‘Hero In Error’ Chalabi Makes Political Comeback To Lead Iraqi End Of Escalation Strategy

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Ahmed Chalabi, the darling of neoconservatives in the lead-up to the Iraq war, has been given a prominent position to oversee the implementation of the escalation strategy on the Iraqi end:

In his latest remarkable political reincarnation, onetime U.S. favorite Ahmed Chalabi has secured a position inside the Iraqi government that could help determine whether the Bush administration’s new push to secure Baghdad succeeds. …

Chalabi will serve as an intermediary between Baghdad residents and the Iraqi and U.S. security forces mounting an aggressive counterinsurgency campaign across the city. The position is meant to help Iraqis arrange reimbursement for damage to their cars and homes caused by the security sweeps in the hope of maintaining public support for the strategy.

Chalabi, who once famously said of his Iraq involvement, “we are heroes in error,” has had a sordid history with the United States. A review of Chalabi’s nefarious activities:


PENTAGON FUNDED CHALABI TO PROVIDE RATIONALE FOR WAR: The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency paid the INC $335,000 a month in the lead-up to the Iraq war to gather intelligence. In all, the Bush White House has given the INC at least $39 million over the past 5 years. [IPS, 5/23/04; New Yorker, 6/7/04]

CHALABI’S IRAQI NATIONAL CONGRESS WAS MAJOR SOURCE OF DATA FOR PENTAGON OFFICE OF SPECIAL PLANS: According to a report in the New Yorker, analysts based in the Pentagon’s Office of Special Plans “relied on data gathered by other intelligence agencies and also on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress, or I.N.C., the exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi.” [New Yorker, 5/12/03]

CHALABI WAS SOURCE FOR FALSE JUDY MILLER STORIES: Chalabi was the source for discredited news stories about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction which were penned by New York Times reporter Judith Miller. In 2001, Miller wrote a front-page story about claims that Saddam had twenty secret WMD sites hidden in Iraq. The information turned out to be bogus. [New York Times, 2/26/04; The New Yorker, 6/7/04]

CHALABI ACCUSED OF PASSING U.S. SECRETS TO IRAN: In June 2004, Chalabi came under investigation for allegations that he passed secret intelligence to Iran. Chalabi was accused of telling the Iranian government that the U.S. had broken the code it used for secret communications. [Washington Post, 6/3/04; WSJ, 11/7/05]

More here.

Commenting on Chalabi’s political resurgence, a senior American official told the WSJ: “The question is whether he is really doing this to help, or whether he’s trying to build himself a new political base in Baghdad or carry water for the Shiites. And we simply don’t know the answer to that yet.”