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This could be a big news this weekend, though it is only slightly more than a rumor at this point – Allawi shot prisoners in cold blood: witnesses

Iyad Allawi, the new Prime Minister of Iraq, pulled a pistol and executed as many as six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station, just days before Washington handed control of the country to his interim government, according to two people who allege they witnessed the killings.

They say the prisoners – handcuffed and blindfolded – were lined up against a wall in a courtyard adjacent to the maximum-security cell block in which they were held at the Al-Amariyah security centre, in the city’s south-western suburbs.

They say Dr Allawi told onlookers the victims had each killed as many as 50 Iraqis and they “deserved worse than death”.

The Prime Minister’s office has denied the entirety of the witness accounts in a written statement to the Herald, saying Dr Allawi had never visited the centre and he did not carry a gun. That’s the main story that will get passed around, but the more interesting one Paul McGeough’s longer piece in The Sydney Morning Herald that examines the dark background of Iraq’s new Prime Minister.

A couple interesting bits from the article:

In this part of the world, police forces are bred as instruments of fear. But right now, Iraqi police are afraid to take to the streets, not least because of tribal retribution if they kill in the line of duty. Eighteen men from the Al-Amariyah security complex have been killed in a year – and at least three had written warnings that they would be targeted by tribesmen seeking vengeance for the loss of one of their own in a clash with police.

The rationale offered by some is that if the Prime Minister spilt blood before their eyes, then the police would know they could kill with impunity. He would become a man to be feared and all too quickly the force would impose that fear on the community.

…A casual driver retained briefly by the Herald said he had picked up a version of the alleged police station killings in the swirl of fixers, translators and drivers in the lobby of the Palestine Hotel.

He was more impressed than he was shocked.

Elsewhere, a doctor claimed the killings were being discussed “all over town”. He speculated: “Maybe Allawi wants to be seen like Saddam, because when Iraqis hear a rumour like this they presume it is based on fact.”Stephen Green links to the transcript of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Lateline show featuring an interview with McGeough.

Tim Blair notes that the rumour goes back to at least July 1.

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One Response

  1. BoDiddly July 16, 2004