This still seems strange.
As the Allawi story has progressed over the course of the afternoon, it now seems clear not only that Brahimi and the US approve the choice but that Brahimi may have dictated the choice to the IGC.
Here is the key graf in a new article out in the Times ...
The decision to name Dr. Allawi was made by Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations envoy, and the governing council was then summoned to be informed of the choice. The council more or less showed its approval, some officials said, with one member saying the decision was unanimous. But other people said a vote did not really take place, because the decision had already been made.
Now, here's what strikes me as odd about this.
First, Brahimi had made clear he didn't <$Ad$>want a 'politician' for the slot and that he wanted to sideline people from the IGC.
Of course, things change. If nothing else, the last year in Iraq has demonstrated that fairly clearly. And the US government seemed to be making some headway in arguing that an apolitical technocrat simply wouldn't provide the sort of ballast for a caretaker government that will be needed in such a moment of crisis and instability.
So, in itself, that he would shift gears in this way is not so difficult to believe.
But there's something else that seems still stranger. One thing that is almost universally acknowledged is that the IGC is unpopular. It's seen as a proxy for the Americans and in that sense a tool of the occupation. Indeed, that seemed to be at the forefront of Brahimi's thinking.
If that's so, why would he introduce his pick for Prime Minister, not by announcing it himself, but by having it rubber-stamped (as the Times
suggests) by the IGC, and then letting the news dribble out that he -- i.e., Brahimi -- was behind the decision? That seems like something you would do if the group doing the rubber-stamping had a great deal of legitimacy or popular support. In that case, the endorsement would add to the legitimacy of the pick.
But we've been led to believe that Brahimi believes just the opposite. Thus, introducing his pick of Allawi in this way seems like a good way to hobble or delegitimize him.
I'm not doubting the Times'
reporting. Nor am I questioning that this is what happened. Something, though, just doesn't seem to fit.