Chalabi and Abdul Mahdi
An informed reader writes:
‘ There appears to be some Bush Administration disarray in relation to the candidates for Iraqi Prime Minister, which the “Western press” deem to be Messrs. Allawi, Chalabi and Mahdi, although the incumbent should not be counted out. Obviously, much depends on the votes received by List 555. If they win a majority of the seats, or nearly a majority, the electoral fate of Messrs Allawi and Chalabi could be irrelevant. This time around the USG cannot use Iraqi state television to favor a candidate, although how much good its endorsement did Mr. Allawi is open to question.
Mr. Chalabi is reported to be meeting with Secretary Rice tomorrow; Adel-Abdul Mahdi, to no press acclaim whatever (so far), met with her this morning. Secretary Snow, who Mr. Chalabi was also to meet, is in India and, it appears, will meet with neither of them. As far as has been reported, Mr. Allawi has not been to DC for some time. Prime Minister Jaafari did have meetings at State, but, in relation to President Talabani, did not receive a royal welcome. In terms of protocol, if Mr. Chalabi, but not Vice President Mahdi, meets with Vice President Cheney, there would appear to be either (a) something amiss or (b) a possible indication that Mr. Mahdi did not wish to meet with him.
It would appear that Mr. Mahdi’s approach makes more sense than does Mr. Chalabi’s in terms of Iraqi political considerations. ‘