Articles / Interviews

May 6, 2016
Islam in the Contemporary World

A Keynote Address by Dr. Ali A. Allawi, delivered at the Nanyang Executive Centre in Singapore.

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September 5, 2015
The Great Trek

A Poem by Dr. Ali A. Allawi, inspired by the current refugee crisis in Europe.

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April 2003
The Anvil of Creation

A Poem Read by Dr. Ali A. Allawi at the Annual Conference of the Academy of Self Knowledge, Pretoria, South Africa.

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Fall 2010
Iraq Got the Worst of All Worlds

An interview of Dr. Ali Allawi that First Appeared in the Fall 2010 Issue of The Middle East Quarterly.

Middle East Quarterly: With the benefit of hindsight, was the 2003 Iraq war justified?

Ali Allawi: The answer, I am afraid, is equivocal. It depends on what term you use to justify the invasion. If you launch a war that is driven by mainly moral or ethical considerations with a specific purpose of removing a terrible dictatorship and replacing it with something else, then yes, you can make a case for that. But the war was never claimed to be a just war. It was waged in order to uncover weapons of mass destruction [WMD], so it's like a post factum justification. On balance, the answer is yes—we removed the dictatorship; no—because the mismanagement and subsequent disaster that befell the country could have been and should have been avoided and, therefore, perhaps overshadowed the removal of the dictatorship.

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December 10, 2013
The Second Wave of Modern Islam

These Reflections were part of Ali Allawi's Distinguished Lecture, Singapore, 10 December 2013.

EXCERPT: I would like to start by raising the question of the title of the lecture: The Second Wave of Modern Islam. Not only does this presuppose that there was a wave in the first place, but that in fact such a wave can be placed firmly in time and space. And that the wave has definable contours and moves in a particular direction, creating a grouping of events and facts that can be treated consistently by the historian. A wave, almost by definition, precludes the idea of randomness and incoherence; but a wave can nevertheless disguise the turbulence and even the chaos beneath it.

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15 July 2013
Reflections on The Revolutions in The Arab World (PDF)

Reflections on The Revolutions in The Arab World -- A Letter to a South East Asian Friend (15 July 2013) -- Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore

THIS letter was prompted by a discussion with Professor Syed Farid Alatas, Head of the Malay Studies Department at the National University of Singapore. The epistolary form was used to great effect by Edmund Burke in 1790 in his Reflections on the Revolution in France. I hope this letter will present a coherent central argument, and not be the "pathless wilderness of rhapsodies" that Thomas Paine charged Burke with writing.

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January 1, 2012
How Iraq Can Define Its Destiny

THE Iraq the United States left behind last month is dramatically different from the country it invaded in 2003. Gone are the comforting simplicities of the "war on terror" and democracy building. The geopolitical context that America has bequeathed to Iraq is now defined by five critical challenges.

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November 18, 2009
Islam, Ethics and Human Rights - An Alternative Perspective

2nd Seminar at the Carr Center, Kennedy School, Harvard University -- November 18, 2009.

Islamic law and practice seems to offer a qualified acceptance -- or partial rejection from another perspective- of the universalist doctrines of human rights principles, as enunciated in various world forums after WWII. ...

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November 4, 2009
The Iraq Crisis and the Future Middle East Order

What is Iraq?

I ask this question because it goes to the heart of the great crisis that we are passing through

It is not a nation, at least not in terms of the commonly understood definitions of a nation. It lacks the essential elements of nationhood; in particular Ernest Renan's acute comment that what holds a nation together is as much what its people have chosen to forget as what its people share in common. A nation's memory must be selective. That is clear, notwithstanding the ultimately doomed efforts of Arab nationalists to typecast Iraq as a uniquely Arab state, a metaphorical and actual defender of Arabism.

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November 4, 2009
For the First Time, A Real Blueprint For Peace in Iraq

The Iraqi state that was formed in the aftermath of the First World War has come to an end. Its successor state is struggling to be born in an environment of crises and chaos. The collapse of the entire order in the Middle East now threatens as the Iraq imbroglio unleashes forces in the area that have been gathering in virulence over the past decades.

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November 4, 2009
Islamic Civilization in Peril

I was born into a mildly observant Muslim family in Iraq. At that time, the 1950s, secularism was ascendant among the political, cultural, and intellectual elites of the Middle East. It appeared to be only a matter of time before Islam would lose whatever hold it still had on the Muslim world. Even that term — "Muslim world" — was unusual, as Muslims were more likely to identify themselves by their national, ethnic, or ideological affinities than by their religion.

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October 28, 2009
Evolution of the Idea of Human Rights and Duties in Islam

1st Seminar at the Carr Center, Kennedy School, Harvard University -- October 28, 2009.

The contemporary notion of human rights -- embodied in theory, practice and law -- does not have a parallel provenance in pre-modern Islamic thought and practice...

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