Sunday, August 08, 2004

I was just reading over one of my earlier posts about the shifting sands of power in Iraq and the questionable role folks like Chalabi have player. Right after that I jumped over to Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo and discovered this:
According to the Associated Press the government of Iraq today issued arrest warrants for Ahmed Chalabi (on charges of counterfeiting) and his nephew Salem Chalabi (on charges of murder).

Salem, of course, remains head of the war crimes tribunal charged with trying Saddam Hussein and other leaders of the former regime. But the tribunal covers crimes committed under the former regime, but the present one. So perhaps there's no conflict.

In a few years we will look back at this situation and wonder how we could have possible let it happen.

Here's a couple jewels we'll want to keep in mind when the administration does a quick dance away from any and all involvement with Chalabi.
Despite American economic sanctions against Iran, the villa, which is decorated with expensive Persian carpets and brocade-covered sofas and armchairs and staffed by about a dozen Iraqi aides and security people, is paid for by the State Department, Mr. Chalabi said in an interview. A special Treasury Department exemption under the Office of Foreign Assets Control was required to allow American funds to finance his operation, he added.
-New York Times January 28, 2003

While the heads of the opposition groups were meeting, Ahmad Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, formerly the opposition coalition, who has garnered the strongest support from Washington, went on the offensive. In an interview today, he said his supporters had seized as much as 60 tons of documents from the Baath Party and Iraqi secret police and intelligence services. The files document Mr. Hussein's relationship with Arab leaders and foreign governments, he said.

Armed with this incendiary material in a region where under-the-table payoffs to buy protection, loyalty or silence are the seamy side of political life, Mr. Chalabi and his aides have been sending out pointed warnings -- that he can give as good as he has been getting -- to Arab leaders who have dismissed him as a lackey financed by the Central Intelligence Agency, or as an accused embezzler from the bank he ran in Jordan during the 1980's.

When Abu Dhabi television asked Mr. Chalabi last week to respond to reports that he was under arrest by the United States Central Command for embezzlement, Mr. Chalabi went on the air to respond. He brought files he said were taken from the Iraqi secret police. He asserted that they showed that a number of reporters for Al Jazeera television, the satellite channel that broadcast the accusation that he was under arrest, were working for Iraqi intelligence.
-New York Times May 6, 2003

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