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Thread: Chalabi Causing Trouble as Iraqi Elections Near 2/18/10

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    Chalabi Causing Trouble as Iraqi Elections Near 2/18/10

    * Chalabi Causing Trouble as Iraqi Elections Near
    February 18, 2010 · Posted in NEWS
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    Paul Wachter Contributor
    ANALYSIS

    (Feb. 17) — Say this for Ahmad Chalabi: He’s nothing if not resilient, emerging — not unscathed but still there — from one scandal after another.

    Today, The New York Times reports that two Iraqi politicians are causing a stink as the country gears up for March 7 elections. The only surprising thing about Chalabi being one of them is that a man who is largely responsible for pushing the bad intelligence that spawned the U.S. invasion remains in a position of power at all.



    Karim Kadim, AP
    Ahmad Chalabi remains powerful despite a history in Iraqi politics that is “mostly bad,” as one U.S. official put it .
    Chalabi currently oversees Iraq’s Accountability and Justice Commission. From that perch, he and aide Ali Faisal al-Lami, who is linked to Shiite militants, have met with Iranian officials and are conspiring to exclude Sunni candidates from office and promote Shiites. Gen. Ray Odierno, the U.S. commander in Iraq, blamed the two by name. Odierno has long had his eye on Chalabi. In 2008, he told The Nation magazine, “Chalabi, who — you know, has been involved in Iraqi politics in many different ways over the last seven years, mostly bad.”

    But Chalabi’s bad behavior long predates Iraq. The record begins in the 1970s in Jordan. That’s where Chalabi, who was born to a wealthy Shiite family in Baghdad, had settled. In 1977, he founded the Petra Bank, which was, according to Jordanian authorities, a huge embezzlement vehicle. In the 1980s Jordan passed a law that all banks in the country would have to deposit 30 percent of their reserves in the Central Bank, and Petra Bank was the only one that didn’t comply.

    Chalabi fled Jordan, where he faces a 22-year sentence for bank fraud should he ever return. (Chalabi claims he’s innocent and blames, improbably, Saddam Hussein.)

    With his ill-gotten gains, Chalabi embarked on his anti-Saddam campaign, first assisting with the Kurdish resistance in the 1990s — which led to one military debacle after another — and then lobbying the United States to directly intervene.

    In 1992, he co-founded the Iraqi National Conference, which received much of the $97 million Congress allocated to opposition groups under the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act. Then, during the run-up to war, Chalabi-sourced faulty intelligence made its way into CIA dossiers — most notably, a source codenamed Curve Ball’s allegations that Saddam had vast stores of mobile biological weapons. The allegations — now utterly discredited — duped a credulous White House and served as its primary stated reason for the Iraq invasion.

    And yet, when no WMDs were found, Chalabi’s career didn’t suffer. From 2005 to 2006, he served, separately, as Iraq’s oil minister and deputy prime minister. Still, he never enjoyed the level of support in Iraq that he received from the CIA. In 2005 elections, the Iraqi National Conference didn’t win a single parliamentary seat.

    Always astute to the political winds, Chalabi has shifted his alliances from Washington to Tehran, who many believe will be the real powerbroker in Iraq in years to come. And while the future of Iraq remains murky, there’s at least one sure bet: Whatever happens, Chalabi likely will still be around and up to no good.

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    Re: Chalabi Causing Trouble as Iraqi Elections Near 2/18/10

    Thanks for the info. This guys is one to watch out for.

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