I was guest-blogging for Atrios in July 2004 when I wrote this post (with follow-ups here, here, here, and here) about allegations that Interim Iraqi PM Iyad Allawi killed six men in cold blood a few days before the “transfer of sovereignty” at the end of June.
Not surpisingly, major U.S. media never picked up on the story and not much was heard about the allegations after the award-winning Australian journalist who broke the story, Paul McGeough, fled Iraq fearing for his life.
Today, however, we find a report confirming the Allawi execution story.
A former Jordanian government minister has told The New Yorker that an American official confirmed to him that the Iraqi interim Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi, executed six suspected insurgents at a Baghdad police station last year.
The claim is in an extensive profile of Dr Allawi written for this week’s issue of the magazine by an American journalist, Jon Lee Anderson, the author of The Fall of Baghdad and a regular Baghdad correspondent for The New Yorker.
Writing about his research in Jordan in December, Anderson says: “A well-known former government minister told me that an American official had confirmed that the killings took place, saying to him, ‘What a mess we’re in – we got rid of one son of a bitch only to get another one’.”
The New Yorker also revealed that Anderson was present during an interview conducted by the Herald’s chief correspondent, Paul McGeough, in late June, with a man who said he witnessed the executions by Dr Allawi.
Dr Allawi denied the allegations when they were published in the Herald last July.
Anderson writes: “The man … described how Allawi had been taken to seven suspects, who were made to stand against a wall in a courtyard of the police station, their faces covered. After being told of their alleged crimes by a police official, Allawi had asked for a pistol, and then shot each prisoner in the head. [One of the men survived.] Afterward, the witness said, Allawi had declared to those present, ‘This is how we must deal with the terrorists.’ The witness said he approved of Allawi’s act, adding that, in any case, the terrorists were better off dead, for they had been tortured for days.”