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The world's greatest "feet-lander".

I can’t quite understand how Ahmad Chalabi always seems to land on his feet:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's oil minister said Monday he resigned after the government last week gave him a forced vacation and replaced him with Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi following criticism about fuel price increases.

*The Jordanians have convicted Chalabi of bank fraud.

*He's cozied up to the neoconservative wing of the GOP..whose foreign policy has pretty much wrecked the US' reputation abroad.

*He is one of the key figures in the Iraqi National Congress who lulled Team Bush into the WMD intelligence fiasco with Iraq.

*Chalabi turned over US state secrets to Iran.

This guy has built up the kind of lousy karma that other bad guys can only dream about. But he continues to worm his way into places. The string pullers in the Bush Administration keep giving this guy opportunity after opportunity to screw people over.

The greatest predictor of future events is the past. Given Chalabi's quite shady history, he must have some hot and juicies on the neocon/Bush people. Or he's got access to something else that they really want.

Chalabi is definitely pulling the oil strings now. Or at least he has a hand in it.

How long it will take him to screw over the Iraqi people and/or the US is anyone's guess. But I doubt it will be long.

Posted by Carla Ryan at January 2, 2006 7:23 PM
Comments
Comment #109859

Carla,
It’s a little easier to land on your feet when you embezzle a bank for tens of millions of dollars, collect a montly salary from the Pentagon of $350,000, and front an essentially fictional organization called the Iraqi National Congress, which collects an additional $33 million from the US State Department.

Ah, your tax dollars at work.

But the Iraqi National Congress was a fraud, a creation of the Renton Group, among others. There never was a movement of Iraqis agitating for democracy from their exile. There were, however, a large number who agitated for power. They gladly collected our money and provided us the desired lies.

It simply beggars the imagination that Chalabi obtained the position of Interim Oil Minister, and is now the Oil Minister again, at least for one month.

But as most of us now know, preliminary reports indicate the Fundamentalists won big in Iraq, and the secularists, in particular the US front organizations headed by Allawi & Chalabi, were crushed.

Chalabi possesses a huge amount of money, and maintains a powerful network of connections. The pathetic Neocons still back Chalabi, in hopes he can deliver Iraqi oil contracts to US companies. The Iranians, for whom Chalabi spied for at our expense, also maintain contacts. Meanwhile, Chalabi is in it for Chalabi.

But it’s all just sad. According to the WaPo, the US will not be extending any new reconstruction funds to Iraq. Stick a fork in it. Iraq is done, and regardless of the outcome, one way or another, we’re leaving soon.

Will this be remembered as the biggest foreign policy debacle in the history of the United States? Jury is still out. In some respects, Vietnam was unquestionably worse. Yet, though lies and mendacity and sheer incompetence, the Bush administration has delivered Iraq a stunning victory.

Next stop for the Iranians: Kuwait. Should be easy for them. Heckuva job, Bushie.

Posted by: phx8 at January 2, 2006 10:05 PM
Comment #109860

Correction, that should read “… the Bush administration has delivered IRAN a stunning victory.”

Posted by: phx8 at January 2, 2006 10:06 PM
Comment #109869

Chalabi stayed in power by suddenly getting religion and cozying up to al-Sadr — who just happens to have one of the largest armed militias in Iraq and is in control of Basra and other strategic areas in the Shiite heartland.

Chalabi sure knows how to pick ‘em. He’s a survivor.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 3, 2006 12:05 AM
Comment #109880

phx8, each time you post something about this thug, I notice that we are obviously on the exact same wavelength of disgust and outrage regarding Chalabi. That the Neocon’s are still so g*ddamed cozy with him, despite the fact that they’re now attempting to hide this fact by having no photos taken when he comes calling in DC is revolting — and something that should be loudly and angrily denounced by every citizen in America. Left, Right and Center.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 3, 2006 1:50 AM
Comment #109886

Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to know the truth about the allegations against Chalabi, but a few things are obvious.

The far left has hated him for a long time because he was an elequent English-speaking Iraqi who vocally supported the removal of Saddam Hussein, and a lot of the accusations against him (from them at last) need to be seen in that light.

Did he commit banking fraud? That’s an open question, but I put little stock in the Jordanian legal system—which is under a king, (and where homosexuality is illegal, incidentally, you civil liberterarians) and where it’s entirely believable that a man who publicaly advocates Arab democracies could be seen as a danger smeared by an authoritarian regime.

If Chalabi didn’t commit banking fraud, the Jordanian regime has an interest in saying he did.

And if he did commit banking fraud, then he’s a white collar criminal—not a saint, but no worse than most of those running countries in the middle east. You don’t have to admire him to say that he’s a lot better than most of the leaders in that part of the world (not to mention others).

In fact, what Chalabi is accused of is actually not as bad as what the current Secretary General of the United Nations is accused of. And that man, an known thief and liar, is the toast of the left around the world!

Like I said, a verified saint would be nice, but there are just too many anti-war partisans with a vested interest in taking down Chalabi to take their accusations at face value.

As for the WMD intelligence, Chalabi was only saying what all the intelligence services of the world were saying and had been since early in the Clinton administration, so that’s just a straw man.

The only item on your list of genuine concern is his supposed leaks of info to Iran which might have hurt our war efforts. As far as I know, however, none of this has been substantiated or pursued in court. Perhaps it should be pursued, though I’m not sure how, since he’s not an American citizen.

If it’s true—if Chalabi leaked information that hurt the war effort—then I strongly disapprove.

Illegally leaking information like that puts him on the level of the New York Times, which is about as low as treasonous behavior gets.

Posted by: sanger at January 3, 2006 2:22 AM
Comment #109892

Nice Job, sanger!!! Nice to see how much Republicans love people who kill American GIs.

Posted by: Aldous at January 3, 2006 6:02 AM
Comment #109893

Sanger
If he (Chalabi) divulged info to Iran? Such an act would fit his “land on feet” character to a tee. That my friend is his guarantee that come hell or high water (see U.S / Iran), he’s in the boat. (w/ a nice cabin)

Posted by: richard at January 3, 2006 6:04 AM
Comment #109907
There never was a movement of Iraqis agitating for democracy from their exile.

Hmmm, The rest of the comments here are cause for further investigation by people like me, but I am concerned about this one. Can you prove this? Was it just not legitimately organized under the name that Chalabi ran or are you saying that a large number of Iraqi exiles, who I have heard speak and were afraid of reprisals from the Iraqi intelligence service (read: international terrorists), didn’t really want Saddam overthrown and a democracy put in it’s place? They just wanted things to stay the status quo?

Because, I’m afraid, that would go against a) reason and Occam’s Razor and b) what I have heard from former Iraq exiles.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 3, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #109944

Sanger,
“As for the WMD intelligence, Chalabi was only saying what all the intelligence services of the world were saying.”

No. Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress did not merely echo. They were not just receivers. They were the source of the misinformation. They were the source of the lies, with the most infamous being ‘Curveball.’ And remember, Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress were creations of the US, through the Renton Group.

As for bank fraud… Ok, most of the people from that region aren’t exactly saints. But it is incumbent upon us to recogize this. It doesn’t make sense to give a known criminal the keys to a national treasury.

By the way, a chief source, an originator of the Oil for Food scandal is… guess who?… Yep. Chalabi. Most of his allegations have gone unproven.

Rhinehold,
The problem we repeatedly run into with Iraq is projecting what we want onto what motivates Iraqis. The US has pursued a foreign policy which stresses 1) removing Saddam Hussein, and 2) democracy for the nation of Iraq. We’ve assumed the Iraqis want the same. In fact, they did want the same as us, namely, the overthrow of Hussein. After that, interests differ. Iraqis aren’t necessarily opposed to democracy, i.e., a western styled political structure. It’s just that their primary loyalty is towards their own ethnic/religious group. Each group will accept democracy. But first and foremost, each group will make self-rule the priority.


This is an inherent tension. The latest election underscores the problem. Each group has voted for its own ethnic group, and Iraqis have resoundingly rejected the secularists.

Democracy for Iraqis? Sure. As long as its a fundamentalist theocratic democracy resembling Iran, and as long as it means self-rule.

Chalabi has never been a fundamentalist. Chalabi is a Chalabist. He’s in it for himself, for the accumlation of power and wealth, for payola for his own powerful network of cronies. That is has taken so long for the Neocons to realize this has resulted in the blackening of our own national honor.

Posted by: phx8 at January 3, 2006 3:24 PM
Comment #109967

Phx8, the world intelligence community is even worse than we think if Chalabi himself was single-handedly conning all them—along with Clinton and the French—for nearly a decade, long before the rest of us even knew his name. To pull this off, Chalabi would need supernatural abilities of mind control, not to mention the cooperation of Saddam Hussein in pretending he had something to hide and refusing to fully cooperate with arms inspections.

In any case, the Silberman-Robb Commission found that Chalabi’s input and influence on WMD intelligence was minimal. This notion that Chalabi was the source of a significant portion of WMD information has been severely discredited and persists mainly as a conspiracy theory that’s being passed around on left-wing blogs.

As for the Oil-for-food scandal, you’re right that Chalabi was one of the first to draw attention to it.

But this is actually something which tends to lend credence to Chalabi since many of his allegations have been shown true or are under current investigation by agencies (including international organizations) which have nothing to do with Chalabi—and which are certainly not under his control.

Not since the left’s belief that Karl Rove enjoys nearly supernatural power have I seen anything like what the left says about Chalabi.

He can control and/or fool the intelligence agencies of the world. Wow.

He can instigate, without substance, internal and external investigations of international organizations including the UN, which lead to firing, convictions and active invetigations by indepenent news organizations. Or are CNN, the AP, BBC and The New York Times also under Chalabi’s control?

But incidentally, as I understand it we were not the ones to hand the the keys to Chalabi at all and that he’s managed to secure his position by courting both Sunni and Shia support.

As for those banking fraud allegations, who knows? I don’t know enough of the details to say one way or another. But I do wonder what financial “fraud” even means under a legal system where a a nation’s oil wealth is pretty much the personal property of a king. Under a legal system like that, I have no doubt that a democratic reformer could easily be accused of all kinds of things for reasons having nothing to with the substance of the charges.

Having said that, Chalabi may very well be a white-collar criminal, but we’ve got more than a few of those in our own government as well, and I’ll take that any day over the mullahs, royal families, and head -choppers who compose the rest of the power elite in that part of the world.

I’m not really a defender of Chalabi—I don’t know or care that much about it. But the substance of the accusations against him is far from cut and dried. And too many of the people saying he’s a criminal are the same ones saying that Bush and Blair are criminals too—in short, people with their own agendas and credibility problems.

Posted by: sanger at January 3, 2006 5:24 PM
Comment #109978

Sanger, Cheney and the DoD believe Chalabi burned them. Hell, they arrested him at one point, but Chalabi’s buddies in Iraq got him released. I don’t know why you’d buck the Bush line and defend him now. You’re usually a very staunch Bush-fan.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 3, 2006 6:42 PM
Comment #110123

hey sanger,
You have once again reiterated the banality of the christian conservative right. Time and time again we have seen these “sheep” ignore atrocities that their administration has perpetrated against the american people and the rest of the world. Murder and coruption and illegal spying on americans are fine as long as abortion is banned. The right wing has lost all credibility, they have proven time and again that they will blindly follow any politician who labels himself a conservative christian. Then they whine and label the left wing “commies” while establishing a Stalinesq, iron fisted government. Both Hitler and Stalin used such tactics, but some history is best not repeated.

Posted by: jeff at January 4, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #110524

Sanger–

[blockquote]As for the WMD intelligence, Chalabi was only saying what all the intelligence services of the world were saying and had been since early in the Clinton administration, so that’s just a straw man.[/blockquote]

This simply untrue … Chalabi represented the SINGLE source for many of the administration’s WMD claims. Yes, Saddam did possess certain weapons at ONE POINT, and we (and others) had the dated intelligence that suggested that.

But for many of the administration’s more dire claims concerning recent projects or acquisitions, the info came directly from Chalabi and his people–and often was not verifiable elsewhere (of course it wasn’t, because it wasn’t true).

It’s a gross oversimplification of the facts to claim that “everyone thought the same thing.” You must be aware of this.

Frankly, I wouldn’t care if it WERE true that every-other country possessed the same intelligence. We spend billions and billions of more dollars on intelligence gathering than anyone else.

Posted by: mattLaw at January 5, 2006 10:15 PM
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