Former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi has been trying to engineer a return to power for a while now. His attempts to cobble together a winning coalition across the sectarian divide have been hampered by widespread opinion that he's still a U.S. puppet as much as by internecine Iraqi feuding.
Today, he makes his intentions for power very public - from the pages of the washington post's oped section.
Next month, Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will report to Congress on the situation in my country. I expect that the testimony of these two good men will be qualified and nuanced, as politics requires. I also expect that their assessment will not capture the totality of the tragedy -- that more than four years after its liberation from Saddam Hussein, Iraq is a failing state, not providing the most basic security and services to its people and contributing to an expanding crisis in the Middle East.Illawi's six point plan isn't rocket science. Indeed, it's exactly what most everyone with any sense has been saying Iraq needs for years now.
Let me be clear. Responsibility for the current mess in Iraq rests primarily with the Iraqi government, not with the United States. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has failed to take advantage of the Iraqi people's desire for peaceful and productive lives and of the enormous commitment and sacrifices made by the United States and other nations. The expected "crisis summit" in Baghdad is further evidence of the near-complete collapse of the Iraqi government. The best outcome of the summit is perhaps a renewed effort or commitment for the participants to work together, which may buy a few more weeks or months of cosmetic political activity. But there will be no lasting political reconciliation under Maliki's sectarian regime.
...It is up to Iraqis to end the violence and bring stability, security and democracy to our country. I am working with my colleagues in parliament to build a nonsectarian majority coalition that will support [a] plan for a "new era" in Iraq and replace through democratic means the current Iraqi government.
...It is past time for change at the top of the Iraqi government. Without that, no American military strategy or orderly withdrawal will succeed, and Iraq and the region will be left in chaos.
- A clear withdrawal timetable for U.S. troops and full sovereign partnership for Iraq in all decisions.
- Reconstitution of Iraq's security forces to remove sectarianism, and the dissolving of militias piecemeal into those security forces.
- Greater UN and regional involvement.
- Keeping Iraq together as a federal state with a strong capital.
- Restoration of the most basic infrastructure such as reliable electricity, running and potable water, and basic health care.
Indeed, they all make so much sense, one has to wonder why none have been delivered in the last five years. That's the hill Allawi has to climb if his bif for power is to be successful - explaining why he can deliver when all others have failed.
But I'm not at all certain choosing the WaPo to make his bid so overt will help his case.