Everybody has predicted his demise, but then Chalabi keeps on reappearing–whether as disgraced banker, Pentagon favorite, or, per the CIA, Iranian spy,etc. The latest metamorphosis was when he suddenly resurfaced, to the amazement of his enemies in a two-way race with a fellow Shiite for the post of Iraqi Prime Minister, but then gracefully stepped aside for Ayatollah Ali al Sistani’s man. It’s almost certain he will be appointed to an influential cabinet post. He was always a survivor–first with the collapse of the Petra Bank (escaping in the trunk of a car), for which a Jordanian court sentenced him in absentia to 22 years of hard labor, for using the bank as his own “piggy bank”. Then Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney embraced him for his bogus intelligence about weapons of mass destruction. After Saddam’s fall, his brother Salem was handed a massive budget to organize war crimes tribunals, while Ahmed at the behest of the US Provisional Authority, was given the task of dismantling the Baath Party. In that role, he seized land and property owned by Baathists and acquired personal control over Saddam’s intelligence files on Baath Party membership. This made him a powerful player and darling of the Shiites, who out of revenge wanted the Baath Party structure totally destroyed, which led to the humiliation of Baathists with military experience, especially those who could have helped stabilize the country. (Of course the Shiites are coming to power in an Arab country for the first time in a thousand years!)
Yet 5 months after he sat next to Laura Bush at the State of the Union, US soldiers surrounded his home/headquarters and held him at gunpoint, while seizing his computers and personal files. He in turn fled to Iran, while the CIA leaked that he was an Iranian spy, who had placed sources in danger by providing Iranian intelligence with codes to break US intercepts on Iranian communications. But instead of being arrested and charged with money laundering, etc., he won the confidence of Sistani and returned months later, also supported by the Shiite Daiwa Pary and the cleric, Moqtada Al-Sadr. Numerous sources have confirmed that President Bush blames him for the Iraqi intelligence failures and intensly dislikes him. In fact during a recent telephone call with King Abdullah of Jordan, Bush told the king that he could “piss on Ahmed Chalabi”. In contrast neo-cons like Perle continue to publicly defend their former golden boy. Maybe they never understood that Chalabi was only conerned about his own agenda (not an uncommon attitude in the Mid-East). Does he have 9 more lives???
Incredible!/”Incroyable”! The saga of Iraq contines–tune in tomorrow, for the further adventures of Ahmed Chalabi. Or is it Houdini?