Thursday, May 20, 2004

Iraq occupation: Chalabi arrested. Plotting a coup? 

In Iraq, it seems people don't just play both ends against the middle, they play all sides against the middle.

The U.S. command in Baghdad raided Ahmed Chalabi's home and headquarters in Baghdad at dawn today. U.S. soldiers put a gun to his head, according to his nephew Salem Chalabi, the Associated Press reports. Chalabi aides blame the CIA and Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Why did the Bush administration turn against its former favorite Iraqi? Almost certainly because it realized that Chalabi, maddened by the realization that he was being excluded from the post-June 30 hand-over arrangements, was putting together a sectarian Shiite faction to destabilize and destroy the new Iraqi government.

"His dream has always been to be a sectarian Shia leader," says the Iraqi political observer of his old friend Chalabi. "He knows that, sooner or later, Muqtada al-Sadr is going to be killed, [and] that will leave tens, hundreds, of thousands of his followers adrift, looking for a new leader. If Ahmed plays the role of victim after [today's raid], he can take on that role."

U.S. disenchantment with Chalabi has been growing since it dawned on the White House and the Pentagon that everything he had told them about Iraq -- from Saddam Hussein's fiendish weapons arsenal to the crowds who would toss flowers at the invaders to Chalabi's own popularity in Iraq -- had been completely false. Some months ago King Abdullah of Jordan was surprised to be informed by President Bush that the king could "piss on Chalabi." Fanatic neoconservatives like Richard Perle and Michael Rubin may have continued to champion Chalabi, insisting that the United States should have imposed him as Iraq's ruler right after the invasion, but elsewhere in Washington his stock has been dropping like a stone.
(via Salon)

So much for the Garibaldi of Iraq. No wonder Bush is going to have to make so many speeches on Iraq.... But don't cry for Chalabi, Iraq! He's still got the millions we gave him, the files we gave him from Saddam's secret police, and his brother is in charge of the tribunal that's going to try Saddam...

I haven't seen any apologies from the nec-cons on Chalani, incredible though that may seem. Readers?

UPDATE Then, of course, there is the conspiratorial view. Leave it to the Brits in the person of the London Times Diplomatic Editor who writes:

"Paradoxically, Mr Chalabi's fall-out with America may actually work in his favour. He has been regarded by many Iraqis as little more than a CIA stooge since arriving here. Now that their relations have ended, that charge no longer applies."

So Bremer is doing Chalabi a favor, since Chalabi is the strong man we really want? The mind reels....

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


copyright 2003-2010

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?