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Allawi: "Going to Fight for Our Country"
Lambasts Maliki Govt, Makes False Statement about Payments to DC Lobbyists
By EASON JORDAN 08/26/2007 12:34 PM ET
Ayad Allawi appearing on CNN today.
From CNN
Ayad Allawi appearing on CNN today.
Former Iraqi interim prime minister Ayad Allawi ratcheted up his criticism of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki's government today and said, "We need to save our country and work very hard to save the American mission in Iraq."

In an exclusive CNN interview today, Allawi, appearing from Amman, said, "We are going to fight for our country".... "We are going to continue our belief in the political process, and we would look to the support of the United States."

Allawi characterized the situation in Iraq this way: "Sectarianism and militias and terror are still crushing the Iraqi people and crushing the American soldiers and destroying the mission of the United States to help Iraq in stabilizing itself and stabilizing the region."

Allawi refused to denounce Maliki by name but said the Iraqi government's policies were largely to blame for Iraq's problems.

Allawi did not directly answer when CNN's Wolf Blitzer repeatedly asked whether he wanted to become prime minister again.

Allawi, saying he intends to change the political landscape in Iraq, said he'd rule out becoming prime minister of a sectarian regime, but said in a non-sectarian Iraqi government, "I would not shy away from any position."

Allawi said he was committed to making Iraq a "non-sectarian, peaceful, democratic country."

When asked by Blitzer to confirm whether he was paying Washington lobbyists $300,000 to work on his behalf -- a story first reported by IraqSlogger -- Allawi said "I think those numbers are accurate" but said he was unsure of the exact amount being paid to the Republican lobbying firm because "I am not party to the exact amount."

The latter part of that statement is false because Allawi himself signed the August 20 contract with the Washington lobbying firm of Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR) -- a contract that spells out that Allawi is to pay BGR $300,000 over the next six months.

IraqSlogger obtained that BGR-Allawi contract and reported on it exclusively August 23.

Allawi said he hired the firm "because of the crucial role of the United States," adding: "We are asking this firm to help us to advocate our views, the views of the nationalistic Iraqis, the nonsectarian Iraqis."

The BGR point man on the Allawi contract is Robert Blackwill, who served in 2004 as President Bush's presidential envoy to Iraq.

While the BGR-Allawi contract calls for Allawi to make $50,000-a-month payments over six months, Allawi said the money wasn't his own but instead was coming from an Iraqi supporter of Allawi's Iraqi National Accord political party.

Allawi refused to identify the financial supporter by name.

Allawi said he'd return to Iraq in the days ahead to press his "fight for our country."

Stay tuned for a transcript of Blitzer's Allawi interview.


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