The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
August 9, 2004

RAY SUAREZ: Now, an assessment of the latest moves by Prime Minister Allawi
to assert control over the country. For that we're joined by Larry Diamond,
a former political adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad
from January to April this year, he's a senior fellow at the Hoover
Institution at Stanford University, and Eric Davis, a professor of Middle
Eastern Studies at Rutgers University, and author of "Memories of State:
Politics, History and Collective Identity in Modern Iraq."  . . .

LARRY DIAMOND: Well, I think it's obvious the interest of the U.S. is in
seeing him and his interim government succeed in building a viable state
that has real authority, but at the same time one that-- one that respects
the interim constitution which is a profoundly liberal document, which I
might add, Salem Chalabi had a major role in drafting; and that does so in a
way that is more or less respectful of the rules and principles of

And I'm not saying Allawi has crossed the boundary toward autocracy yet, but
it's tempting to do so if you are under the kinds of pressures that he is,
and we need to be mindful of that.

RAY SUAREZ: Well, you heard John Burns calling him someone who is becoming
Iraq's hard man. How did you hear that? What did that mean to you?

LARRY DIAMOND: Well, I think John perhaps, in his brilliant reporting, left
it a bit deliberately ambiguous. But a hard man is necessary in order to
establish order. And in order to face down a number of formidable challenges
to the authority of the new Iraqi state of which I add one way or another,
Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army are prominent among them and have to be
dealt with.

I think that Allawi was chosen precisely because he is tough, he's resolute,
he's fearless and he's willing to use force to confront the enemies of a
kind of decent and humane political order. But that has to be done in a way
that is respectful of the rule of law. And I'm a little bit concerned about
these indictments in terms of the possibility that they may imply the use of
law as a political weapon.

RAY SUAREZ: Professor Davis, do you think those indictments may carry that
risk, that taint of politicization?

ERIC DAVIS: Certainly. I've spoken today to a number of Iraqis and they have
all expressed both confusion and concern with the arrest warrant that has
been issued for Salem Chalabi.

They've also pointed out that the individual in question who he is alleged
to have conspired to murder, Haitham Fadil, a director general of the
ministry of finance was engaged in an investigation apparently being carried
out quite efficiently of improper use of the CPA of Iraqi government money.
So if this is the case, there is obviously a lot more than meets the eye.

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