Iraqi Leader Urges New Approaches to Reconciliation

Former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi told Der Spiegel there is need for dramatic changes in dealing with Iraq. He talked with General Petraeus and asked what would happen after the surge is completed and was told, “that is your responsibility.” The assumption being Iraq leaders could handle their nation at the completion of the surge. According to Allawi, who has been in contact with Saudi Arabian, Turkish, and Egyptian leaders, “today we are further than ever from national reconciliation…The ethnic cleansing continues, especially in central Iraq and Baghdad.” He believes Sunnis and secularists who seek cooperation and conciliation have been pushed aside by sectarian forces in the government.

Allawi blames failure to transcend sectarian interests for the current problems in Egypt and believes it might help to involve outside Arab nations like Saudi Arabia or Turkey in helping to reduce tensions. Allawi believes it is necessary to draw upon former members of the Iraq army and integrate them into the new force. He is definitely not optimistic about chances to improve the situation, even after the famous surge.