Allawi's rocky road to the top
July 17, 2004
1945: Born to a wealthy Shiite merchant family. His grandfather helped to negotiate Iraq's independence from Britain, and his father was a doctor and a MP.
1960s: Studies at medical school in Baghdad, where he first meets Saddam Hussein. Joins Baath party.
1963: According to the memoirs of a former Iraqi ambassador, Talib Shabib, Allawi was an assassin.
1971: Leaves Baghdad for London to continue his medical education. Trains to be a neurologist and obtains a master of science in medicine and a doctorate in medicine from London University. (Allawi has lived about half of his life in Britain and retains British citizenship.) Some claim he continued to serve the Baath party, and the Iraqi secret police, searching out enemies of the regime.
1975: Falls out of favour with the Baath party.
1978: Enters a relationship with the British security services. Word reaches Saddam's secret police. He is attacked while in his bed in Kingston-upon-Thames. Intruder hits him over the head with an axe, a second blow nearly severs his right leg, and a third plunges into his chest. The would-be assassins flee. Allawi spends a year in hospital recovering from his injuries.
1980s: Travels extensively in the Middle East, holding clandestine meetings with other exiled Iraqis, and cultivating links with rebel army officers still in Iraq.
1991: Forms the exile group Iraqi National Accord with the support of the CIA and British intelligence - MI6 - and becomes its leader. The organisation recruits disillusioned Baathist military officers who have defected.
1992: According to former CIA officers, the INA organises terrorist attacks in Iraq between 1992 and 1995, probably including the bombing of a school bus that killed schoolchildren.
1996: An INA coup attempt ends disastrously when Saddam's intelligence services penetrate the group's dissident operations inside Iraq. In June, 30 military officers linked to the INA are executed and another 100 arrested. Saddam takes revenge by seizing land that has been owned for centuries by Allawi's rich merchant family.
2002: Allawi channels the report from an Iraqi officer claiming that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes to British Intelligence.
2003: After the fall of Saddam, Allawi returns to Iraq and is appointed to the Iraqi Governing Council. Holds the rotating presidency of the interim governing council during October of 2003.
May 28, 2004: Allawi is chosen by the council to become the interim prime minister of Iraq.
June 28: (Two days early) the US-led coalition hands over power to Allawi and the interim government.
Sources: The Guardian, BBC
See also the Sydney Morning Herald at http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/07/16/1089694568976.html?oneclick=true