« "Richly and Royally Fooled" - Habbakuk | Main | Assault of an Outpost? »

15 May 2007


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Cold War Zoomie

I'm surprised at how the last few posts about Chalabi rely on the press and journalists so much. During my time as a minuscule cog in the machine, it became obvious pretty quickly that what was on the tellie one night didn't match up with what was happening on the ops floor the day before. That's the nature of the beast.

Hmmmm. Why the increase in "chatter" about this guy now?


Chalabi met with Sharansky and Netanyahu? No doubt they were planning a comeback as the new Three Stooges.

W. Patrick Lang


My experience is quite different. open source material is often more useful than the classified if you have the wit to arrive at the "net" result.

As for Chalabi, he interests me. That is reason enough. pl


Seems like the only reliably inferable knowledge from this material is that Chalabi had quite a few fingers in quite a few pies.

If you drew a set diagram for Israeli, Iranian and U.S. thinking on Iraq pre-war, then Chalabi would be sitting right where the circles overlapped. . .


This article is from May, 2003. On another thread, several posters pointed out that Chalabi's previous machinations, duplicity and treachery were 'common knowledge' by the late 1990's and naturally up through the 2004 elections.

So how did he get himself appointed deputy minister of oil and later Minister, a post he held through part of 2006? At which point nobody could still be under any illusions about him. Any public US objections to this?

anna missed

Isn't Chalabi still in control of the de-Baathification commission? And has outlived the reconciliation drive authored by Khalilzad -- and oft repeated "Benchmark" extraordinare demanded in Washington.

Who needs middle east oil when these folks have discovered the ship of state runs perfectly well on bullshit!

Cold War Zoomie

Col Lang,

I'll definitely defer to your experience. All mine is on the other side of the Potomac. I don't want to know what's happening over on your side - life's easier that way!


The U.S. is being bled white financially and militarily.

There is very evidently a clique that believes that this can be done safely and, in fact, that it will strengthen their cause.

I think, Colonel Lang, that you put your finger on the truth when you point out that it is conceivable that there are "others" out there who realize that bleeding the U.S. white will result in the fall of the U.S.

Has the U.S. ever been weaker militarily than it is now?

Has the U.S ever been weaker financially than it is now?

If you read the Wall Street Journal and listen to Dick Cheney, the answer is that it is stronger that it has ever been.

Chalabi is very definitely a sign that, just possibly, WSJ and Dick Cheney have it backwards.

W. Patrick Lang

plp et all

Try to get your minds around this idea, "that the Iranians may have used Chalabi and the neocons to put us in the position are now in fighing the various Sunni and secular Shia insurgent groups for the benefit of the Shia and Iran."

Does that mean we should go to war with Iran? No, not unless we can't handle the thought that we may have been "outplayed." pl


Oh, Colonel, I completely agree. Totally agree. Going to "war" with Iran now would be one of the greatest blunders in Western history.

Interestingly, I think there are thinking Israeli's who realize that what the Israeli Air Force did to Lebanon was a war crime, and not a very productive war crime either.

I guess what the clique believes is that the US and Israel don't have to please anyone, they can do what they like.

They shall shortly see how much of what they like they can do.

And even those lunatic bastards realize that all the money on Wall Street cannot sell conscription to the American public.

[rhymes with truck] them.


That's the general sense I'm drawing from these illuminating discussions. I also found, in my own very modest experience at the lowest level, Open Source materials to be useful; as the Colonel notes, it's in the read.



I guess this isn't really related except as a metaphor, but all this talk about being outplayed by Iran keeps reminding me of the 1998 World Cup.

The Americans squandered several good chances to score. Iran took full advantage of their limited scoring opportunities, and scored just before half-time.

The Americans didn't really get into the game until the second half. Iran stayed composed and managed to hold off the USA's attempts to tie the game. As the game wound down, the US threw caution to the wind, and Iran scored again on an opportunistic goal. A very late US goal was too little, too late, and Iran ended up winning 2-1. The US was eliminated from that World Cup as a result.


Col. Lang, you seem to be saying that once having dug ourselves into a deep hole--regardless of the details of how and why--Job One is to stop digging.


Thank you for this Col. I find information on the honcho of the Gucci Guerillas particularly insightful.
It's an absolute shame Judy Miller and Michael Gordon didn't/wouldn't research this guy.
Also, the recollection that you shared with us when you sat next to him and others in the hotel lobby and listened in - was a most excellent and interesting read.


Wounded vanity and an entrenched inability to deal with error of any kind can be powerful engines for further imbecilic activity.

See Mencken, Twain and Bierce passim.

Cloned Poster

Does that mean we should go to war with Iran? No, not unless we can't handle the thought that we may have been "outplayed." pl

Outplayed? Beaten outta the park more like and bleeding in the endfield. In a game that the Sunni Arabs started.

FB Ali


As an outside observer (and a believer in Occam's Razor) it appears to me that a more likely scenario is :

· Chalabi was playing everyone (the US administration, the neocons, the Iranians, the Israelis, various European intelligence services) with the aim of getting the US to attack Iraq, overthrow Saddam and instal him instead.

· In the process he was telling everyone whatever they wanted to hear, and making whatever promises would entice them into supporting him. What he would have actually done had he come into power is a totally open question – obviously he would have had to double-cross one side or the other, probably the one from whom he feared the least blowback.

· The current entanglement of the US into fighting the Sunnis in Iraq is the doing of the Kurd and Shia leadership in Iraq, in which Chalabi plays a minor role (though he is probably trying to convince the Iranians that it is much bigger). However, here Iran is actively working with the Iraqi Shia to prolong this for as long as possible (they probably also wield considerable influence on Talibani and Barzani).

· Iran and/or Chalabi only appear to be so diabolically clever because this US administration has proven to be idiotic beyond belief. However, this doesn’t apply to the US “military-industrial” complex; unending war (irrespective of who the enemy is) suits them fine.

Chris M

Try to get your minds around this idea, "that the Iranians may have used Chalabi and the neocons to put us in the position are now in fighing the various Sunni and secular Shia insurgent groups for the benefit of the Shia and Iran."

Another question that could be asked is, "Has anybody been using the Iranians?"


I'm not sure that I entirely buy into the argument that the US has been "played"—in part because I'm not sure the Iranians find 150,000 US troops in Iraq a reassuring prospect, even if they are fighting predominately Sunni jihadists and ex-Ba'thists to keep a pro-Iranian Shiite government in power.

That having been said, I don't doubt that Iran has made major gains, both in terms of regime change in Baghdad, further damaging the American "brand" in the ME, and by bleeding the US on the ground in Iraq (and possibly deterring it more broadly).

Chalabi? I was always a strong critic, ever since my VISA card in Jordan stopped working for a while because of the collapse of Petra Bank ;) It has always stunned me that he was so successful in diverting attention from this, and his family's involvement in banking scandals in Switzerland and Lebanon.

Was he an Iranian "asset?" Perhaps the Iranians think so. I don't doubt he would offer them what they wanted in exchange for support, although ultimately I think he's a charismatic, opportunistic free agent. (I'm dubious about some of the compromised COMINT story, by the way--although I won't get into why. If it were true, the real question would be who in the USG was revealing to Chalabi what Iranian traffic the NSA and allies might, or might not, be listening to...)

Fianlly--and the real reason for the post--it all raises interesting questions about who (in the often highly divided Iranian government) was seeking what? The Supreme Leader? Then President Khatemi? The MOIS or IRGC? Iranian bureaucratic politics and turf battles are often an eerie echo of Washington's, complete with realist-pragmatists and ideologues.

W. Patrick Lang


I need to find that post. ?? pl

W. Patrick Lang


Nobody is saying that Chalabi or Iranian manipulation of the US was the sole cause of the disaster.

What is being said is that he/them were a major cause. pl

W. Patrick Lang


It is absolutely "in the read." pl

W. Patrick Lang

For the Canadian Academic fellah

I think the Iranians are quited happy to have our force next door doing what they want done.

They know we are going to leave. pl

Don Schmeling

All this discussion about Chalabi is mentally stimulating, but let's not forget that he was bit actor in the grand production of "America goes to Kick Butt"

There had already been documentaries about Chalabi's shady past, but neither the American President or public cared.

Remember; the UN inspector Hans Blix was telling the world he could find no weapons of mass destruction.

Go to Original (http://www.news24.com/News24/World/Iraq/0,,2-10-1460_1345303,00.html)

Hans Blix: War Planned 'Long in Advance'
Wednesday 9 April 2003
Madrid - The invasion of Iraq was planned a long time in advance, and the United States and Britain are not primarily concerned with finding any banned weapons of mass destruction, the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said in an interview on Wednesday.
"There is evidence that this war was planned well in advance. Sometimes this raises doubts about their attitude to the (weapons) inspections," Blix told Spanish daily El Pais.
"I now believe that finding weapons of mass destruction has been relegated, I would say, to fourth place, which is why the United States and Britain are now waging war on Iraq.
Today the main aim is to change the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein," he said, according to the Spanish text of the interview.

Most of the world felt the same way, and the US's old allies, (Old Europe, Canada), told the President so.

One shouldn't even get close to thinking that Chalabi tricked anyone. His stories just happened to be what the White House wanted to hear.

And one shouldn't forget that the US public was happy to knock some heads together to avenge 9/11, and wasn't very worried about who's heads it was.



random suggestion. unrelated to post.

maybe you could get someone to volunteer and organize a 'retreat' for your readership. everyone could together in some inn in the shenandoah, drink bourbon all weekend, trade notes and war stories.

it would be like lebowskifest, but for sst readers.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad