Iraqi interim prime minister Allawi admits that things aren’t going too well.
In his first speech before the interim National Assembly here, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi gave a sobering account on Tuesday of the threat posed by the insurgency, saying that the country’s instability is a “source of worry for many people” and that the guerrillas represent “a challenge to our will.”
In his speech, Dr. Allawi, who has cast himself as a tough leader since taking office in late June, insisted that elections would go ahead in January as planned, but he acknowledged that there were significant obstacles standing in the way of full security and reconstruction. The nascent police force is underequipped and lacks the respect needed from the public to quell the insurgency, he said, and American business executives have told him that they fear investing in Iraq because of the rampant violence here.
His tone was a sharp departure from the more optimistic assessment he gave to the American public on his visit to the United States last month. At his stop in Washington, Dr. Allawi made several sweeping assertions to reporters about the security situation in Iraq, including saying that the only truly unsafe place in the country was the downtown area of Falluja, the largest insurgent stronghold, and that only 3 of 18 provinces had “pockets of terrorists.”
Yeah, reality bites, especially when you don’t have the White House speechwriters to give you the talking points.