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13 May 2007


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A Chalabi/Iran/neocon cabal makes sense and I'd bet the Iranians cannot believe how well things are going (as AQ people could not, I suspect, believe how well 9/11 succeeded and was then crowned by further amazing successes - see Pakistan right now).

And let's not forget Oedipus in the Oval Office listening to Garner's merry tales.

The old BBC/Yes Minister mantra applies - "In defeat, malice; in victory, revenge" - carried out (incredibly) to destroy a nation state (however wobbly but there are lots of those - see Africa passim, including RSA).

Iraq was neocon/Iraqi expat revenge on a monstrous scale, not least to feed the intellectual (!) vanity of those of the on-to-Baghdad crowd who had never heard an angry shot (unless you're a quail).

We now seem to be approaching the end of that truly weird limbo state where only those who got Iraq (and the latest Afghan War) so completely wrong were entitled to plan or even comment on what happens next.

As the fur flies over the next few months, we may well reach the nadir of nuttiness mentioned by Tony Judt in LRB:

"The only people qualified to speak on this matter, it would seem, are those who got it wrong initially. Such insouciance in spite of – indeed because of – your past misjudgments recalls a remark by the French ex-Stalinist Pierre Courtade to Edgar Morin, a dissenting Communist vindicated by events: ‘You and your kind were wrong to be right; we were right to be wrong’."



Very interesting and quite plausible since Chalabi was the neo-con "liberator" and Rendon Group "product" to be pitched to America. I am not sure this was a strategy whose outcome was known in advance in Qom but disbanding the Iraqi army would definitely seem to benefit Iran by getting rid of an adversary.

Now that even the Shooter wants to talk with Iran about Iraq it seems that Iran may be achieving its objectives even if it did not plan it all in advance.

Peter Warren

Seeing what kind of easy marks this same crowd have been going back(?)to the days of Iran-Contra and Ghorbanifar, etc., I have no problem believing that Chalabi was the Iranian trojan horse and that Feith,Perle, Wolfie et.al. opened the gates wide for him. I wouldn't be surprised if Curveball and the other bogus WMD sources were the same;what could make the mullahs happier than to have us put a major hurt periodically on Saddam? However, like Osama, I think they might have been surprised when their strategy succeeded almost too well. They might have had a moment of genuine panic when we actually invaded Iraq chasing the phony WMDs and planted the flag next door.
Big sigh of relief,however, when they found out that their mark Bremer had swallowed Chalabi's tale, that thanks to him the rest of the Baath infrastructure was circling the drain, and that it was going to be absurdly easy to help their SCIRI and Badr Movement allies get up and running. I think the mullahs have proven that they are way smarter than anyone in this administration (not saying a lot, I know!) and they really are adept at manipulating the neocons.
Kinda like the way the Saracens would feign retreat in order to draw the meathead Frankish nobles into a suicidal charge.....


Some political cartoonist had a drawing of Bush and Ahmadinejad sitting at a checkered table.

Bush's side of the checkered-board was set with checker pieces.

Ahamdinejad's side was set with chess-pieces.

I just can't get over the feeling that everyone in that region is playing the US for the big, strong, dumb rubes that we appear to be.

Has anyone bought Bush a copy of Machiavelli for Idiots?



If you want to know how Chalabi played the neocons, a good place to start is the American Enterprise Institute's late-2002 conference series on "Post-Saddam Iraq." The transcripts are still up on AEI's website.

The Day After (Oct. 3, 2002)

Demobilizing the Iraqi Army (Nov. 15, 2002)

De-Baathification (Dec. 16, 2002)

Internal Security (Feb. 3, 2002)

Iraq's Constitution (Mar. 3, 2003)


I have absolutely no special knowledge whatsoever about the Middle East, and I only have a passing knowledge of current events.

Yet, when we invaded Iraq this time, I said on numerous occasions, "The Iran-Iraq war is not over, and we just came in on the side of Iran."

Do I think that George Bush, in particular, and the lunatic Zionists around him are stupid enough to be manipulated by Iranian intelligence? Do I believe that the Pope is Catholic?

Which brings us to walrus' point. That sowing chaos in the Middle East is in Israel's best interest.

In the words of Descartes, "Oui et non".

Would Israel like to carpet bomb Iran into a tangle of concrete and broken bodies? I refer you to my question about the Pope.

But are they being out-maneuvered? Well, I don't know. They got a bloody nose in South Lebanon. I don't think they're going anywhere on the ground anytime soon. So that leaves the air against Iran. Cheney is talking up an air attack on Iran, so maybe Israel will get a surrogate air attack on Iran out of this.

But without boots on the ground, I suspect they have lost Iran and Iraq. The two armies that could have attempted to conquer these nations are in a very bad way. It just can't happen.

Now, the intelligence question. You are Iran. You've had predator drones and SAS and Special Forces teams going over your country like ants. You cannot pick up the newspaper without reading that your country is going to be bombed.

Have you prepared?

I would say that sucker punching Iran, like the Israeli air force sucker punched the Lebanese civilian population, will be a lot more difficult.

Good luck, George.


One other quick point.

You're China. You're Russia.

Do you really and truly want Israel and the United States running the show in the Middle East?

You might like to act like you do, but do you really?

W. Patrick Lang

Responding to David Habbakuk's remarks, at least in part, I believe one other angle in play regarding Chalabi (that continues to this day,
unfortunately) are his desperate efforts to gain favor with--and secure a real domestic power base within--Iraq's Shi'a community. This is the power base he apparently convinced some key Washington players he ALREADY had prior to the 2003 invasion.

In the current situation, for example, I understand he has exploited his considerable influence over the de-Ba'thification process to minimize or drag out the process of rehabilitating former members of the Ba'th Party as much as possible in an effort to gain favor in Shi'a circles.

And he has reason to be concerned about his standing in that community: one USG poll done in 2004 asking how favorably Iraqis viewed around 10 prominent Iraqi public figures returned a figure for Chalabi that was (no kidding) 1%--rock bottom.

I am not, of course, answering David's question about the intelligence issue, but this does play into one angle in David's comments suggesting that just because something almost certainly serves Iranian interests (not rehabilitating people who doubtless tend to be largely anti-Iranian) doesn't necessarily mean that Iran was pulling the strings, planting the suggestion, etc. Chalabi has had (and still has) his own, very personal agenda.

Wayne White


I'm with the tusked one, i.e. the Walrus- not ineptitude but done deliberatedly. With conscious design, acting for the purpose, or with substantial certainty of busting up the secular Iraki nation state.

Intent can be read from the indicia- disregard of Shisneski's 300,000 numbers for safeguarding the country, shelving of Zinni and state department occupation plans, allowing the country's infrastructure to be looted, disbanding the Army, deep deBaathication, the hanging of Saddam, the War against the Sunni, ad nauseum.

A strong Irak giving Syria strategic depth threatened the continued existence of the Israeli ski resorts on Mount Hermon and the Golan. It also posed an existential threat to the oil sheikdoms and kingdom.

To thee NeoKons-ZioKons, it simply had to be busted up no matter what the human cost to the Irakis or the American GI's.


But, Colonel Lang, isn't it the case that Iran has as many intelligence people in Iraq already as there are leaves on the trees? I don't know Chalabi's dossier, but does it really matter?

Perhaps Shia Iraq is a bit more laïque than Iran, but, on balance, isn't Iran very influential already?

Keeping the US in Iraq is very much to Iran's advantage, that much is clear.

I believe we should expect a long and bloody occupation, quite different from France's experience in Algeria.

James Pratt

As well as knowing the identity of Iraqis who advised Bremer to disband the Iraqi Army,it would be useful to know who advised him to try to capture Moqtada al-Sadr in 2004. The US lost majority Iraqi Shia support after that and has been losing popularity steadily ever since. The shoot-first tactics used by road convoys and use of airpower and artillery to suppress enemy fire in urban areas probably account for the trend. If it weren't for the Salafist terror bombings the US might have only the support of Shia eccentrics. At this point I suspect every prominent Iraqi who publically supports the US staying (usually when they are outside Iraq these days) is reciting a foreign country's script.

Got A Watch

You have to carry this line of thinking to its logical conclusion, if you are going to go down that road.

If Chalabi was a deep-cover Iranian operative, then it is only logical, based on the outcomes, to also asssume Bush, Blair, Cheney, neo-cons and indeed the Republican Party and some Democrats were also working hard for the long-term interests of Iran. They may have been un-witting dupes, or working under "false flag" operations like the Chalabi debacle, but they still actively worked to further the Iranian cause.

Solution: arrest them all as enemy combatants and send them to Guantanamo. Orange jumpsuits and hoods for all. Now that would be justice. It may sound crazy, but review the end outcomes - very positive for Iran, and also of great help to Osama's plan to defeat the United States.

If you look at who has benefitted from this phony war, genuine Western interests (other than military contractors)have not seen any postive benefits, only the opposing extremists have.

Babak Makkinejad


Even if the Iraq Army had not been dissolved; would that have made any difference to the outcome we see today? Or would it only have delayed that outcome?

After all, Lebanon, US (in 1859), and Yugoslavia all had national armies.


Thanks to FMJ for posting the URL'S to AEI's transcripts. I was particularly interested in one of Mr. Makiya's comments. (He by the way was the one who boasted that he had assured the President that we would be greeted with sweets and flowers). One of his assumptions was, and I quote, "that the unseating of the Saddam Hussein regime does not take place at the cost of large scale civilian casualties, Iraqi or Israeli, which could introduce consider volatility and unpredictability into the political situation."

Why "Israeli"? By the way, although he was a scholar-in-residence at Harvard at the time, he has since been rewarded for his prescience with a professorship at Brandeis.

Clifford Kiracofe

Chalabi bio:


Context: Back in the 1990s Chalibi was in the thick of the "Iraq Liberation Act" (1998). Vote was 360-38 in the House and passed by unanimous consent in the Senate. This is the original "regime change" legislation on which the current war in Iraq was based, in part, from a legislative history point of view. "Regime change" in Iraq was a Clinton Administration and Congressional consensus. Yes the Neocons, usuing Chalabi and others pushed it along, but look at the pattern of votes in Congress and the Presidential sign off. For the October 2002 vote authorizing force/war, it was about 75 per cent of the House and Senate. One could argue that Bush 43 just moved forward a process created under a prior Establishment (Democrat and Republican) consensus. Now everyone involved is in CYA mode.



"...Saddam Hussein and the Americans might have decided to bury the hatchet." I have always wondered why THIS didn't happen and we invaded. After all, it would have made much more sense in the NeoKlowns long term plans to take out Iran to have Hussein as an ally and be able to use Iraqi bases on an 'invited' basis. Could the Iranians be that clever? Its possible, but also if we are that stupid. This is a great blog, keep it up. DanaJ

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