Across the Bay

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?

In a story that is sure to tickle Juan Cole pink, it is reported that US and Iraqi troops raided Ahmed Chalabi's house and retrieved documents and other material.

INC spokesman Entifadh Qanbar is alleging that the raid has to do with Chalabi's insistence on keeping the UN Oil-for-Food program open for investigation. Also, Qanbar claims that this was an attempt to put Chalabi in his place and shut him up.

I heard Qanbar on CNN saying that the people who raided Chalabi's place were CIA people as well as Iraqi forces.

What the hell is going on? If you've been reading Cole's blog, you'd know that Chalabi has documents relating to former Baath party members (i.e. records of a lot of people's dirty deeds). Also, you've heard of the DoS and the CIA's dislike of Chalabi. Colin Powell's recent remarks and the pressure to stop Chalabi's allowance, and to scapegoat him on the WMD's have made it clear that the DoS and the CIA are intent on getting rid of him, as he's the DoD's guy. This seems to me to be linked with the rise of the DoS and CIA in Iraq.

The search for documents therefore could very well be attempt by the CIA and DoS to seize all the documents on former Baathists and anything that has to do with the UN's dirty laundry.

There is a Sunni-based string in all of this. All the neighboring Sunni Arab countries hate Chalabi. Chalabi and Lakhdar Brahimi (who's in charge of preparing the transitional government that would marginalize Chalabi) have been in a fight of words, with the former accusing the latter of Sunni-centrism veiled as Arab nationalism.

The issue of the UN Oil-for-Food program is related to the UN's return to Iraq, and its bestowing legitimacy on the Iraqi transitional government. The real backer for a UN role in the Bush administration is Powell (who said today that the UN endorsement is critical). Also, the US is "rehabilitating" former Baathists (mainly Sunnis), which also could have something to do with it (perhaps grooming figures for the future government that would be acceptable to the Arabs, whom Powell has been cuddling up to in Jordan, and to the UN's Brahimi).

Also the CIA did not want Chalabi to hold any documents (Cole agrees with that premise, that Chalabi shouldn't hold anything) on anyone of the former Baathists (many of those generals were being approached by the CIA to topple Saddam and might be involved in its plans for the future government) and Chalabi wasn't happy -- and he wasn't alone -- with the return of Baathists to positions of power. Basically, Chalabi had a lot of dirt on those who want to take over or return to power (the UN and Sunni Baathists), and was annoying Brahimi, so he had to be put in his place.

Everyone who reads my posts knows that I dislike the DoS and Powell and their way of doing things, but this is ridiculous. Seeking legitimacy from those who ruined Iraq is really brilliant, and shows you the disastrous stalemate that is Powell's way.