Iraq’s former prime minister Iyad Allawi gave a wide-ranging interview to Asharq al-Awsat in which he discusses Bush and his project in Iraq. Allawi was hand-picked by Bush to head the interim Iraqi government in the summer of 2004, as Bush’s proconsul, Paul Bremer, departed; he was thought at the time to be the Iraqi political leader closest and most willing to work with Bush. But with Bush now on the way back to Crawford, Allawi can afford to be candid. Here’s a summary of the interview from Reuters:
Former U.S.-installed Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has denounced the policies of President George W. Bush as an “utter failure” that gave rise to the sectarian venom that ravaged his country… Allawi found fault with American management of Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 as well as the government of present Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki…
“Yes, Bush’s policies failed utterly,” said Allawi, describing the U.S. administration that once backed him. “Utter failure. Failure of U.S. domestic and foreign policy, including fighting terrorism and economic policy. His insistence on names like ‘democracy’ and ‘open elections’, without giving attention to political stability, was a big mistake. It cast shadows on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Egypt, and I believe this will be remembered in history as President Bush’s policy,” he said.
Read the whole interview in English translation here. As Bush prepares to go, public opinion polls consistently show roughly two-thirds of all Americans “strongly disapproving” of his presidency, making him the most unpopular president in U.S. history—at least since the advent of public opinion polling. No doubt a solid majority of Americans would agree with Allawi’s criticism.