Americans accused of interfering in Iraq election

Seymour Hersh, the American investigative journalist, said the White House secretly tried to influence the elections by undertaking operations "off the books". This was after the President had been frustrated in his support for a CIA operation to fund political candidates anywhere in the world who were seeking to spread democracy.

In practice, this would have allowed the CIA to give financial aid to the candidacy of Iyad Allawi, the interim Iraqi prime minister, appointed by the US in June 2004. The plan was dropped because of the opposition of Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader.

The US was compelled to agree to an open election in Iraq after it became apparent in the autumn of 2003 that direct rule by Paul Bremer, the US viceroy in Iraq, had provoked a vicious and rising guerrilla war. In conflict with the Sunni Arabs, Washington could not afford also to alienate the Shias or their religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. The Shia leaders wanted an election because their community, long politically marginalised in Iraq, makes up 60 per cent of the population.

But since the Gulf War in 1991 the US had been worried about allowing Shia parties or parties friendly with Iran to take power. This was a prime reason why the US did not overthrow Saddam Hussein after defeating his army in Kuwait.

Washington was happy with its choice of Iyad Allawi, a secular Shia businessman whose Iraqi National Accord group had long been supported by the CIA, as interim prime minister. It wanted him to do well enough in the election to stay as prime minister. The Kurds, suspicious of the Shia parties, would also have preferred Mr Allawi to stay in power.

Hersh quotes a UN official as saying: "The American embassy's aim was to make sure that Allawi remained as prime minister, and they tried to do it through manipulation of the system ... [But] the Shias rigged the election in the south as much as ballots were rigged for Allawi."

Mr Allawi clearly had money to spend during the election and it was assumed, though without any proof in Iraq, that this ultimately came from the US.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test