Strong Man

Christopher Hayes

Over the last few weeks, a dominant narrative has emerged in the press regarding the new President of Iraq, Iyad Allawi. The conventional view now is that Allawi is a strong man: not necessarily liberal, or democratic in inclination, but tough enough to stamp out the insurgency and give Iraqi's the security they so desperately want. When evaluating Allawi, it's important to keep in mind that he was originally a member of the Baath party, and by some accounts a fairly ruthless thug. He had a falling out with Saddam while he was living in London, working as an Iraqi spy. He was almost axed to death by Saddam's secret police, and after he recovered, he became a kind of exile leader, not unlike the recently indicted Ahmed Chalabi. Allawi, then, is not some morally courageous dissident who broke with Saddam's regime over its policies or brutality. This is not Vaclav Havel we're talking about: this is a guy who apparently ended up on the wrong side of an internal Baath party squabble. It's hard to imagine this is going to be the person who shephards Iraq towards a stable democratic state.

Help In These Times Celebrate & Have Your Gift Matched!

In These Times is proud to share that we were recently awarded the 16th Annual Izzy Award from the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College. The Izzy Award goes to an independent outlet, journalist or producer for contributions to culture, politics or journalism created outside traditional corporate structures.

Fellow 2024 Izzy awardees include Trina Reynolds-Tyler and Sarah Conway for their joint investigative series “Missing In Chicago," and journalists Mohammed El-Kurd and Lynzy Billing. The Izzy judges also gave special recognition to Democracy Now! for coverage that documented the destruction wreaked in Gaza and raised Palestinian voices to public awareness.

In These Times is proud to stand alongside our fellow awardees in accepting the 2024 Izzy Award. To help us continue producing award-winning journalism a generous donor has pledged to match any donation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $20,000.

Will you help In These Times celebrate and have your gift matched today? Make a tax-deductible contribution to support independent media.

Christopher Hayes is the host of MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes. He is an editor at large at the Nation and a former senior editor of In These Times.
The War on Protest Cover
Get 10 issues for $19.95

Subscribe to the print magazine.