Via Think Progress we have this:
GOP Lobbyists Back Allawi
Barbour Griffith & Rogers has long been a powerhouse GOP lobbying firm. Now, apparently, American politics are just too small-time. BGR, according to a report by IraqSlogger's Christina Davidson, is trying to influence Iraqi politics as well.And we have this from Juan Cole:
BGR, the firm started by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, has been promoting Ayad Allawi, the one-time Iraqi interim prime minister who over the weekend published an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for the parliamentary overthrow of current PM Nouri al-Maliki. The piece amounted to a trial balloon for American support for a second Allawi-led government, promising non-sectarianism and stability. Allawi has decades-old ties to the CIA, making him a known quantity to U.S. officials during a time of extreme frustration with Maliki.
But frustration alone doesn't get governments to fall. That's where BGR comes in. On August 17, the firm purchased the domain name Allawi-For-Iraq.com (the site's not yet live). Following publication of the op-ed, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) called on the Iraqi parliament to hold a no-confidence vote on Maliki. BGR circulated Levin's comments around Washington -- and particularly to Congressional staffers -- using the e-mail address DrAyadAllawi@Allawi-for-Iraq.com.
Military Coup Planned for Iraq?
A rumor is circulating among well-connected and formerly high-level Iraqi bureaucrats in exile in places like Damascus that a military coup is being prepared for Iraq. I received the following from a reliable, knowledgeable contact. There is no certitude that this plan can or will be implemented. That it is being discussed at high levels seems highly likely.Both of these plans face a major obstacle, Muqtada al-Sadr. In spite of what we hear about the surge al-Sadr's militia still controls Baghdad. He is probably the single most popular figure in Iraq. His supporters make up some portion of the Iraqi army and Security Forces. I really don't see how either one of these plans would do anything to stabilize Iraq and a military coup would lead to further destabilization. Allawi would be seen as nothing but an American puppet and would not have the support of the people or the army.
"There is serious talk of a military commission (majlis `askari) to take over the government. The parties would be banned from holding positions, and all the ministers would be technocrats, so to speak. . . [The writer indicates that attempts have been made to recruit cabinet members from the ranks of expatriate technocrats.]
The six-member board or commission would be composed on non-political former military personnel who are presently not part of the government OR the military establishment, such as it is in Iraq at the moment. It is said that the Americans are supporting this behind the scenes.
The plan includes a two-year period during which political parties would not be permitted to be part of the government, but instead would prepare and strengthen the parties for an election which would not have lists, but real people running for real seats. The two year period would be designed to take control of security and restore infrastructure.
. . .[I]t is another [desperate plan], but one which many many Iraqis will support, since they are sick of their country being pulled apart by the "imports" - Maliki, Allawi, Jaafari et al. The military group is composed of internals, people who have the goal of securing the country even at the risk of no democracy, so they say. "