[Al-Hayat]: If you want to describe George Bush, then how would you describe him?
[Chalabi]: A man with very little skill and knowledge.
[Al-Hayat]: He did Iran a great service by toppling Saddam?
[Chalabi]: Iran benefited from toppling Saddam. Bush didn’t mean to do it a favor but it was clear that Iran would benefit from Saddam’s fall. I am convinced that Saddam would not have fallen except for an implicit agreement between America and Iran.
[Al-Hayat]: This happened?
[Chalabi]: Yes, of course it did.
[Al-Hayat]: Through whom?
[Chalabi]: We worked on this and so did the Supreme Council and Jalal Talbani.
The idea that Iran has been the main beneficiary of the Iraq war isn’t particularly controversial any more — except, of course, among the war’s neoconservative advocates, who continue to insist that removing Iran’s greatest enemy and empowering Iraqi factions with longstanding close ties to Iran was a huge defeat for Iran. Incidentally, many of these people — Sen. John McCain and his adviser Randy Scheunemann among them — were also Chalabi’s biggest boosters.
Like Ricks, I’d be very interested to hear more about the “implicit agreement” that Chalabi asserts between the U.S. and Iran. Given what’s known now about Chalabi’s cooperation with Iran’s intelligence services, though, it’s pretty chilling to consider how close some of Chalabi’s marks came to taking the White House last November. Unfortunately, as shown by the continuing prominence of McCain, Bill Kristol, Robert Kagan and other neocon fantasists, inadvertently aiding America’s enemies is no barrier to influence in American foreign policy, as long as one is always careful to err on the side of war, and meticulous about dressing one’s belligerent strategic stupidity in patriotic drag.