Chalabi Rides Again
My article on Ahmad Chalabi and his revived connections to the Bush administration and the Neocons is at Salon.com.
On the street in Iraq, people give nicknames to the big longtime-expatriate politicians whom the Americans brought back to Iraq. They call former transitional Prime Minister Iyad Allawi “Iyad the Baathist” because of his background in that party. And they call Ahmad Chalabi “Ahmad the Thief.” How appropriate that Chalabi has again made a splash in a Washington, D.C., that looks increasingly like a kleptocracy itself.
On the surface Chalabi ought to be finished in Iraqi politics. But until Dec. 15, he is a deputy prime minister. His meetings in Washington this week with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley acknowledge his high political office — even though not so long ago the Bush administration tried to destroy him. What accounts for the turnabout in his political fortunes in the United States? Credit the shifting political winds in Iraq — and perhaps yet more savvy back-channel dealings by Chalabi with the Bush administration. It can’t be because of his rap sheet, whole reams of pages long.