Allawi, Ali A. 1947-
Allawi, Ali A. 1947-
Home—London, England; Baghdad, Iraq.
Banker, entrepreneur, government official, and writer. Arab International Finance, cofounder, 1978; Fisas Group, founder, 1992; Iraqi government positions: has served as Iraq's first postwar civilian Minister of Defense, was elected to the Transitional National Assembly as a member of the United Iraqi Alliance, and was appointed Minister of Finance, c. 2003-06. Also headed a London-based investment company, Pan-Arab, and served as a consultant to the World Bank. Also St. Anthony's College, Oxford University, senior associate member, 1999-2002.
Ali A. Allawi spent many years living in England and elsewhere as a virtual exile from his home country of Iraq for more than thirty years. During that time, he became a very successful entrepreneur but remained an outspoken critic of the Iraqi government and its dictator, Saddam Hussein. Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Allawi returned to his country and served in several government posts from 2003-06. These posts included the country's first postwar civilian Minister of Defense and a stint as the Minister of Finance. In his book, The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace, Allawi takes an insider's look at what he believes has gone wrong with the U.S. invasion and when it all started to turn bad. "There's a whole slew of things that they should have known," the author told Joel Whitney in an interview in Guernica. "I mean, I was involved in nearly all the opposition conferences, seminars and meetings with the U.S. and British governments in the days leading up to the war. Despite claims to the contrary, there was very little done to try to come to terms with the country that they were trying to invade and then occupy." In his book, Allawi examines central issues in the war and occupation, such as corruption and complacency by administrations both in Iraq and the United States.
"Allawi's focus is both broad and deep, but what makes it most valuable is that it is an Iraqi focus," wrote Louis Werner in a review of The Occuption of Iraq on the Middle East Times Web site. "Most importantly, he sees the invasion as a ‘great strategic blunder’ and not … as a series of still-fixable, always-forgivable, tactical errors." Christopher Hitchens, writing on the Slate Web site, commented: "We can probably stipulate that Allawi's criticisms of U.S. policy in Iraq—from general innocence about conditions in the country to great presumption about the measures needed to redeem it—have been sufficiently borne out by other witnesses for them to be accepted as generally true." Although several reviewers noted that Allawi might have had some biases against how the U.S. has conducted the war and occupation, most commended the author for an evenhanded view of the situation. For example, Charles J. Hanley, writing on the Editor & Publisher Web site, noted: "Allawi writes with authority as a member of that ‘new order.’ Hanley went on to write: "As a former academic, at Oxford University before the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq, he also writes with unusual detachment." Brendan Driscoll, writing in Booklist, was effusive with praise, noting, "Comprehensive, factually robust, and likely to provoke public discussion, this book surpasses almost all other recent works on Iraq."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 15, 2007, Brendan Driscoll, review of The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace, p. 19.
Business Week, April 26, 2004, Stanley Reed, "A Talk with Iraq's Defense Chief; Ali Allawi Speaks Out on the Uprising, America's Role, and Investment Prospects," p. 39.
Economist, April 21, 2007, review of The Occupation of Iraq, p. 94.
Guernica, April, 2007, Joel Whitney, "Incoherence of Power: An Interview with Ali Allawi."
Publishers Weekly, February 19, 2007, review of The Occupation of Iraq, p. 158.
Arab News,http://www.arabnews.com/ (April 11, 2007), Barbara Ferguson, "Ali Allawi Calls for a Change in US' Iraq Policy."
Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs,http://www.cceia.org/ (April 11, 2007), Joanne J. Myers, "The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace," interview with author; (July 24, 2007), brief biography of author.
CBSNews.com,http://www.cbsnews.com/ (July 24, 2007), brief profile of author.
Editor & Publisher,http://www.editorandpublisher.com/ (April 8, 2007), Charles J. Hanley, review of The Occupation of Iraq.
Foreign Policy,http://www.foreignpolicy.com/ (July 24, 2007), "Seven Questions: Iraq's Economy."
PBS,http://www.pbs.org/ (July 24, 2007), "Ali A. Allawi," interview with author.
Slate,http://www.slate.com/ (April 23, 2007), Christopher Hitchens, review of The Occupation of Iraq.