Thursday, May 20, 2004

Chucking Out Chalabi 

It's hard to say at this point what the US raid on Ahmed Chalabi's home means for the INC and the general political picture in Iraq. As for what Chalabi was up to (or not up to), there's the State/CIA side which says that Chalabi was nothing more than a crock, encapsulated in this UPI column. The Pentagon has always backed Chalabi as a democrat; fellow Shotgunner Adam Daifallah's personal experiences in Baghdad is consistent with that perspective (via Shotgun).

One thing I do know for certain, however, is that this is an appealing development to the State Department. I can recall my first reaction with Paul Bremer's appointment as CPA head was his State past and I worried whether he would bend over backwards to retain the old Baath guard, at the expense of Iraqi exiles and democrats. He proved me wrong for some time, with an extensive debaathification and the general sense of progress. But now, at one of the most inopportune moments, Bremer is acting in a way that does not give me much confidence, with his invitation to old Baathists to get their jobs back and now this.

The UPI column points out that by attacking Chalabi, his reputation amongst Iraqis may improve. But if allegations that he was spying for Iran prove true (or just plain stick), however, any brownie points are likely to be out the window.

And now Forbes reports that the seized INC files are related to the IGC Oil-for-Food scandal investigation. This is getting uglier by the minute.
Any news whether Iran was feeding stories trying to get their old nemesis dethroned? I haven't seen evidence either way, but it would explain a whole bunch o' stuff if it is true.
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