In 2005 I asked about the ethics and implications of K Street lobbyists (BGR) Barbour Griffith & Rogers' involvement with a Kurdish political party (KDP) to lobby for their interests in the explosive Kirkuk while our nation is at war there. In an August 27th entry at Laura Rozen's War and Piece blog, she reveals that the same lobbyists are representing former Iraqi prime minister Ayad Allawi, whose political organization Iraqyia is challenging current Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. Allawi's secular political alliance withdrew from the Iraqi government last Friday. This topic has been discussed here at Daily Kos briefly in the recent past [see Bob Fertik] and I believe it deserves more attention. Since when is K Street in the the coup business?

According to Ms. Rozen, Iraq slogger is reporting what appears to be a lobbyist taking a lot of money from yet another Iraqi political interest and saying it's out of some sense of patriotism:

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."

Speculating, Ms. Rozen tells us that it appears that it's likely that a vehicle for Saudi/UAE money is funding Allawi's K Street lobbying fee.

On the question of who's paying, a top contender is likely Hazem Shaalan. Some suggest he is a vehicle for Saudi/UAE money.

Perhaps the lobbyist firm of Barbour Griffith & Rogers is all too comfortable with the dubious places from where their bread is buttered - and if it can be buttered with something that resembles red white and blue, they (and the Republicans, whose schemes Haley Barbour has helped to execute) will stand to make a whole lot of dough and political favor for Republicans in the name of patriotism.

Speaking of political salvation for Republicans, I don't think it's any secret that someone in the White House is desperately searching for a quick political solution to Iraq to save face for a glaring five-year error. Perhaps they think an Allwai coup would be the magic bullet. There are others who clearly do not agree.

Nibras Kazimi, who is formerly with the INC and writes a weekly column on the Middle East for the New York Sun, offers his strong thoughts on why an alleged Allawi political coup will never happen:

"Pie in the sky, says I.

These are the usual amateurish stunts that US diplomats and spooks resort to when trying to arm-twist a Middle Eastern ‘flunky’; Washington is panicked by the Sunni withdrawal from the government whilst their current policy can be summed up with "Give the Sunnis everything they want", including arms and protection to former insurgents who’ve been killing Americans and Iraqis for the last five years. By spreading this rumor, the Americans would like to spook Maliki into giving the Sunnis all that they want too—their current demands being the Presidency, and the Oil, Defense and Finance ministries and the Intelligence Service, in addition to their current portfolios, and fall into line with policy.

Here’s a series of reality checks:

No one can pull-off a military coup in Iraq.

Parliament is out for another three weeks, so Maliki is not facing an immediate no-confidence vote.

Adel Abdel-Mahdi, the current Vice-President, cannot deliver SCIRI’s parliamentary votes for the Allawi camp.

The Sadrists won’t vote for Allawi.

The Da’awa Party won’t follow former PM Ibrahim Jaafari if he moves against Maliki.

-Anyone seen as "Saudi Arabia’s guy", as Allawi projects himself, although that may not really be the case as far as the Saudi leadership is concerned—is not likely to get Sistani & Co. to go along with this plan.

-The Iranians won’t let this happen, and they have far more political cards to play in Iraq than the Americans—and they can play those cards smarter than O’Sullivan.

-Why would the Kurds substitute their strong alliance with the Shiites, who are going to run the country for a very long time to come, in return for the fleeting favor of the defeated Sunnis (their rivals on Kirkuk) and a politician such as Allawi whose word really doesn’t go that far?

-Qasim Daoud, a favorite of the Emirati leadership and another PM candidate as far as the Americans are concerned, has too many corruption scandals hovering around his head.

-My sources tell me the following: one of the principal actors who was attempting to bring down Maliki has left Iraq for an extended vacation, telling anyone who’d listen that it can’t be done.

I’ll say it: the Americans are irrelevant to political events in Iraq. They may be arming the insurgents for the time being, but these murderers may have to be the ones who need to be airlifted out when the Americans eventually withdraw in order to dodge reprisals. It’s quite a prospect to consider: former insurgents being resettled in Minnesota."

The Americans may want to bend over backwards to appease the Sunni politicos, and the Saudi, Egyptian and Jordanian patrons who fund them, but that means very little in Baghdad’s intense political universe unless the Shiites play along, and why should they do so once everyone begins to realize that the Sunni insurgency is faltering?

In real terms, the power shift begun on April 9, 2003 has matured as the Shiite politicians began to mature; they’ve begun to play the game as it should be played by those who have the voters’ mandate to lead the political process.

Crocker and his crew may peddle the notion that Maliki is a lame duck, but all they’ll up with is lame government. A panicked gaggle of US diplomats is not a pretty sight either; they are becoming an added hindrance to forming a new, more agile cabinet. Spreading rumors at this junction, and threatening Maliki with something they can’t deliver, is an exercise in futility." ......

[....go to link for more....]

[credit to Laura Rozen's War and Piece for helping me find this]

Considering all of the above, ask yourselves why these K Street lobbyists are taking big money from Allawi. What gives them the ethical right to lobby for a party who is entangled in a complex battle in a foreign nation for which our troops are dying? At what point do we see this sick incestual relationship between K Street lobbyists, Republicans, and in-flux foreign governments for which our sons and daughters are dying for exactly what it is? Lobbyists are meddling in our sensitive national security affairs. This is [to say the very least] bad business with unconstitutional implications.

Originally posted to Iddybud on Tue Aug 28, 2007 at 09:10 AM PDT.


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