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Viewing cable 10BAGHDAD290, ALLAWI CRITICIZES PM MALIKI'S AUTHORITARIAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10BAGHDAD290 2010-02-04 13:01 2010-12-05 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGB #0290/01 0351317
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 041317Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6448
INFO RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ2// PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC//NSC// PRIORITY
O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 000290 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/04/2020 
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM LE IR IZ
SUBJECT: ALLAWI CRITICIZES PM MALIKI'S AUTHORITARIAN 
TENDENCIES AND DENOUNCES IRANIAN INTERFERENCE 

REF: A. BAGHDAD 278 
B. BAGHDAD 285 
C. BAGHDAD 153 

Classified By: MINISTER-COUNSELOR FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS GARY A. GRAPPO 
FOR REASONS 1.4 (b) and (d). 

1. (C) SUMMARY AND COMMENT: Iraqiyya coalition leader Ayad 
Allawi told A/DCM on February 2 that the Accountability and 
Justice Commission's (AJC) effort to eliminate candidates on 
de-Ba'athification grounds was symptomatic of a broader 
problem of intimidation in the Iraqi political system. He 
attributed this intimidation to PM Maliki's "centralizing, 
authoritarian" tendencies, citing as proof the PM's recent 
intervention in the Salah ad-Din provincial dispute and 
widespread arrests of political rivals over the last year. 
Allawi shared details of his recent meeting with Iran's 
ambassador to Baghdad and worried about the impact of an 
Iranian-sponsored "resistance" conference in Lebanon in late 
January on Iraqi and broader regional stability. In light of 
recent polls that show Allawi and Maliki as top contenders 
for the premiership, we anticipate that they will use the 
upcoming campaign to attack each other's track records. END 
SUMMARY AND COMMENT. 

DE-BA'ATH PART OF A BROADER INTIMIDATION CAMPAIGN 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 

2. (C) Former PM and Iraqiyya coalition head Ayad Allawi told 
A/DCM on February 2 that the de-Ba'athification process was 
destabilizing Iraq. He claimed this was part and parcel of 
PM Maliki's "campaign of intimidation" to alter the political 
atmosphere in his favor, including by targeting political 
rivals in widespread arrest operations. Allawi underscored 
the "irrationality" of the Accountability and Justice 
Commission's (AJC) list of disqualified candidates, pointing 
to the inclusion of Iskander Witwit, deputy governor of Babil 
and one of Iraqiyya's candidates, as a particularly egregious 
example. Allawi's ally, MP Maysoon al-Damlougi, explained 
that Witwit was a leader of the Shi'a Shaabaniya uprising 
against Saddam Hussein in 1991 and had lost several brothers 
who opposed the previous regime. (NOTE: A complete readout on 
the de-Ba'athification discussion from this meeting was 
provided in ref A. END NOTE.) 

3. (C) Allawi thanked the USG for staying engaged on the 
de-Ba'athification issue, and encouraged the Embassy and 
Washington to underscore the repercussions of an illegitimate 
election. Although the United States was "losing muscle" 
with the drawdown of military forces, he commented, it should 
still act firmly to uphold democratic principles so as not to 
allow Iran to capitalize on its diminished presence. A/DCM 
emphasized that the United States would push the Independent 
High Electoral Commission (IHEC) to ensure that the ballot 
printed on February 6 did not exclude candidates who had not 
had their legal appeals finalized by the Cassation Chamber. 
(NOTE: Per ref B, the Cassation Chamber issued a legal 
decision February 3 ordering IHEC to allow all candidates who 
had appealed their de-Ba'athification disqualifications to 
run in the elections. Details septel. END NOTE.) 

MALIKI AS "AUTHORITARIAN CENTRALIZER" 
------------------------------------ 

4. (C) Allawi faulted PM Maliki for his tendency to "overly 
centralize" power in Baghdad, either in his own hands or 
those of his allies, comparing it to Saddam's heavy-handed 
tactics. He told A/DCM that the PM's direct intervention in 
the conflict between the Provincial Council and the ousted 
Qthe conflict between the Provincial Council and the ousted 
governor of Salah ad-Din was tied to his deal with Parliament 
Speaker Sammarrai'e to attain the Iraqi Islamic Party's (IIP) 
support in government formation. (NOTE: Details septel. END 
NOTE.) Allawi asserted that Maliki's efforts to concentrate 
power would have wide-reaching implications for national 
security, due to the PM's patronage appointments in the 
intelligence services. (NOTE: This subject will be addressed 
septel. END NOTE.) 

PRESSURE ENGULFS IRAQI-IRANIAN RELATIONS 
---------------------------------------- 

5. (C) Allawi shared that, at President Talabani's behest, 
Iraqiyya's leaders, including Iraqi Front for National 
Dialogue (IFND) head Saleh al-Mutlaq, met with Iranian 
Ambassador Qomi in late January to discuss the 
de-Ba'athification situation. Allawi reportedly challenged 
Qomi to prove Iran's good intentions in Iraq by making a 
public statement calling for fair, transparent elections in 
Iraq and by telling his "friends" in Iraq, including senior 

officials in Shi'a-dominated Iraqi National Alliance (INA) 
and State of Law coalitions, to respect the democratic 
process and not violate the Iraqi Constitution in order to 
promote their own electoral chances. He said that the 
Iranian Ambassador did not respond to these suggestions. 
Allawi noted that he stressed the danger of disproportionate 
Iranian interference and influence in Iraq during his recent 
meetings with Egyptian, Saudi and Emirati leaders, and asked 
those Arab states to engage more closely with Iraq. 
President Mubarak reportedly promised Allawi that he would 
raise this issue with a high-level UK and U.S. delegation 
visiting Egypt. 

6. (C) Expressing his concern about a late January 
"resistance conference" organized by Iran in Lebanon, Allawi 
told A/DCM that it brought together Lebanese Hezbollah, 
Hamas, other terrorist organizations with a number of 
legitimate political actors like Ammar al-Hakim (ISCI 
chairman) from across the region. Characterizing Hakim as 
"stupid" for attending the conference, Allawi said that Hakim 
was pressured at the meeting to drop the political solution 
he and INA partner Badr chief Hadi al-Amiri had developed to 
resolve the de-Ba'ath crisis (ref B). Allawi confided that 
Nabih Berri, Lebanon's speaker of parliament, asked him to 
make a brief trip to Lebanon in late January to discuss the 
conference. Berri's representative reportedly told Allawi 
that Iran had spent USD 70 million on the conference and used 
the event to direct proxy groups in Lebanon to "cause 
trouble" between the Israelis and Egyptians by provoking 
actions on the Sinai or along the Gaza border. 
HILL