Iraq’s Ayad Allawi warns of sectarian war, says U.S. must aid reconciliation


Leila Fadel
Washington Post
April 15, 2010

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BAGHDAD — Former prime minister Ayad Allawi, whose bloc won the largest number of seats in Iraq’s March 7 parliamentary elections, warned Wednesday that the country could slide into a sectarian war if his group is shut out of the next government and said the United States should work more aggressively to prevent that from happening.

Allawi, a secular Shiite who attracted the votes of millions of Sunnis and some Shiites, said in an interview in his Baghdad office that his Iraqiya bloc represents the change Iraqis crave after years of sectarian violence. But he accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, of using his power to alter the electoral outcome and preserve the status quo.

If the United States and the United Nations do not step up during what is widely expected to be a months-long political vacuum, they will leave behind an unstable nation and region when they depart, he said.

Despite his win, Allawi, who wants his old post back, may be left with nothing if Maliki’s State of Law bloc joins forces in the next parliament with the Iraqi National Alliance, a mostly religious Shiite coalition. Allawi warned that a religious Shiite government would lead to renewed bloodshed.

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