The nomination of former Baathist Iyad Allawi as Iraq's interim prime minister has evoked mixed feelings inside Iraq.
"First of all the man has a bad reputation among Iraqis for his US-UK links. Also, there is resentment because Allawi's Iraqi National Accord party has a large number of former Baathists," said Aljazeera correspondent in Baghdad Atwar Bahjat.
"However, because of his relative success in dealing with the security issue in Iraq, a considerable number of Iraqis support his nomination, hoping he would restore security and stability," Bahjat said.
'Best choice available'
Iraqi pan-Arab nationalist Harun Muhammad believes Iyad Allawi is the finest selection available among the Iraqi Governing Council's (IGC) Shia block.
"If we compare him to other Shia figures like Abd Al-Azizi Al-Hakim, Muwafaq al-Rubaai, Muhammad Bahr al-Olum ... etc, he is the best. He enjoys a pan-Arab nationalism background, and he is a secular Arab Muslim Shia," Muhammad told Aljazeera.net.
Iraqi papers dubbed al-Chalabi
and Allawi as rival US agents
"He is the only IGC Shia member who enjoys normal and warm relations with Arab countries like Jordan, Syria and Egypt, while other IGC Shia members do not. They have strong relations only with Iran.
"I worked with him. I set up for him a radio station in Jordan in the 1990s; it was an Iraqi opposition radio station. I can say that he has no sectarian leanings."
Fawzi Farman, the secretary-general of the Gathering of Iraqi Independents said the nomination was a powerful blow to conservative Shia and the Iranian-backed Shia bloc.
"Allwai's nomination pleased the secularists, technocrats, and professionals. But obviously it angered hardline Shia politicians like Al-Hakim and Bahr al-Oloum," he said.
Iraqi politicians dismissed media reports suggesting the nomination was made by the IGC, saying Allawi was nominated by the US.
Harun Muhammad believes it was a result of an understanding between the US and the United Nations.
"The fact that the rulers of Iraq are appointed by an occupation force taints Allawi's nomination"
Dr Muhammad Ayash,
Association of Muslim Scholars
"Ambassador Robert Blackwell, who is an advisor to Condoleezza Rice, has been in Baghdad since two months, and the nomination came after discussions between him and UN's special envoy to Iraq al-Akhdhar al-Ibrahimi," he said.
Aljazeera's correspondent confirmed that IGC members dissociated themselves from Allawi's appointment.
"A number of IGC members speaking on condition of anonymity said it was a US nomination. They said the US brought down its ally al-Chalabi, and selected its other ally, Allawi," the correspondent said.
Spokesman for the Association of Muslim Scholars, Dr Muhammad Ayash said the nomination changed nothing on the ground.
"The fact that the rulers of Iraq are appointed by an occupation force taints Allawi's nomination," he said.
"We are clear about what we want. We want the US-led occupation forces out of Iraq, so that Iraqi people would choose their government themselves. Iraqis will remain suspicious about any official appointed by US occupation," Ayash said.