by Patrick Lang (bio below()

Chalabi Reborn?

As a fuel crisis deepened in Iraq, the government replaced its oil minister with controversial Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi, whose poor performance in the Dec. 15 elections was a setback in his recent attempt at political rehabilitation.

The oil minister, Ibrahim Bahr Uloom, was put on a mandatory, month-long leave. He had previously threatened to resign over the government’s recent decision to increase gasoline prices sharply, a move that has outraged motorists and sparked attacks on gas stations and fuel convoys.” Washpost

Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of his electoral debacle, “The Ahmad” as he is affectionately known in the Pentagon and the Old Executive Office Building (NSC staff) marches on like a beacon of looming economic difficulties, bearing a torch for someone or other.

Iraq’s petroleum production is in decline due to persistent guerrilla attacks and menaces against refineries and distribution nodes, but “The Ahmad” will fix this in spite of his not having won a seat in parliament. Oh! Sorry, I forgot that they are not through “counting” the votes. He may yet…

This appointment is supposed to be temporary. We will see. Bankers across the world are licking their chops in anticipation..

Pat Lang


Khaddam – Chalabi Wannabe?

Khaddam was an important adviser to Hafez Assad and later to Bashar Assad before he resigned at the Baath Party congress in June. He visited Hariri’s grieving family the day after the slaying, calling the assassination an “earthquake” that would reshape Syrian and Lebanese politics.

Despite his public break with Assad’s government, which he attributed to internal corruption and the slow pace of reform, Khaddam said in the interview Friday that he left Syria on good terms with Assad, although the two had “differences of opinion.” Washpost

Subtext – “Consigliere abandons son of “The Boss,” seeks his own way in the world.” … continued below
There really is no honor among thieves, despots, and despot wannabes. Abd al-Halim Khaddam was a favored henchman for Hafez al-Assad for many years, serving in a variety of ministerial posts and ending as a vice president. He is from the Sunni faction of the Syrian Baath Party. He has always resented the new Assad. It was hoped by those on the Sunni side of the Syrian Baath that it would be possible to ease the young man out of the succession, but that failed in face of opposition from the largely Alawi leadership of the army and security services. This was a great disappointment in Sunni Arab circles across the Middle East and especially among the moneyed oil people. Bashar has proven unable to master his difficulties, unable to reform the political, economic and international challenges facing the country, and so he is vulnerable.

Oil country money and influence backs the idea of removing him. The United States has followed the “leader” in this matter. Rafik Hariri? He has become an interesting symbol of the possibility of reforms which he never really favored. He, too, was a more or less faithful ally and subordinate of Hafez al-Assad for many years.

Now the Sunni, US and French pressure applied to Syria is beginning to look serious. “Regime Change” as a policy now seems to be an open prospect. Up until now, no serious candidate has been located to take the doctor’s place.

This man is a little long in the tooth, but might serve.

Pat Lang

Col. Patrick W. Lang (Ret.), a highly decorated retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces, served as “Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism” for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and was later the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. Col. Lang was the first Professor of the Arabic Language at the United States Military Academy at West Point. For his service in the DIA, he was awarded the “Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive.” He is a frequent commentator on television and radio, including MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann (interview), CNN and Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room (interview), PBS’s Newshour, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” (interview), and more .

Personal Blog: Sic Semper Tyrannis 2005 || Bio || CV
Recommended Books || More BooTrib Posts

Novel: The Butcher’s Cleaver (download free by chapter, PDF format)

Drinking the Kool-Aid,” Middle East Policy Council Journal, Vol. XI, Summer 2004, No. 2

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