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Talk in the Traditional Media for the last week has been focused on the weakness of the Maliki government.  This comes as the Media is deciding to focus, through some impressive word parsing, on the narrative of Democrats admitting that the surge is working.  Some Democrats are falling into the trap and are refocusing their message away from the failure of the surge militarily to the failure of the Iraqi political progress.    

The whole thing seems very coordinated; almost as if there is a PR campaign underway to create the conditions for the removal of Maliki as Prime Minister.  But that couldn’t be true, could it?

Think Progress reports:

The powerful Republican lobbying group of Barbour Griffith & Rogers is plotting an effort to displace Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and supplant him with former interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. IraqSlogger reported:

BGR’s work for Allawi includes the August 17 purchase of the Web site domain

In recent days, BGR sent hundreds of e-mail messages in Allawi’s name from the e-mail address

BGR’s staff is stacked with conservative operatives with extremely close ties to the White House. Its president is Bush’s former envoy to Iraq, Ambassador Robert Blackwill. Philip Zelikow, a former Counselor to Condoleezza Rice, serves as a senior adviser to the firm. Lanny Griffith, chief executive officer, is a Bush Ranger having raised at least $200,000 for Bush in the 2004 presidential election. And Ed Rogers, chairman and founder of the firm, has been a reliable political ally for the Bush White House.

The right-wing has long had a fascination with Allawi, largely because he has proved to be compliant with the Bush administration’s agenda. Allawi was ceremonially anointed Iraq’s leader in June 2004 by then-Coalition Provisional Authority chief administrator Paul Bremer.


Is Iyad Allawi attempting a coup?  And is the GOP helping to orchestrate it?

Democracy Now has more:

The Republican lobbying firm Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers is now working for Allawi.  The company... has been sending emails to members of Congress on his behalf.  Last week Allawi argued in a Washington Post op-ed that Iraq will descend into chaos unless Maliki is replaced as prime minister.

Emails to members of congress.  So I guess now we should expect to see a stream of Republican members of Congress coming out against Maliki and calling for his removal.


...Carl Levin, the Democratic Party chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told journalists at a press conference on Tuesday: "I hope that the Iraqi assembly, when it reconvenes in a few weeks, will vote the Maliki government out of office and will have the wisdom to replace it with a less sectarian and a more unifying prime minister and government."

...Hillary Clinton, the leading Democrat contender for the 2008 presidential nomination, endorsed Levin’s comments yesterday.  In a formal statement, Clinton declared: "During his trip to Iraq last week, Senator Levin... confirmed that the Iraqi government is nonfunctional and cannot produce a political settlement because it is too beholden to religious and sectarian leaders.  I share Senator Levin’s hope that the Iraqi parliament will replace Prime Minister Maliki with a less divisive and more unifying figure when it returns in a few weeks."

So here's a little timeline:

  •  Friday, August 17th: BGR and Allawi purchase a website and start sending email to members of Congress calling for the removal of Maliki.  
  •  Saturday, August 18th: Allawi writes an Op-Ed in the Washington Post calling for the removal of Maliki.  
  •  Tuesday, August 21st: Carl Levin calls for Maliki’s removal
  •  Wednesday, August 22nd: Hillary Clinton calls for Maliki's removal  

I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other about Maliki.  He probably could have done better (and probably could have done worse too), but anyone in his position would have the same problems he is having.  He’s in an impossible situation, one which we created, and now we are blaming him for the lack of progress.  

So are we seeing the beginnings of an Allawi Coup?  And are Democratic senators teaming up with a GOP PR firm to pave the way?  What do you think?

Originally posted to debel u on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 11:18 AM PDT.

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