RFI: There have been reports that some members of your Iraqi National List voted against the renomination of Jalal Talabani as president of Iraq.
Iyad Allawi: Brother Jalal Talabani is like an ideal for us. We have long supported his candidacy for the presidency of the republic -- not because he is a Kurd, but because he is an Iraqi fighter. Because he is an Iraqi patriot, we thought he could become the president of Iraq. There are points in common [about him] on which all can agree.
RFI: What are your ambitions for the new government?
Allawi: I wish success [to the government] especially in two issues: security and, second, that people can somehow start to live -- receiving electricity, money, and wages, so that they get assurances about the wealth of the country. This is what I certainly wish. I wish it to all Iraq, and, I can say, to every Arab and every Muslim.
But, on the other hand, regarding the style of the formation [of the cabinet], I do not think it will be a style of building real national solidarity. If we come and say: "This part is for Sunnis, this one for Shi’a, and this one for the Kurds -- this is a style that will create a real split. And there are people who flirt with that, be it among Iraqis in the country or from abroad, who push in this direction. Of course, the result will be weakening of Iraq and the demolition of its strong social background and structure.
RFI: What do you think of proposals to integrate the militias into the armed forces of Iraq?
Allawi: We want the militias ended. We do not want to have them integrated into the military and similar state structures. No integration. Integration would mean creating one regiment Shi’ite, another one Sunni, another one loyal to the [Iraqi National] Accord, another one loyal to the Supreme Council [of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq], another one loyal to someone else. And what will be the result? There will be fights.
RFI: How do you assess the current political and social environment in Iraq?
Allawi: There are the beginnings of a social split in Iraq that is being built on unhealthy principles, or backward principles. If this division, God forbid, should continue, it will undoubtedly draw the country into more problems. But we cannot predict what will happen. What we can see happening in front of us now, at least, is that killing based on identity has started as a result of this split. People started to be expelled from their homes because of their identity, not because of anything they did. This is a product of the split that has already happened in reality on the ground. Should this continue and should we reach a point that would not allow a return to a renewed building of national unity, then a catastrophe will definitely happen.
(translated by Petr Kubalek)