Sunday, September 26, 2004

Allawi safety claims 'out of touch with reality' say Iraqis. The Independent:
25 September- Iraqis reacted with astonishment and derision yesterday to a claim made by the interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, before the US Congress that 14 or 15 out of Iraq's 18 provinces "are completely safe."

"The truth is exactly the reverse," said a lorry driver, Abu Akil, as he queued for diesel yesterday. "There are 15 provinces which are dangerous and only the three Kurdish provinces in the north are OK. This speech was designed to be heard Americans and not by Iraqis."

The lorry drivers, desperate to feed their families, take great risks but they admit that many roads are now too dangerous. "The speech was ridiculous," said Maithan Maki. "When Allawi became Prime Minister I was in favour of him but things have got worse and worse." Mr Allawi's visit to the US may be doing him lasting damage in Iraq, reinforcing the impression that he is a pawn and out of touch with real events. Iraqis were aware when the US appointed him interim Prime Minister that he had long been financed by the CIA and MI6, but were prepared to forgive this if he could restore security.

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