For nearly thirty years Iraq-born Iyad Allawi lived in Great Britain, where he was known for his skills as a neurologist (brain doctor).
At the same time, he was an important player in Iraqi underground (secret) politics.
In the 1960s Allawi was a leader in the Ba'ath Party, a coalition of Arabic groups that worked to establish unity among Arab nations.
Disillusioned by the direction the Ba'ath Party began to take, and especially distrustful of Ba'athist Saddam Hussein (1937–), who rose to power in 1979, Allawi defected and formed his own group, the Iraqi National Accord (INA), in 1990.
In 2003, when the Hussein government was toppled, Allawi returned to Iraq to help rebuild his country. He served as part of the Iraqi Governing Council, which was established to temporarily run the war-torn nation.
In June 2004, Allawi was appointed prime minister, a temporary position until the first post-Hussein free elections were held in January 2005. Allawi's ten-month tenure was controversial, with many believing the strong-willed former exile was simply a substitute for the dominating Hussein.
On April 7, 2005, Allawi's rocky term ended after members of the newly elected National Assembly chose Ibrahim al-Jaafari (1947–) to be the next prime minister of Iraq.
Allawi's family, however, remained in Iraq where the young man became active in the Ba'ath Party, which openly opposed the Kassem government. As one of Allawi's relatives told Jon Lee Anderson of the New Yorker, "The fact that Iyad became a Ba'athist when he did was not all that unusual for an Iraqi boy of his age and class. He became a street fighter, an organizer."
In the mid- to late-1960s Allawi remained active in the Ba'ath Party while he studied medicine at Baghdad University. At the same time he met a young man named Saddam Hussein, a rising leader in the Ba'ath Party.
In 1968, when the Ba'aths forcibly took control of the Iraqi government, Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr (1914–1982), a distant relative of Hussein, assumed the role of president. Saddam Hussein was named vice president, but over the next decade it became apparent that he was the true leader of the country.
In 1971 Allawi took up residence in London, England, although the reason for his move remains a controversy. In interviews Allawi admits that he was integral in facilitating Hussein's brutal rise to power, but he also claims that he quickly distanced himself from the Ba'ath Party once he realized that Hussein was creating a dangerous and dictatorial political climate.
Allawi claims to have moved in order to physically separate himself from the party and continue his medical studies. He obtained his master's degree at University College in London and completed his residency (advanced training in a medical specialty) at Guy's Hospital.
Former colleagues of Allawi, however, claim that he moved to London for another reason—to continue to serve the Ba'ath Party in Europe as president of the Iraqi Student Union.
On the surface, Allawi's job was to promote the party and to organize Arab students who were attending elite London universities. In addition, he was supposedly tasked with keeping tabs on Arab students, weeding out any enemies of the Hussein regime, and acting as an informant for the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi secret police. Some intelligence officers even claim that Allawi was involved with the assassination of Arab students who openly opposed Iraq's vice president.
Allawi did eventually break ties with the Ba'ath Party in the mid-1970s while in London. At first Hussein attempted to persuade Allawi to rejoin the party. Upon his refusal to rejoin, Allawi became a targeted enemy, and in 1978 Hussein sent an axe-wielding assassin to Allawi's suburban London home. Allawi and his wife barely escaped with their lives, and Allawi spent a better part of the next year recuperating in the hospital.
The Iraq National Accord
While he was recovering, Allawi began to rethink his involvement in politics. As he explained to Jon Lee Anderson, "When I was lying in the hospital, I thought to myself, is it worth it, to continue and to fight Saddam, or is it not? And I decided ultimately my destiny and my country and whatever I stand for required me to fight. On the day I left the hospital, a Thursday, I went to see some of my friends, and I told them, 'We have to consolidate now and we have to work actively to overthrow the regime.'"
Throughout the 1980s Allawi worked hard to organize such a network, making connections with other Arabs in exile as he traveled on business for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Because he was a successful physician, Allawi was employed as a part-time consultant by the UNDP to establish medical training programs in developing countries.
By the end of the decade, Allawi's network extended around the globe and was composed of former military and political leaders who had defected from Iraq. In 1990, boosted by the strength of his numbers, the physician-in-exile formally announced the formation of the Iraq National Accord (INA), an organization that had the sole purpose of toppling the Hussein regime.
The INA was further strengthenedby the supportof several international bodies, including the British intelligence agency, M.I.6, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Both organizations shared the same goal as Allawi: to remove Saddam Hussein from power.
According to Anderson, the relationship between M.I.6 and the INA was particularly profitable for both parties: "For the British, Allawi was a powerful Iraqi whose knowledge and contacts offered a potential means of future influence there. For Allawi, the relationship with M.I.6 assured him of continued sanctuary in Britain and provided funds for him to build his own political operation while living in exile." As a result, throughout the 1990s Allawi's intelligence agents stationed in Iraq supplied top-secret information to Great Britain and the United States; in return both countries funneled millions of dollars of aid to the INA.
Loses bid for prime minister
Many people wondered if Allawi was just a Saddam Hussein substitute. Andrew Gilligan of The Spectator commented, "There are few signs that Iyad Allawi has been able to break free from the authoritarian habits of the past." However, Allawi also had his defenders, especially in the United States and Great Britain. As Toby Dodge, a British expert on Iraq, explained to Johanna McGeary of Time, "Allawi was dealt a very bad hand: a collapsed state, a nonexistent army, a police force that kept getting shot at and an insurgency that kept getting better. He had no choice but to focus all his energy on subduing the insurgency."
Despite such mixed opinions and the fact that his time as the temporary leader of Iraq was turbulent, Allawi agreed to run for a seat on the Iraq National Assembly during the January 30, 2005, election.
The focus of the election was to choose representatives for the 275-member Iraq National Assembly. Members of the assembly would draft Iraq's new constitution to be voted on by Iraqis in October of 2005, and select a president and two vice presidents who would then appoint a prime minister and a cabinet.
"Of course I want to be part of the process," he told Jon Anderson. "I'll press on with whatever I believe is right for the country." Allawi waged an all-out campaign blitz, spending millions of dollars to spread his slogan, "A powerful government leads to a safe state."
Iraq's Revolutionary New Prime Minister: Ibrahim al-Jaafari
When Ibrahim al-Jaafari was named prime minister of Iraq in April 2005, it was a revolutionary moment for many reasons. For the first time in history an Arab country would be ruled by a Shiite Muslim. Although the Shiite sect is prominent in Iraq, Shiites are a minority in the rest of the Islamic world.
According to Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, al-Jaafari will be watched carefully and how he performs could have a major effect on every Arab nation.
Ibrahim al-Jaafari was born in 1947 in Karbala, a holy Shia city located southwest of the Iraq capital of Baghdad. He came from a very conservative and religious family, and to this day al-Jaafari is a strict follower of Islam.
In 1974, al-Jaafari graduated with a medical degree from Mosul University in Baghdad, and although he practiced family medicine he was also active in the Dawa Party, a Shiite political party formed in Iraq in the late 1950s to counter the rising Ba'athist and Communist movements.
During the 1970s, when Saddam Hussein and his secular (nonreligious) Sunni regime took power, Hussein ordered a crackdown on Dawaists. Thousands were killed and al-Jaafari, who barely escaped assassination, fled to Iran in 1980. He remained in Iran for nine years, then moved to Great Britain, where he continued to practice medicine and work as a spokesman for the Dawa Party.
(Arabic: نوري كامل محمّد حسن المالكي Nūrī Kāmil al-Mālikī; born 20 June 1950), also known as Jawad al-Maliki or Abu Esraa is the Prime Minister of Iraq and the secretary-general of the Islamic Dawa Party.
Al-Maliki and his government succeeded the Iraqi Transitional Government. He is currently in his second term as Prime Minister. His first Cabinet was approved by the National Assembly and sworn in on 20 May 2006; his second Cabinet, in which he also holds the positions of acting Interior Minister, acting Defense Minister, and acting National Security Minister, was approved on 21 December 2010.
Al-Maliki began his political career as a Shia dissident under Saddam Hussein's dictatorship in the late 1970s and rose to prominence after he fled a death sentence into exile for 24 years.
During his time abroad, he became a senior leader of Dawa,coordinated the activities of anti-Saddam guerillas and built relationships with Iranian and Syrian officials whose help he sought in overthrowing Saddam.
While having worked closely with United States and coalition forces in Iraq since their departure by the end of 2011, there have been claims that al-Maliki has been trying to gain control over the armed groups in his country as means to consolidate the Prime Minister's power and marginalize Sunni opposition.
Exile and return to Iraq
On 16 July 1979, al-Maliki fled Iraq after he was discovered to be a member of the outlawed Islamic Dawa Party. According to a brief biography on the Islamic Dawa Party's website, he left Iraq via Jordan in October, and soon moved to Syria, adopting the pseudonym "Jawad". He left Syria for Iran in 1982, where he lived in Tehran until 1990, before returning to Damascus where he remained until U.S. coalition forces invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam's regime in 2003.
While living in Syria, he worked as a political officer for Dawa, developing close ties with Hezbollah and particularly with Iran, supporting that country's effort to topple Saddam's regime.
While living in Damascus, al-Maliki edited the party newspaper Al-Mawqif and rose to head the party's Damascus branch.
In 1990, he joined the Joint Action Committee and served as one of its rotating chairman. The committee was a Damascus-based opposition coalition for a number of Hussein's opponents.
The Dawa Party participated in the Iraqi National Congress between 1992 and 1995, withdrawing because of disagreements over who should head it.
Upon his return to his native Iraq after the fall of Saddam, al-Maliki became the deputy leader of the Supreme National Debaathification Commission of the Iraqi Interim Government,formed to purge former Baath Party officials from the military and government. He was elected to the transitional National Assembly in January 2005. He was a member of the committee that drafted the new constitution that was passed in October 2005.
The Islamic Dawa Party, also known as the Islamic Call Party (Arabic: حزب الدعوة الإسلامية Ḥizb Al-Daʿwa Al-Islāmiyya), is a political party in Iraq. Dawa and the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council are two of the main parties in the religious-Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, which won a plurality of seats in both the provisional January 2005 Iraqi election and the longer-term December 2005 election.
The party is led by Nouri al-Maliki, who is also the current Prime Minister of Iraq.
The party backed the Iranian Revolution and also Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the Iran-Iraq War and the group still receives financial support from Tehran despite ideological differences with the Islamic Republic.