Monday :: Jan 31, 2005

Is The Bush Administration Working To Install Ahmed Chalabi In New Iraqi Government?


by Steve

Is it possible that in the rush of PNAC gloating and victory we’ll be seeing over the next week or so that after all is said and done, the Bush Administration will see to it that Ahmed Chalabi is installed in the new Iraq government, in a position of power? And this would happen even though our government as late as several months ago though he was an Iranian spy?

From last night’s "Hardball" with Chris Matthews, wherein he interviewed our favorite Chalabi mouthpiece Judith Miller of the NYT:

MATTHEWS: Let‘s do the math because it‘s a political program. Judy, we had 25 million people estimated—we don‘t grade censuses over in that part of the world -- 25 million Iraqis, 14 million people eligible, 18 years old, citizens of Iraq and registered to vote. So we had 14 million potential voters today. What is the estimate we‘re talking about? Some people were saying up to 70 percent, then it was 60 percent. But any way you look at it, almost 10 million voters today. That is a success, right?
MILLER: Now, Chris, that is a success. And there‘s something else. What is really interesting is I was recently given just a few hours ago some numbers from the State Department‘s own intelligence and research bureau that showed, in fact, that as of 10 or 15 days ago, the administration had done its own polling and expected very high turnout throughout the country. Which may have been one reason why there were these belated and sudden outreaches to people whom the administration had heretofore spurned.
MATTHEWS: What does that mean?
MILLER: Well, there were, for example, some very tense relations between Ahmed Chalabi and the administration after they had raided his home, after they had accused him of being an Iranian agent, of giving information to Iran.
MATTHEWS: Right.
MILLER: We now are told, according to my sources, that the administration has been reaching out to Mr. Chalabi to offer him expressions of cooperation and support. And according to one report, he was even offered a chance to be an interior minister in the new government. But I think one effect of this vote is going to be that the Iraqis themselves will decide who will hold...
(CROSSTALK)
MATTHEWS: Wait a minute. When you say—Judy, when you say administration, do you mean the alliance party leadership or Allawi over there, the current prime minister? Who are you talking about?
MILLER: We are talking about the administration officials who have been reaching out to...
MATTHEWS: You mean Americans?
MILLER: ... Sistani‘s—yes, American officials who have been reaching out to Sistani‘s party. Because Dr. Chalabi is on that list.
MATTHEWS: So where—so we have an election over there. And the same day we‘re holding an election, the same week, we are plotting which ministries to give to Chalabi, the guy who talked us into the war in the first place.
MILLER: No, no. There were expressions. There was apparently an effort to determine whether or not he would be interested in assuming a certain portfolio.
MATTHEWS: Why are we in the business of deciding or even negotiating cabinet ministries in a foreign government?
MILLER: No. Well, you know, Chris, first of all, this is just one report. But I think what is very clear, according to people I talked to today, is that they have been attempting to mend fences with him. Now understanding that as a tent (ph) on that Sistani list, the Shia list, he will be an important person in Iraq. And I think that there will have to be a lot of rethinking on the part of the Americans with whom they want to deal.
MATTHEWS: We‘ll have to talk more about this in the coming days. But the idea that the man who won his country back through the vice president‘s office, Ahmed Chalabi, finds his way now through all this electoral process to end up as oil minister or finance minister, as you say, interior minister—and I think he has higher ambitions than that—makes the electoral process come down to the guy who started the war, ends up winning the war, irregardless of how people vote over there.
MILLER: Well, you know, I think the interesting thing was the up and down, was the kind of rise and fall of Ahmed Chalabi in this administration. On one hand, in the beginning, he was the person supported adamantly by the Defense Department. He was opposed by the State Department and the CIA...

MATTHEWS: Right.

MILLER: ... who said he had no popular support in the country...

MATTHEWS: Right.

MILLER: ... and he wouldn‘t be able to hold a coalition together. We‘ve now seen that, in fact, he played a pivotal role in putting together, helping to put together the list which we don‘t know yet, but it may very well have done extremely well, if not won the vote.

First off, notice that the White House knew weeks ago that turnout would be high, yet Bush late last week was driving down expectations so that when the turnout ended up being high, Bush could in a typically Rovian "beat the expectations" game claim a great victory while quickly moving to kiss Chalabi's ass.

Second, the idea that we would even be talking to Chalabi at all about a role in the new government when the FBI and CIA both thought he was working against this country’s interests is appalling. Why are our soldiers dying over there: to give Iraqis the freedom to put together their own future and government, or to ensure that the PNAC plan is carried out by their friends like Chalabi?

Sure, why not? With Porter Goss at the CIA instead of Tenet and Condi at State instead of Powell, there is no one left to stop Cheney and Rummy from rehabilitating Chalabi into the next Thomas Jefferson.

Steve :: 12:07 PM :: Comments (16) :: Digg It!