Sunday, November 06, 2005

Chalabi Controversy

Ahamed Chalabi, Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, is paying the U.S. a visit this week. He will be meeting with Secretary of State Condi Rice, among other Administration officials. Why is this man coming here especially considering the fallout he had with the Bush Administration after he was accused of passing U.S. intelligence to Iran in April? Oh by the way, Chalabi visited Iran yesterday and had nothing but praise for the very regime that proclaimed Israel should be wiped off the map and which has taken a hardline approach towards U.S. policy as of late.

A small history lesson may be in order here. Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress (INC) were responsible for a large chunk of pre-war intelligence given to a skeptical CIA that later turned out to be fabricated, including the infamous images of mobile biological weapons labs presented to the U.N. by former Sec. of State Colin Powell. The INC had been working towards the removal of Saddam, a Sunni Arab, from power since 1992, which Chalabi, a Shi'ite Muslim, has been a member. Chalabi had formed especially close relationships with neoconservatives including members of PNAC, most notably Paul Wolfowitz, architect of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Bush Administration is now using Chalabi as a scapegoat for pre-war intelligence failures… how puzzling.

This man has a shady history that began over two decades ago when he started a bank in Jordan which later failed, and subsequently charged with bank fraud by the Jordanian government in absentia. He was involved in the failed Kurdish uprising in the mid-1990s, and fled the country following their defeat. Since the Iraq occupation, Chalabi and others from the INC have been under investigation for fraud and other criminal charges in the country. The U.N. made it known last year Chalabi would not be welcome in a new Iraqi government. Then Chalabi and the INC started promoting evidence for scandals in the Oil for Food Program without providing any documents, prompting criticism from the U.S. for undermining the investigation. Despite all of this, Chalabi managed to regain some credibility and got his current position in the new Iraqi government last April as a member of the United Iraqi Alliance. How very puzzling indeed.

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