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Sunday, May 30, 2004



The "handover of sovereignty" sham continues apace with the appointment of Iyad Allawi as the interim Prime Minister of Iraq. Much has been written about his former membership of the Ba'ath Party and his credibility issues among the Iraqi people. Less attention has been paid to his leadership of the Iraqi National Accord (INA). Given the organisation's history this omission seems significant.

The INA was one of the member organisations of the anti-Saddam umbrella group the Iraqi National Congress (INC), led by Ahmad Chalabi (to whom Allawi is related). The INA was made up primarily of ex-Ba'athists and military types who, as the BBC note, "supported the idea of fostering a coup from within the Iraqi army to overthrow Saddam Hussein". This strategy made them popular with the West (they had a direct link to the American administration and received funding from the CIA and Britain's MI6) who had always hoped for what Thomas Friedman described in 1991 as "the best of all worlds", with a military dictatorship like that of Saddam holding the country together, but doing so in the interests of the US and its client states.

In 1994 and 1995 the INA carried out a series of bombings in Baghdad, attacking sites including a cinema, a mosque, outside the offices of a Ba'ath Party paper. Milan Rai points out that these attacks may have killed as many as 100 Iraqi civilians. The bombings were carried out by Abu Amneh al-Khardami, who was recruited from a jail in Iraqi Kurdistan where he was detained for the attempted murder of an INC official. Amneh additionally claimed that he had been instructed to use a car bomb against Chalabi, although he had refused.

Despite Amneh's reluctance, October 1995 saw a major explosion tear through the INC's headquarters in Salahuddin in Kurdistan, resulting in the deaths of 28 people, including the INC's security chief. Three individuals arrested in connection with the attack by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) confessed under what Rai describes as "severe interrogation" to being members of the INA and carrying out the bombing under orders from the INA commander of operations General Adnan Nuri. The CIA carried out an investigation into the bombing, but the results were never released.

This is the organisation Allawi leads and co-founded. What hope for self-determination, democracy, peace, stability and national unity in a country led by such a man? I dread to think.
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