forced us to take up arms. Now we have more than 2 million displaced families; our homes and cities have been destroyed by explosives; and Maliki has brought militias who are flooding our cities and country and don’t even speak Arabic.
Another one of our goals is to establish a federal state, which is part of our platform and isn’t a new idea.
Our primary goals are regaining our civic rights and to not be treated like a minority. We didn’t approve the current constitution and it needs to be changed and amended. We want anti-terrorism laws to be absolved, including article 4. (Article 4 is an anti-terror clause under which many Sunnis have been imprisoned.) We also want detainees released and a fair share of ministerial posts, given that Maliki only wants Sunni Arabs as slaves.
We must ask the question: why is there a revolution and why did we take up arms? It’s because Maliki robbed us of our rights. Also, Sunni Arab politicians failed to represent the people, so we are going to form a political interface, a real representation, and participate effectively in the political process.
Nouri al-Maliki always twists the constitution as he wants. Initially we rejected forming regions or federal states, but the Shiites were the ones who wrote the constitution and put the federal paragraph. Now we ask for federalism to protect our rights.
Rudaw: What is the strength of the private Shiite militia group, particularly Asaib Ahl al-Haq?
These militias are deliberately threatening people; they commit treachery and kidnap innocent people.
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman: These militias are deliberately threatening people; they commit treachery and kidnap innocent people. Their leader Qais al-Khazali’s threat against Iraqi sects doesn’t even deserve a response.
Rudaw: Who are the rebel tribes or armed groups fighting now?
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman: First they are the sons of true tribes and their affiliates, including many armed factions. For example the Islamic Army, the Naqshbandi Army, police officers who defected and stood alongside their people, and former experienced army officers who train and lead attacks and military operations.
Rudaw: How confident are you that you can stop ISIS?
Sheikh Hatem al-Suleiman: Our experience in expelling Al-Qaeda in 2006 is the best evidence. The ISIS issue will end easily once we get rid of Nouri al-Maliki.
Incidentally, ISIS doesn’t even represent 7 or 10 percent of the fighters. The only thing ISIS has ownership of is suicide bombers.
The goal of this revolution isn’t to have the Baath Party return to power. We do not aspire to be a Sunni government and a regime.
In addition, ISIS can’t be allowed to become a tool for avenging Sunni injustices because sooner or later ISIS will brutalize Sunnis as well. We won’t give up on our cause, as we just want our stolen rights back.
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi called on incumbent Nuri al-Maliki on Saturday to give up his bid for a third term in power or risk the dismemberment of Iraq.
Maliki on Friday rejected a chorus of such calls since militants of a group now calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rampaged through swathes of Iraq and declared a mediaeval-style caliphate in land they control in Iraq and neighboring Syria.
“I think it is time for Mr Maliki to leave the scene,” Allawi told Reuters in an interview in Istanbul.
“If he stays on, I think there will be significant problems in the country and a lot of troubles. I believe that Iraq would go the route of dismemberment, ultimately, if this happens.
“Definitely there will be more violence, the security situation will deteriorate,” added Allawi, a secular Shiite who took 21 seats in April’s national election with his secular bloc. During his political career Allawi has drawn support heavily from disaffected Sunnis, who have felt excluded from power during Maliki's rule.
Maliki’s statement on Friday will complicate efforts to form a new government to unite the ethnically and religiously divided country, something parliament failed to achieve this week. It extends a political deadlock made all the more dangerous by the pressing threat to Iraq's territorial integrity.
Allawi said Iraq needed a road map that prioritized reconciliation and the building of institutions, and that this was more important than the issue of who will be the next prime minister.
“It is not a matter of changing faces. It is a matter of agreeing on a road map, to get Iraq from where it is now to a brighter future. I think this road map should incorporate two important areas.
“One is the issue of reconciliation. The second is starting to lay down the ground to build the institutions of the state,” he added.
‘Still hope’ for Iraq
The leaders of the various political factions needed to create a government of national unity committed to such a road map, he said.
Allawi, who met Turkish officials during his visit, also called for a meeting of Iraq’s neighbors with the aim of preserving its unity and preventing the conflict spreading to other places.
He also criticized the government’s response to the insurgency, saying more stress should be put on intelligence work and political engagement with Iraq’s other communities, and that military activity should focused on “surgical attacks” by special forces.
“The element of using army and aircraft to hit at provinces cannot distinguish between civilian groups and military or terrorist groups; this can be very dangerous and backfire on the political situation,” he said.
Allawi said he believed there was “still hope” for Iraq to survive as a unified state.
“It’s not too late,” he said. “I believe we should reverse the situation, otherwise the country will drift into being dismembered, one way or another.”
For years Allawi has been an outspoken critic of Maliki, whom he has accused of acting like Saddam Hussein in trying to silence opposition.