Ali Allawi

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Ali A. Allawi (1947-) is a Senior Visiting Fellow at Princeton University, having retired from politics. He was the first postwar Minister of Defense, served in the Transitional National Assembly as a member of the United Iraqi Alliance, and was Minister of Finance and of Trade in the government of Ibrahim al-Jaafari. He wrote a book on his government experiences, The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace, [1] and, at Princeton, he has written a new book of criticisms following those of the Iraq War, directed at the Muslim world, The Crisis of Islamic Civilization.[2]

He holds a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, did postgraduate studies in regional planning at the London School of Economics,

He was part of the expatriate opposition to Saddam Hussein from 1968 onwards, working in finance outside the country, including at the World Bank. In 1978, he co-founded Arab International Finance, a merchant bank based in London, and in 1992, he founded Fisa Group, which manages two hedge funds. In 1999-2002, he was a Senior Associate Member of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs at St. Anthony's College, Oxford University. [3]

He is a nephew of Ahmed Chalabi.[4]

Current academic work

Interviewed about the recent work, he said three waves of crisis have affected Islamic society: [5]

  1. Western colonialization into Islamic territory.
  2. aspects of modernization or Westernization that challenged the Islamic perspective on life and values
  3. Globalization and the integration of key aspects of the Islamic world into the global order.

"These waves have engulfed it, and in none of these episodes has there been an authentic Islamic response. There has been resistance, and rejection, but in reality it has basically been a retreat.

He sees aspects of Western democracy as alien to Islamic society, "such as adversarial politics and embedded checks and balances." Islamic politics, in its own way, "trends towards the same objectives, such as fairness, justice, representation, access to decision makers etc., ...But it will not be expressed in the same way or forms as a Western democracy. You have to do it in terms of Islam’s own understanding of these values."


  1. Ali A. Allawi (2007), The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace, Yale University Press, ISBN 9780300110159
  2. Ali A. Allawi (2009), The Crisis of Islamic Civilization, Yale University Press, ISBN 9780300139310
  3. Ali A. Allawi, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
  4. Alan Weisman (2007), Prince of Darkness: Richard Perle; the Kingdom, the Power, and the End of Empire in America, Union Square, ISBN 140275230X, p. 243
  5. James Robertson (2 June 2009), "Interview with Ali Allwai", The Diplomat