Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ahmed Chalabi again

On my old blog, I posted a lot about Bush's Iraq War and, among other things, the Ahmed Chalabi connection.

Amazingly, Chalabi is back in the news again.

This would be hard to believe if it was spelled out in a paranoid thriller.

Ahmed Chalabi, who played a major role in tricking G.W. Bush into invading Iraq, is still in Iraq, manipulating the election in Iran's favour--and against the interests of the U.S. It might actually be true that he was always an Iranian agent, lobbying in Washington and fooling the fools so as to make Iraq weaker, and Iran under the mullahs stronger. Chalabi also played a role in Iran-Contra years ago.

First among these [opposing genuine democracy in Iraq] is Iran, which has a simple strategy for the coming months: Turn the elections into a bitter sectarian battle -- and thereby ensure that the next government will be led by its hard-line Shiite allies.

To an alarming extent, the campaign is succeeding. Tehran's leading agent, as both Hill and Odierno noted, is Ahmed Chalabi, a Shiite who in 2002 played a major role in persuading the Bush administration to go to war. Now he has managed to have hundreds of candidates eliminated from the election on the mostly bogus grounds that they were or are loyalists of Saddam Hussein's Baath party. His targets are not just Sunni leaders but secular nationalists -- the two most important banned candidates are leading members of cross-sectarian alliances. The success of those tickets would be a triumph for Iraqi democracy -- and a huge setback for Iran.

Chalabi aims to become prime minister of the next government, which would be a disaster for Iraq and for Washington. And worse outcomes are possible. Also angling for power are Bayan Jabr, a Shiite who oversaw the interior ministry when it was infamous for torture and death squads; and Ibrahim Jaafari, who as prime minister oversaw the eruption of the sectarian war of 2006-07.

UPDATE: I should have said h/t to Atrios.

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