NEWSWEEK: New Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi Reportedly Cut Off Suspect's Hand With Ax, Shot Captive Terrorists, According to Stories Circulating in Baghdad

' ... I Deny It Categorically, Number One. Number Two, We Will Spare No Effort

to Secure Our People,' Says Allawi



Jul 18, 2004, 01:00 ET from Newsweek

    NEW YORK, July 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Since Ayad Allawi became prime minister
 of Iraq's interim government last month, stories circulating on the streets of
 Baghdad include reports that he ordered two suspected insurgents shot in front
 of him, shot seven captive terrorists himself and personally chopped off the
 hand of a suspect with an ax, report Correspondent Babak Dehghanpisheh and
 Middle East Regional Editor Christopher Dickey in the July 26 issue of
 Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, July 19).
     (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040718/NYSU003 )
     U.S. officials in Washington tell Newsweek they've heard the amputation
 story but have no details. White House officials dismiss it as "urban legend."
 The Australian newspaper The Age reported last week that two anonymous
 witnesses saw Allawi shoot seven suspected insurgents as his American
 bodyguards looked on. Asked by Newsweek if he had killed anyone since taking
 office, Allawi chuckled and said, "This is a big lie, this is not true, I deny
 it categorically, No. 1. No. 2, we will spare no effort to secure our people."
     After 15 months of chaos, Iraqis are desperate for someone who will impose
 order, and only weeks after taking office, Allawi is already flirting with
 dictatorship, report Dehghanpisheh and Dickey. First he suggested elections
 might have to be postponed if the security situation didn't improve, but he
 backtracked quickly. Soon after the June 28 handover of sovereignty to his
 regime, Allawi's government assumed martial-law powers -- though it has yet to
 use them. The government also agreed to reinstate capital punishment. "We need
 sanctions that are up to the scale of the crimes," Allawi says. Yet no one has
 been executed so far. "He was so clear to us about his commitment to
 democracy," says a former U.S. Coalition official. "I don't think anybody
 thought he was going to be a strongman."
     Allawi's concrete accomplishments are few. He's inspired the feeling of
 progress more than the substance. And U.S. officials say privately he may
 actually have planted the stories about summary executions as part of a
 psychological smoke-and-mirrors game. "He wants to project that dual role --
 to the West as a committed democrat, and to the Iraqis as a tough guy who got
 things done," says one diplomat. If Allawi is really going to impose order,
 he'll find it ever harder to look like a democrat. "You can have an overdose
 of democracy," a young Iraqi translator tried to explain last week to the
 American colonel he works for. "That was our problem. We need somebody
 strong."
     Allawi has flooded the streets with cops, many of them from the old
 regime. He's started a new General Security Directorate, otherwise known as
 the secret police. Every few days his troops attack neighborhoods where
 criminals have gathered, rounding up men by the hundreds, cracking heads and
 sometimes fighting running gun battles. Iraqi TV shows footage of exultant
 policemen firing their guns into the air as they leave the scene of a roundup.
 Magistrates have been put on 24-hour duty to handle the intake of prisoners-
 527 from one raid alone. "He's tough as nails on security," says the U.S.
 official. "Tougher than we are."
     Police lieutenant Mutaz Abdul Aziz, 26, who's taken part in two raids so
 far this month, tells Newsweek he has a new sense of pride in his job. He and
 his fellow cops didn't get much respect when they were working with the
 Americans. A couple of months ago, for instance, Aziz was bringing a suspected
 kidnapper to a police station. The perp began resisting at the doorway, and
 Aziz smacked him around. An American soldier on duty stepped in. "The
 Americans arrested me!" he says. "It was humiliating. I realized then that the
 Americans would never understand this country. We know best how to deal with
 Iraqis."
     Saleh, a 32-year-old Baghdad taxi driver who, with his uncle, was dragged
 from his car by kidnappers, and released after a beating and a ransom payment,
 tells Newsweek he blames the Americans for allowing such criminals to
 flourish. "These days when we want to scare the kids in my family, we tell
 them, 'Democracy is coming to get you' or 'Freedom is coming to get you,'" he
 says. "The kids don't know what it means, but they run away." Now Saleh puts
 his faith in the new sheriff in town. "Allawi is the only one who could fix
 the current situation," he says. "He's a brave man who has survived many
 assassination attempts. I trust only him." Most Iraqis seem to agree; 73
 percent supported Allawi in a poll last month.
 
        (Read Newsweek's news releases at http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com.
                              Click "Pressroom.")
 
 

SOURCE Newsweek
    NEW YORK, July 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Since Ayad Allawi became prime minister
 of Iraq's interim government last month, stories circulating on the streets of
 Baghdad include reports that he ordered two suspected insurgents shot in front
 of him, shot seven captive terrorists himself and personally chopped off the
 hand of a suspect with an ax, report Correspondent Babak Dehghanpisheh and
 Middle East Regional Editor Christopher Dickey in the July 26 issue of
 Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, July 19).
     (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040718/NYSU003 )
     U.S. officials in Washington tell Newsweek they've heard the amputation
 story but have no details. White House officials dismiss it as "urban legend."
 The Australian newspaper The Age reported last week that two anonymous
 witnesses saw Allawi shoot seven suspected insurgents as his American
 bodyguards looked on. Asked by Newsweek if he had killed anyone since taking
 office, Allawi chuckled and said, "This is a big lie, this is not true, I deny
 it categorically, No. 1. No. 2, we will spare no effort to secure our people."
     After 15 months of chaos, Iraqis are desperate for someone who will impose
 order, and only weeks after taking office, Allawi is already flirting with
 dictatorship, report Dehghanpisheh and Dickey. First he suggested elections
 might have to be postponed if the security situation didn't improve, but he
 backtracked quickly. Soon after the June 28 handover of sovereignty to his
 regime, Allawi's government assumed martial-law powers -- though it has yet to
 use them. The government also agreed to reinstate capital punishment. "We need
 sanctions that are up to the scale of the crimes," Allawi says. Yet no one has
 been executed so far. "He was so clear to us about his commitment to
 democracy," says a former U.S. Coalition official. "I don't think anybody
 thought he was going to be a strongman."
     Allawi's concrete accomplishments are few. He's inspired the feeling of
 progress more than the substance. And U.S. officials say privately he may
 actually have planted the stories about summary executions as part of a
 psychological smoke-and-mirrors game. "He wants to project that dual role --
 to the West as a committed democrat, and to the Iraqis as a tough guy who got
 things done," says one diplomat. If Allawi is really going to impose order,
 he'll find it ever harder to look like a democrat. "You can have an overdose
 of democracy," a young Iraqi translator tried to explain last week to the
 American colonel he works for. "That was our problem. We need somebody
 strong."
     Allawi has flooded the streets with cops, many of them from the old
 regime. He's started a new General Security Directorate, otherwise known as
 the secret police. Every few days his troops attack neighborhoods where
 criminals have gathered, rounding up men by the hundreds, cracking heads and
 sometimes fighting running gun battles. Iraqi TV shows footage of exultant
 policemen firing their guns into the air as they leave the scene of a roundup.
 Magistrates have been put on 24-hour duty to handle the intake of prisoners-
 527 from one raid alone. "He's tough as nails on security," says the U.S.
 official. "Tougher than we are."
     Police lieutenant Mutaz Abdul Aziz, 26, who's taken part in two raids so
 far this month, tells Newsweek he has a new sense of pride in his job. He and
 his fellow cops didn't get much respect when they were working with the
 Americans. A couple of months ago, for instance, Aziz was bringing a suspected
 kidnapper to a police station. The perp began resisting at the doorway, and
 Aziz smacked him around. An American soldier on duty stepped in. "The
 Americans arrested me!" he says. "It was humiliating. I realized then that the
 Americans would never understand this country. We know best how to deal with
 Iraqis."
     Saleh, a 32-year-old Baghdad taxi driver who, with his uncle, was dragged
 from his car by kidnappers, and released after a beating and a ransom payment,
 tells Newsweek he blames the Americans for allowing such criminals to
 flourish. "These days when we want to scare the kids in my family, we tell
 them, 'Democracy is coming to get you' or 'Freedom is coming to get you,'" he
 says. "The kids don't know what it means, but they run away." Now Saleh puts
 his faith in the new sheriff in town. "Allawi is the only one who could fix
 the current situation," he says. "He's a brave man who has survived many
 assassination attempts. I trust only him." Most Iraqis seem to agree; 73
 percent supported Allawi in a poll last month.
 
        (Read Newsweek's news releases at http://www.Newsweek.MSNBC.com.
                              Click "Pressroom.")
 
 SOURCE  Newsweek