Allawi Hires D.C. Lobby Firm

Ayad Allawi is actively campaigning to oust Nouri al-Maliki and get his old job back, IraqSlogger’s Christina Davidson reports:

Republican lobbyists with close ties to the Bush administration are aiding and supporting the efforts of an Iraqi opposition leader who is calling for the ouster of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The anti-Maliki crusader is former Iraqi interim prime minister Ayad Allawi, and the Washington firm retained to spearhead U.S.-focused efforts on his behalf is the Republican powerhouse group of Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers (BGR).

BGR International’s president is Robert Blackwill, the one-time White House point man on Iraq, holding the title of Presidential Envoy to Iraq in 2004. Blackwill worked closely during that time with Allawi, who was appointed Iraq’s interim prime minister with the U.S. government’s blessing.

IraqSlogger has learned BGR’s work for Allawi includes the August 17 purchase of the Web site domain Allawi-for-Iraq.com. In recent days, BGR sent hundreds of e-mail messages in Allawi’s name from the e-mail address DrAyadAllawi@Allawi-for-Iraq.com.

ABC’s Justin Rood frames it slightly differently in a post entitled “Iraqi With CIA Ties Hires D.C. Lobby Firm.”

A political rival of the current Iraqi prime minister has hired a well-known Republican lobbying firm to promote his candidacy among the Washington elite. On the same day U.S. intelligence officials briefed reporters on their lack of confidence in Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to solve the problems facing his country, the U.S. Justice Department released documents showing that Dr. Ayad Allawi, a Maliki rival with close ties to the CIA, was paying the GOP firm Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR) more than a quarter-million dollars to lobby on his behalf.

The sinister overtones about “close ties to the Bush administration” and “CIA ties” suggest this is some devious undercover plot to stage a coup in Iraq. Frankly, just about every lobbying firm includes former high powered government officials; that’s just how the game is played.

More likely, this is simple political ambition on the part of Allawi, who has been openly campaigning on the op-ed pages of the Washington Post.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.