“We wuz robbed.” Chalabi, Bush and Iran.

Xin_21020223085100000381 "[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." 

Dar al-Hayat


What Chalabi is saying is that he and Iran successfully duped Bush with the help of the neocons.  Chalabi has been a neocon "groupie" since college days.

It has been evident for a long time now that Iran's manipulation of the Bush Adminstration, the neocons, and the Likudniks was the greatest covert action operation since the Cheka created and ran "The Trust" in Lenin's Soviet Union.  

It is not often that an agent of influence of the intellect and vision of Ahmad Chalbi decides to "tell all" to a major news outlet.  One can only believe that this is a calculated move on the chessboard of Chalabi's life.  Is this a claim on his part for Iran's gratitude in this hour of its growing power?  How much clearer could his contempt be for GWB?  How ironic that this war so transformed the situation that Iran is now thought to be the major evil…   Talabani?  He has always been inclined toward the Iranians.  His Kurdish faction lives close to the border with Iran.  They patronised him for decades in the periods when he was not patronised by Saddam.

Most of us are children when dealing with the East.

"We wuz robbed," is the truth.

All those families who lost children in this war should remember this statement by Chalabi.  A "Peace and Justice" commission is wanted over who was responsible for torture of prisoners?

How about a real enquiry into who allowed America to be hoodwinked into the Iraq War? The 9/11 Commission was a farce.  This time we should have an enquiry not run by one of the duped…  pl



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55 Responses to “We wuz robbed.” Chalabi, Bush and Iran.

  1. jon says:

    I would not accept anything that Chalabi says at face value or assume that it represents the truth of the matter. The only thing Chalabi can be trusted to do is to work on his own behalf.
    The greatest damage of his statement seems to be that it undermines the credibility and motives of a number of Iraq’s more powerful politicians and parties. This might create opportunities for Chalabi and his retinue in the future. At the very least it is likely to destabilize Iraq a bit further, and provide additional grudges to the Sunni population.
    It seems that Bush’s judgement (such as it is) was easily clouded and shifted by reprising the first Gulf War and his father’s role. This is not surprising.
    It does cast a worse light on Bush’s staff and advisors, including the State Department, military and intelligence services. These bodies are supposed to have the skill and analytic capability to separate wheat from chaff, to work out how the games of power and politics might develop, and to seek to position the US to benefit as greatly as possible in various scenarios.
    We know that there were analysts and operatives who refuted Chalabi and his propaganda. We also know that the Administration moved mountains to discredit it own professionals who had the deepest understanding of the area and its politics. Essentially, Chalabi is just twisting the knife.
    Ultimately, it reinforces what we already know: that the country was lied, terrorized and misrepresented into a war of choice.
    If events had gone as Doug Feith dreamed, and all the dominos fell in our favor there would be loud rejoicing of the brilliance of the plan, how we brought stability and democracy to the Middle East, boxed Iran into a corner, protected Israel, and secured cheap oil for ourselves. But that didn’t happen.
    Instead what happened was what had always been the more likely outcome: that removing Iraq and its Sunni government, as a counterweight, would advantage Iran which had always had substantial access and influence throughout the Shia majority. With the additional oil consumption needed by the war, withdrawal of Iraq’s production, and risk premiums and speculative investments all driving up the price of oil, we benefited every oil producing nation, including Iran, while imposing enormous additional expenditures upon ourselves.
    Ultimately, this simply shows that you can’t con someone without their willing participation. Chalabi is at most the fulcrum, the seductive whispers in the ear that put the US government into disastrous motion. and we can take some solace from his not having received all of the prizes he was once promised.

  2. Alex says:

    I’ve long thought just that…is someone finally going to review that CIFA file on Michael Ledeen?

  3. frank durkee says:

    How his fall from grace in ’03 or ’04 around allegations of giving the Iranians information on US plans etc. fir into this picture?

  4. Cato the Censor says:

    I wonder if neocons like Perle and Feith will continue to stick up for Chalabi now that he has confirmed long-standing suspicions that he’s an Iranian agent and basically played them for fools.

  5. We need to look long-term. No doubt Iran does and Chalabi seems to do so also. Remember raid by US forces on his office in Iraq?
    Still the Iranians may have outsmarted themselves. Now instead of a dictatorship that had lapsed almost into senility and hoping to pass on its power through primogeniture look at the bottom line! A country rich in oil but still divided religiously with almost 7 years of training fighting against or with the US forces in-country. Clearly if Iran goes nuclear, so will Iraq and probably Saudi Arabia. That is the prism through which Iran must operate. And of course Russia continues to play games in Iran. Since oil continues to be the raison-d’etre of international diplomacy, Iranian/Iraqi oil loom large throughout this century. My guess is the major players want to see Iraq and Iran prevented from becoming friends. Certainly big oil powers don’t want Iraq broken up even though that would be best political arrangement outside of oil interests. This will really be an interesting decade to watch Iran and Iraq squirm under tutelage and watchfullness of the major powers, including US, Russia, China, and for Iranian purposes Pakistan and India. Hey life cannot be easy for the Iranians. But at least they have have recovered demographically from the Iraqi/Iranian war of the 80’s. Chalabi’s past indicates that he often outsmarts himself ending up exactly where he does not want to be.

  6. David Habakkuk says:

    ‘Essentially, Chalabi is just twisting the knife.’
    Trying to make sense of the machinations of the Confidence Man in Melville’s novel of that name, a character asks himself: ‘Two or three dirty dollars the motive to so many nice wiles?’ While Chalabi and his cronies have evidently made plenty of ‘dirty dollars’ out of their various scams over the years, I also think it likely that — as conmen often do — he gets a high out of diddling people.
    Whatever more concrete motives he may have for this extraordinary piece of candour, I suspect he enormously enjoyed the scam, and now that he has nothing to lose by coming clean, wants the whole world — including those he so successfully gulled — to know what a clever fellow he is.

  7. Highlander says:

    Are you implying that the 9-11 commission was a corrupt process or just incompetent? Or was it both?
    And if so why do think was allowed to be so corrupt and ineffective?
    It was manned by the “best and brightest” of our political/governmental elites. And it was watched over and reported on by the cream of the MSM. What would be their motive to screw it up?

  8. fasteddiez says:

    FD Says:
    “How his fall from grace in ’03 or ’04 around allegations of giving the Iranians information on US plans etc. fir into this picture?”
    Colonel, was this falling of grace due to some intelligence entity doing its’ job (finding a clear Chalabi/Iran governmental tie), only to have it spiked by the Bushites, to prevent embarrassment?

  9. Matthew says:

    Col: Truth commissions in the US and UK are always rigged in advance. Tony Blair, for one, was a master of appointing the investigator and then being cleared by the subsequent investigation.
    No American government would actually permit a real truth commission.

  10. Pat Lang,
    We wuz most certainly robbed, and we did it to ourselves. The vaunted “intel” that was used to propel us into war and which was provided by Chalabi and the Iraq NationalCongress,was intensely desired by the neo-conservatives and other supporters of invading Iraq in the government. However, Many would agree that it was used in support of a course of action already agreed upon.
    The question regarding Iran is whether Chalabi succeeded in instigating the invasion as an agent of Iran or, whether the neo-cons in the government used Chalabi and Iran became the unintended beneficiary. I tend to go with the latter, as I don’t think that the Iranians could have imagined that America would be stupid enough to invade Iraq. So, the U.S. government used Chalabi to get the war (which not many really wanted), Chalabi used the Americans to gain power in Iraq and Iran benefitted. For an illuminating retrospective look at the selling job on Chalabi by the government and media, see pp. 56 & 57 of “Fiasco” by Thomas Ricks.

  11. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree with you. Chalabi is a very smart man and his statements are tools in his tool chest.
    In fact, my understanding has been that Iranians wanted to discuss US plans in regards to Iraq all throughout 2002 and 2003 with no success.
    I cannot credit any of this.
    A 100 years ago Iranians used to say: “If it does not snow on Mt. Damavand [North of Tehran] it is due to the nefarious machinations of the Perfidious Albion.”
    Now, a 100 years later, we are asked to believe that the mightiest state that the Earth has seen was manipulated by the Perfidious Persian.
    Anyway isn’t Feith a Canadian and thus Her Majesty’s subject? I see the Perfidious Albion in this, don’t you?

  12. curious says:

    I for one am taking this as the beginning of new neocon campaign season against Iran.
    If there is echoes, follow up, narrative building, hackeries, chorus, etc…
    Then we know the neocon gangs are up to no good again. They are warming up the war propaganda machine.

  13. arbogast says:

    I said when W’s Iraq war began, “The Iran/Iraq war is not over and the US just came on the side of Iran.”
    I know nothing of the ME, but I can eliminate the impossible and take what remains as the truth.
    Today we have the next Iraq, an Iraq far worse than W’s. We have Obama’s Iraq: the looting of the taxpayer to fill the pockets of a tiny coven of plutocrats fleeing from their fraud and lies.
    I voted for Obama. I gave his campaign money. But now I sincerely wonder whether McCain could possibly have been worse. I’m all for high-speed trains and stem-cell research, but it’s just tinsel, if the country is being destroyed economically.
    Elizabeth Warren is the only truth commission we currently have. May her voice be heard.

  14. david says:

    My tin foil hat exploded with this one.
    It makes me think twice about some conspiracy theories I have heard from the Gulfies over the last 10 years. And it makes me wonder why the Egyptians have been barking so loud over Iran this week.
    Are we about to see a race between Israel and the United States over who can cut a deal with Iran first?
    Please tell me I’m nuts.
    As a small criticism, you did not excerpt the right part of the article — where he traces his family back four centuries. Reading that tells me why the Americans never really stand a chance in the “east.”

  15. Medicine Man says:

    It seems to me that Chalabi is trying to retro-actively assign himself more importance in the invasion of Iraq than he actually had.
    For starters, his suggestion that Saddam would have been safe if not for an implicit agreement between Iran and the US is just a non-starter. The administration at the time had ample resources and public support to oust Saddam Hussein. The fact that the US invasion of Iraq has been a net benefit to Iranian interests in the region, and Chalabi was representing those interests, provides just enough cover for Chalabi to making claims of overseeing some grand manipulation; but that doesn’t make those claims true. The bottom line is the Bush Administration were hardly “misled” into pursuing the exact course of action they were desirous of following in the first place. Perhaps Chalabi and his neocon allies in the US enabled these policies, but I don’t buy into the image of them as grand manipulators. Pinning all of the blame to them gives them too much credit and deflects too much blame from the ignorant and gullible within the administration at the time.

  16. Patrick Lang says:

    I am impressed with the essential vanity of those who do not wish to accept the idea that a relatively minor country like Iran could successfully manipulate the United States and American foreign policy using the ignorance of the general public and the interests of minority groups as tools.
    Some of you have forgotten that Paul Wolfowitz in a moment of exceptional candor or exceptional arrogance stated that the WMD threat to the US from Iraq was the “theme” decided on by the Bush Administration as essential to convincing the American public to support an invasion of Iraq.
    “The “evidence” used to support that “sale” was largely the product of the Chalabi/Iran apparatus. pl

  17. Medicine Man says:

    Col Lang,
    Speaking only for myself, my disagreement with your assessment has nothing to do with my “essential vanity”. The United States can and sometimes is mislead by the ploys of smaller states and their actors. One of the ongoing themes of your blog is the media manipulation of the US ME policy by non-governmental ideologues and their foreign allies. This is a fertile ground for discussion, including the efforts of Iranian agent provocateurs.
    What I don’t agree with is jumping to the conclusions you do based on Chalabi’s boasting. If the previous administration was misled into the Iraq invasion, then they were willingly misled.
    While there is a patina of truth to Chalabi’s claims, there is also ample evidence that the Bush Administration, via Cheney’s Office of Special Affairs, was fixing intelligence to support their pre-existing determination to oust Saddam. Taken in this context, it seems evident that Chalabi and his patrons were adding fuel to the fire, not selling the policy itself.

  18. Fred says:

    Given that the likes of Bernie Madoff manipulated the rich and well connected; and that J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs seem to be doing the same to Obama as we watch, it should come as no surprise that a country could manipulate the US.

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    You wrote: “…those who do not wish to accept the idea that a relatively minor country like Iran could successfully manipulate the United States and American foreign policy…”
    Your opinion will be received, no doubt, with great satisfaction in Tehran.
    Iran entered the 20-th century with ploughs and donkeys and entered the 21-century manipulating a super-power into eliminating it greatest historical enemy.
    Surely, you cannot be seriou.

  20. curious says:

    Speaking of chalabi, I have little questions that I can’t seem to find the answer on the net.
    1. what exactly was his role/INC during the run up to Iraq war. He was very active in DC. What was his connection with Rumsfeld et.all. (CIA already issued warning about him being a hackster. apparently CIA and him had a falling out a decade or so back.) He was definitely in the circle. A lot of photos, meetings, etc.
    2. He did a congresional hearing, presenting what INC did. He shows the “products” resulted from millions of aids, list of articles in the media that he says he was supplying. (major embarrassment to a lot of big prints name) What was Chalabi connection with Judith Miller?
    3. Chalabi was also tied to SISMI, fake yellow cake/diplomatic letter. that went nowhere quickly. Mostly a lot of collaborated web reports.
    4. Chalabi was also land first in Iraq with his little “army”, some photo op. Did he tried to grab Iraq from US? And how come he controls Iraq intelligence papers?
    All in all, how deep was Chalabi working the US media? Was he planning/supposed to be the new Iraq president? I guess, how can this guy plays such a big role? Did the CIA fish him out of MIT for a project and he wen on his own way or something? strange.

  21. M. Carey says:

    Chalabi may well have been running several simultaneous schemes: Helping his friends/patrons in Washington gin up the war they wanted, while at the same time , working with Iran, to damage/ destroy Saddam. I remember that there were storied several years ayo- that Chalabi got some of the “data” props from Iran.

  22. M. Carey says:

    By the way, thanks for the reference, it will be interesting reading

  23. arbogast says:

    Was Bush easily manipulated?
    C’mon. Trivially easily. For Bush it was all about image. All hat and no cowboy. Putty in the hands of a petty crook like Chalabi.
    And now today what about Obama?
    Obama has burnished his image by killing three teenage Africans. We are told that those teenagers were threatening their hostage. Is it possible that the destroyer towing them had just turned sharply and they were looking out the hatch trying to figure out what was going on?
    Killing them may have been “necessary” and the pirates definitely “went out in the rain to get wet”, but it’s a sad day for the US when Presidents gain points for their involvement in these killings.
    Of course, the Right tries to establish this dialogue all the time with the likes of Rush Limbaugh mocking the President for not being sufficiently macho. I hope they like what they get with that crap.

  24. David Habakkuk says:

    Medicine Man
    ‘While there is a patina of truth to Chalabi’s claims, there is also ample evidence that the Bush Administration, via Cheney’s Office of Special Affairs, was fixing intelligence to support their pre-existing determination to oust Saddam.’
    This is certainly true. But to understand the full significance of Chalabi’s contribution, you have to ask why leading U.S. policymakers came to hold the delusional belief that toppling Saddam would provide a panacea for the security problems both of the United States and of Israel.
    Part of the answer is that this belief had been sedulously encouraged over a number of years by Chalabi. An interesting discussion of his role comes in an article entitled ‘How Ahmed Chalabi conned the neocons’ published on the Salon.com website in May 2004 by the Financial Times columnist John Dizard.
    ‘The neoconservative strategy for Israel was laid out in a 1996 paper called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” issued by the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in Jerusalem (but written by Americans). The principal authors for the paper were Douglas Feith, then a lawyer with the Washington and Jerusalem firm of Feith and Zell, and Richard Perle, who until last year was the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, an advisory committee for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
    ‘In the section on Iraq, and the necessity of removing Saddam Hussein, there was telltale “intelligence” from Chalabi and his old Jordanian Hashemite patron, Prince Hassan: “The predominantly Shi’a population of southern Lebanon has been tied for centuries to the Shi’a leadership in Najaf, Iraq, rather than Iran. Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najaf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shi’a away from Hizbollah, Iran, and Syria. Shi’a retain strong ties to the Hashemites.” Of course the Shia with “strong ties to the Hashemites” was the family of Ahmed Chalabi. Perle, Feith and other contributors to the “Clean Break” seemed not to recall the 15-year fatwa the clerics of Najaf proclaimed against the Iraqi Hashemites. Or the still more glaring fact, pointed out by Rashid Khalidi in his new book “Resurrecting Empire,” that Shiites are loyal only to descendants of the prophet Muhammad’s son-in-law, Ali, and reject all other lineages, including the Hashemites. As Khalidi caustically notes, “Perle and his colleagues were here proposing the complete restructuring of a region whose history and religion their suggestions reveal they know hardly anything about.” In short, the Iraqi component of the neocons “new strategy” was based on an ignorant fantasy of prospective Shia support for ties with Israel.’
    Subsequently, Chalabi changed tack, and abandoned the fantasy of sorting out Israel’s problems through Hashemite control of Iraq for the fantasy that the Iraqi Shia were secular, so that an Iraqi democracy, to be headed by Chalabi, would not only be a natural ally of Israel and the U.S., but a dagger pointed at the heart of the regime in Tehran.
    At the same time he was explaining to his Muslim friends — as one of them recalled to Dizard — ‘that he just needed the Jews in order to get what he wanted from Washington, and that he would turn on them after that.’
    (See http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2004/05/04/chalabi/)

  25. jon says:

    Col., I don’t believe that Iran particularly wanted the US to invade Iraq. Hobble and overthrow Saddam, certainly. But they cannot be enthused to have hundreds of thousands of US military forces pinching them from Afghanistan and Iraq. If the US had achieved the larger objective in Iraq, then we would be in an enormously powerful strategic position to project power throughout the Middle east.
    The US objective was questionable from the start, but could have succeeded if there had not been Sunni resistance mainly organized by remnant Baath forces, and followed by the Shia upwelling. Aside from al Sadr, the Shia are aligned, or very sympathetic, to Iran. Iran certainly provided some level of assistance to the Shia, but likely not to the level of command and control, or official provisioning.
    I believe that Iran accomplished more than it had initially believed possible in the most favorable outcome. The US actions in Iraq were inept and counterproductive to a staggering degree, following the invasion and mop up of the uniformed military.
    I don’t believe that it was the intent of the Iranians to install the US, their greatest political foe, on their doorstep. They likely wanted to play some mischief in Iraq, remove Saddam, and perhaps have Chalabi installed. As events unfolded, the ayatollahs of the ISCI proved better positioned and more reliable allies for the Iranians, so I doubt they are unhappy with the outcome.
    Ultimately, it was the US that made the decision to invade Iraq. Chalabi and the Iranians provided the McGuffins that could be trumped up and dissembled to give a passing imitation of a justification. But as pointed out above, all of Chalabi’s ‘evidence’ was rapidly proven to be lies or of questionable merit. There is little or no documentation of any active role that Iran might have played in ginning up the evidence that Chalabi planted and supplied. I would have thought the Iranian’s to be defter at forgery and fabrication than what was supplied for US inspection. It is the upper echelons of the US government who seized on the disproven evidence, refused to listen to their own exerts and analysts, and led us to disaster.
    So, no, it’s not the Iranian’s fault that we listened to a charlatan. It was not Iran that issued orders to move troops to the Middle East, who ordered missile strike and bombing runs. They bear some level of responsibility for their actions, but it is minor compared to that of the US.
    It was clear to other governments, security experts and diplomats, and to millions of people throughout the world that Iraq posed no large, immediate or existential threat to anyone except its own people. The British were fully aware that the facts were being fixed to support invasion. Powell and Rice were clear on this point, until given belaying orders.
    Babak, I think that Chalabi works primarily for himself and is happy to attach his allegiance to anyone that might enrich him and further his own goals. That he is now, and has been previously, working with and for Iran does not mean that he has always done so or will in the future.
    I don’t see the hand of ‘Perfidious Albion’ in this mess, other than as the poodle accessory to the US effort. The Brits waned to preserve the ‘special relationship’ and probably hoped to pick up some table scraps from the looting of Iraq to follow. I have never understood what possessed Blair to give such support to Bush in this adventure, and it has not worked out well for him at all.
    Wikipedia believes that Doug Feith was born in Philadelphia. His family has roots in Poland and in the Zionist movement. I would look more to PNAC and AIPAC for the critical energy that shaped perception of Iraq as an imminent danger, built a media firestorm, and steered the government towards invasion.

  26. I forgot to add that strict enforcement of the Foreign Agents Lobbying Act by DOJ would be nice to see. That statute probably needs substantial revision because most Americans have no idea of how deeply penetrated the US Government both Congress and the Executive Branch is by foreign agents. Former head of Counter-Intel Micelle Van Cleve now at NDU had a nice op-ed piece on that issue recently in WAPO. Why gets me is that foreign citizens actually serve on Congressional staff.

  27. Arun says:

    I think that Bush & Co seized on Chalabi as a convenient booster for what they wanted to do anyway.

  28. Patrick Lang says:

    Why do you believe that an Iranian attempt to “steer” American policy would be able to determine exactly what the outcome would be? The neocon/Chalabi “plan” was that the destruction of the Saddamist government would be quickly followed by a withdrawal from Iraq that left the government in the hands of the Chalabi/INC crowd. To that end Chalabi was quickly sent into Iraq by the neocon dominated Rumsfeld DoD with 700 odd “Iraqi Freedom Fighters” who on close inspection on the ground by the US Army proved to be overwhelmoingly Iranian, many of them veterans and/or members of the Quds force battalions of the Iranian armed forces.
    Resistance within the US government to the idea of turning the government over to Chalabi/INC people thwarted that plan. The neocons still complain about that, claiming that all would have been well if only… pl

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for correcting me about the lineage of Mr. Faith. I had confused him with Mr. Frum.
    David Habakkuk:
    In regards to Najaf – its authority as a center of Shia learning had already been surpassed by Qum after WWII.

  30. Patrick Lang says:

    I am beginning to see you in a new light. I find it to be incredible that a man of your learning should confuse mere techological advancement in a society with sophistication of thought and subtlety. pl

  31. David Habakkuk says:

    Babak Makkinejad,
    ‘Iran entered the 20-th century with ploughs and donkeys and entered the 21-century manipulating a super-power into eliminating it greatest historical enemy. Surely, you cannot be serious’.
    Your argument is so transparently — and uncharacteristically — bad that I suspect it is you who are not being serious.
    Quite patently, political acumen — particularly of the Machiavellian kind — has nothing whatsoever to do with technological sophistication. This incidentally was something of which the great literary chronicler of the British in India, Kipling, was very well aware. The British, in his writings, are commonly portrayed as being very easily taken in. See for example ‘On the City Wall’, his story of communal rioting during Ashoura in Lahore.
    (Available on the web at http://www.online-literature.com/kipling/indian-tales/13/)

  32. eakens says:

    I recently had a meeting with an outrageously successful and shrewd businessman. He told me something interesting, and that was that he had only been screwed by two types of people in his life: other Jews, and Persians.
    What we have is a general populace who will buy anything it is sold. It helped that we also had an administration that was interested in selling what Iran had to offer.
    The Silk Road extends much farther West than many seem willing to accept.

  33. curious says:

    Iran entered the 20-th century with ploughs and donkeys and entered the 21-century manipulating a super-power into eliminating it greatest historical enemy.
    Posted by: Babak Makkinejad | 16 April 2009 at 10:25 PM ”
    come onnn….. Chalabi is not exactly unknown. He has his own game, everybody knows that. And the fact he is still wheeling and dealing means he is still useful to everybody involved.
    We know that during the run up of Iraq war. Iran position pretty much ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. I am sure everybody was high fiving in Iran hearing there is a serious plan to topple Saddam.
    US-Iran isn’t exactly without communication. There is always backdoor dealing one way or another. (It’s worst than fifth grader passing notes in class. shesss…) The best known one is of course Iran-contra. During bush, we know Iran provided air passage, and transit for prisoners, etc Cheney/halliburton has business in Iran. Cheney even lobbied against Iran sanction way back. lol…
    Chalabi and Iran? Well he did spend time and visit to Iran right? Plus he concocted that ploy about “selling secret to Iran so he can be viewed as independent candidate in Iraq. ( or was it pentagon trying to finally put him out of US circulation.) But basically Chalabi and Iran connection isn’t something novel. It’s been known and has been used for media ploy even.
    What makes me wonder is: Why is Chalabi still alive? He crossed so many people and doesn’t exactly have root in Iraq, but yet there he is, still making noise.
    at any rate, Chalabi’s biography would be some reading.

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    I think you are misunderstanding me.
    I find it difficult to credit your thesis because there are, in my observation, a very considerable number of sophisticated and subtle people in the United States – some of them in US government.

  35. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No doubt a Persian Jew who cheated your friend.
    David Habakkuk:
    My argument is simple but its simplicity does not falsify it.
    I do not dispute Chalabi – a Shia Muslim – and Iranian leaders having some sort of relationship. I just cannot believe the thesis of this posting given what I know of the capabilities of either polity.
    I cannot prove a negative.
    Apparently, I am being taken to the task for implying that there is a connection between political acumen and technological sophistication.
    I believe it is so: both entail an understanding of the concpets and practices of the idea of “Organizatiopn”.
    The people who could organize the design, manufacture, provisioning, and operation of a Man-of-War in 1800s also had a superior grasp of power and politics compared to their counterparts in the Levant, the Persian Gulf, or the sub-Continent; those people know how to organize a mule train.

  36. Medicine Man says:

    David Habakkuk:
    This is certainly food for thought. It is interesting to speculate how certain ideologues in Washington might be easily read and led by foreign agitators due to their biases on ME issues.
    However, I don’t think anything you’ve said necessarily contradicts what I’m driving at. What you have described is how Chalabi convinced those who were eager to be convinced. If your assertion is that Chalabi, and provocateurs like him, played a key role in propagating certain interventionist views in DC then I am inclined to agree.
    It is entirely another thing to take Chalabi’s boasting as literal truth. The fact that there was a temporary alignment of interests between the Bush Administration and Iran does not prove there was an entente cordial of any sort.

  37. Medicine Man says:

    Somewhat related to the original point of this thread: If this speculation is true and the Neocon faction in DC is influenced by the Iranians, I wonder to what extent their fingerprints are on some of the worse decisions made regarding the occupation. As I understand it, disbanding the Iraq military and the de-Baathification policy were both Neocon pet projects. Both policies had the effect of removing threats to Iraq’s traditional foes but also proved ruinous to the prospects of a successful occupation by the US.
    This is food for thought. To what extent was the policies of the occupation influenced by foreign (non-Iraq/US) agents?

  38. Byron Raum says:

    I am not really sure why this really means all that much. It seems to me that Chalabi was used by the neocons, not the other way around. They wanted to invade Iraq, 9/11 was the perfect excuse, and Chalabi helped provide local information, could be touted as an expert to doubters and was useful as a concrete display of Saddam’s sins. The reason the neocons didn’t feel they needed Saddam was because they felt that they could easily turn Iraq into a shining example of democracy aligned towards us and therefore ready to continue the bitter rivalry between Iran and Iraq.
    Given this as a backdrop, I am not sure that Chalabi’s has a right to his low opinion of Bush. He bought into the neocons’ vision, and went into Iraq expecting to be a major player, returning, if not at the head of a liberating army, at least near it. This is not to say that other people don’t have the right to have a low opinion of Bush – only that Chalabi doesn’t.

  39. MRW. says:

    How about a real enquiry into who allowed America to be hoodwinked into the Iraq War? The 9/11 Commission was a farce. This time we should have an enquiry not run by one of the duped…

    Times SEVENTEEN. We can start with a new 9-11 investigation. When the NIST wrote on page 140 (of the pdf) of the final report on the collapse of the towers (2005) that there is no evidence that the steel columns were heated above 600 C, you know there is rot in the official story. 600 C = 1100 F. Fancy barbecues burn hotter than that. Ditto the wok restaurants of Hong Kong.

  40. Mac Nayeri says:

    Chalabi, an Iranian asset?
    He is not trusted by Pasdaran nor the clerical establsihment.
    He is, however, a close observer of American politics and knows, as we all do, that the general consensus outthere is that Tehran gained the most from 2003 and since his own aspirations for power were sidelined by Washington, probably enjoys rubbing it in ours and the former administration’s noses.
    No grand conspiracy, just the fog of war…..

  41. rjj says:

    Chalabi says his family are Syrian Arabs who came to Baghdad with Murad IV.
    If these statements are reasonably accurate:

    “Murad was a bigoted Sunni, and the main cause of his campaign against Persia was his desire to extirpate the Shia heresy.” http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Murad_IV
    “The major impact of the Safavid-Ottoman conflict on Iraqi history was the deepening of the Shia-Sunni rift. Both the Ottomans and the Safavids used Sunni and Shia Islam respectively to mobilize domestic support. Thus, Iraq’s Sunni population suffered immeasurably during the brief Safavid reign (1623-38), while Iraq’s Shias were excluded from power altogether during the longer period of Ottoman supremacy (1638-1916)” http://countrystudies.us/iraq/18.htm
    “Official Ottoman wrath was reserved for Sunni Muslims who inclined toward Shia beliefs…” Finkel, Osman’s Dream

    It seems reasonable to assume the family were Sunni till fairly recently — possibly early 20th century. The conversion is intriguing. Anybody know anything about the composition of what the NYT calls a “small Shia elite” in Baghdad?

  42. jon says:

    Col., I believe you misunderstand me. I don’t think I suggested that Iran had the capability to provoke or manage any specific US actions – only to act on the margins and assist what the US might do of its own accord. I would expect that the Iranians had thought through many scenarios and contingencies, and in each to seek ways to maximize their position and gains. Surely, you aren’t implying that the Neocons are Iranian agents?
    I am not aware of your claim that many of the INC group brought into Iraq had any affiliation with the Quds force. The INC rapidly proved in practice what had been widely known – that they were power hungry grafters with no true connection to the populace, politics that did not resonate, and no capacity for organization and management. It is fortunate that they were never handed power, but that can also be seen a result of the insurgency which required the US to remain and to establish their own imperial governate.
    I believe it was Rumsfeld who insisted that the occupation be conducted with far fewer troops than recommended, giving no credence to analysis that saw a need for large troop numbers to maintain domestic order under occupation.
    I’m sure the Iranian’s would have capitalized on an INC government, but they also seem to have done quite well without them. I credit the Iranians to have a clearer perception of Chalabi, and assume that he has been a useful tool to them. I doubt that they would trust him with much of their strategic vision or operational plans, other than related to his need to know. I’m sure that they would toss him aside or pass him by, should it prove convenient. From time to time he is a handy tool, nothing more. Chalabi has proven himself many times to be an unreliable friend, business partner and ally.
    Ultimately, neither Chalabi nor Iran can or could force the US to do what it did not want to do. We should expect that we will be challenged every day by persons and countries that want various things for their own unclear reasons. We are under no obligation to satisfy them. The US essentially acted as a wiling party and mark in a confidence scheme, being led to lies that we wanted to believe were true.
    To me, Chalabi has always been a scorpion, something to be carefully perceived, shaken out of your boots, and crushed. What can you say of someone who plays with a scorpion in their hand, and then complains when they are stung?
    The Iranians have benefitted most, but I credit the neocons, PNAC, AIPAC and their fellow travelers with concocting the ‘strategery’ that made a US invasion of Iraq seem appropriate and plausible, and then motivated public opinion and government officials to act to that end. If there has been a loser in this game, after the Iraqi people and the US, I would have to say that it has been Israel.

  43. Patrick Lang says:

    The neocons, Perle, Rubin et all were unwitting dupes of the Iranians. They were, in Lenin’s phrase, “useful idiots.”
    My “claim” concerning the identities of Chalabi’s “Iraqi” freedom fighters is based on the eyewitness testimoney of US Army officers on the ground with them.
    Your belief in the wisdom, and invulnerable power of the US is touching.
    Mac Nayeri
    It matters not if the Iranian Khawza trusts Chalabi. He was an opportunity. They saw it and used the chance to great effect. pl

  44. David Habakkuk says:

    Medicine Man
    It seems clear that Chalabi was an important influence behind the decisions comprehensively to exclude former Baathists from public employment, and to disband the Iraqi military — which together turned a Sunni insurgency from an evident possibility into a racing certainty.
    Subsequently associates of his got together with some former British army counter-terrorism specialists, and secured the contract to protect the pipelines from the insurgents. Chalabi helps create the problem, Chalabi helps provide the solution — and benefits in the process.
    The story is told in a notable article by Knut Royce.
    (See http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11218.)
    Babak Makkinejad
    ‘I find it difficult to credit your thesis because there are, in my observation, a very considerable number of sophisticated and subtle people in the United States – some of them in US government.’
    But advice from all such ‘sophisticated and subtle’ people — including Colonel Lang — was comprehensively ignored by the Bush Administration, who preferred the fantasies propagated by Chalabi.
    (The notion that the Persians in the 1800s could do no more than ‘organize a mule train’, incidentally, seems a bit excessive — had not Nader Shah sacked Delhi in 1739? But even if one concedes that the superiority of the Britain of Nelson and William Pitt the Younger over Muslim polities was not simply to do with technology, but with grasp of ‘power and politics’, what relevance has that to conditions in 2009?)
    If you want vivid evidence of the rather limited intellectual grasp of the American neocons and their British fellow-travellers, you might perhaps look at the statement of principles of The Henry Jackson Society, which brings both groups together.
    It is underpinned by a highly questionable belief in some kind of natural teleology of history leading to the triumph of liberal democracy — precisely the delusional mindset which Chalabi so effectively exploited.
    (See http://www.henryjacksonsociety.org/content.asp?pageid=35.)
    Also important here is a nefarious side effect of the immense successes of Western countries in science and technology — the belief that imitating the methods of the ‘hard’ sciences is the key to making progress in understanding human societies, which is reflected in the current intellectual hegemony of economics.
    Back in 1831, the English satirist Thomas Love Peacock characterised ‘political economy’ as being based upon ‘premises assumed without evidence, or in spite of it; and conclusions drawn from them so logically, that they must necessarily be erroneous.’ This applies in spades to modern ‘rational choice’ theory, and minds formed by it will obviously be unable to make much sense of alien cultures, if not indeed of their own.
    Taken together, these different elements contribute to making many influential figures in Washington and London easy meat for strategies of deception.

  45. Mac Nayeri says:

    He has become an opportunity, and yes it has been used effectively but that is a far cry from being an Iranian asset ab initio…..
    Tehran’s view was he was a carpetbagger, not Kim Philby….

  46. curious says:

    My choice where Iran has major role are
    – de baathification
    – disbanding Iraqi army
    – inner working of CPA (this part I thin Chalabi has great impact, more so than his DC/INC days)
    – Shia uprising to pressure selection of shia friendly leader. (debatable)
    – nuke stuff/Russia (this one is well played)
    – money in europe (more of unintended consequence)
    – asia/japan energy supply (mix review)

  47. p
    This is an interesting conversation, with opinions divided roughly into the “The Devil (Iran) Made Me Do It” and the “We have met the enemy and he is us” (Pogo) schools of thought. I agree with jon in thinking that we, the nation as a whole, were duped into the project of conquering Iraq and the identities and program of those who did the duping are traceable from the neo-conservatives in the government, through AIPAC, the Project for a New American Century, Team B on intelligence analysis and back to Netanyahu and the Likud party. The plan to invade was a “done deal” and the cooked intelligence from the INC and other sources was the necessary cover.
    As for the INC “invasion force”, what I recall from reading is that Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith and their ilk were desperate to put an Iraqi component with the invasion force. The INC failed miserably to recruit the promised force of Iraqi exiles and my guess is that Chalabi used his contacts in Iran to augment that dismal band of revolutionaries.
    I have to go with Pogo on this one.

  48. Patrick Lang says:

    Some of you
    A frustrating lot. You want to see things as mutually exclusive alternatives that are not and you want to quibble about dates and events that you have an imperfect knowledge of.
    I have had enough of this. some of you will brood over it and that is what I want.
    I sense that the most uncomfortsbl among you are the neocons who do not want to believe that the medieval “rag-heads” took them to the cleaners. pl

  49. Babak Makkinejad says:

    David Habakkuk:
    Nader Shah, and the Safavids before him and the Qajars after him were ultimately failures – that is the judgment of the Iranian History.
    Nader Shah was a failure for in spite of his considerable personal gift as a leader of men and a general, he failed to create a stable state.
    The Safavids, who created modern Iran, failed since their polity could not abridge the Persian-Turkic divide as well as the intra Qizablbash rivalry. SO a rag-tag group of rebels from the Afghan Ostan could sack Isphahan – the imperial capital.
    The Qajars, on the other hand, failed to modernizes the state quickly enough and caused self-inflicted wounds by loosing territories that were for centuries part of Iran: Aran, Nachchevan, Heart, Baluchistan, etc.
    500 years of cluelessness (common to all Muslim polities) cannot be over during 30 years of militant nationalism of the Islamic Republic.
    I want to emphasize that “organization” itself is a form of (high) technology and that the (Near) East had no inkling of any of it – organization [empirical sconces, etc.]
    You won’t get any arguments from regarding “natural teleology”. Hegel claimed the same things for the Prussian State. The people you allude to are utter fools. And what distinguishes them from their brethren through human history is that their polity – through the instrumentality of hydrogen bombs – has the ability of annihilate all Life on this planet. That, in my opinion, is the source of their conceit.
    I wish more people in the Western world, were exposed to the ideas of Jakob Burkhardt and what a “liberal” education would entail or achieve. Namely this: an appreciation nod understanding of the culture and civilization of foreign peoples without value-judgments.
    Col. Lang:
    “I knew we was good but not that good!”

  50. JoeC says:

    For those skeptical about Col. Lang’s take on Chalabi, his early article on this topic – Drinking the Kool Aid” is well worth reading: http://www.mepc.org/journal_vol11/0406_lang.asp

  51. jon says:

    Col., pardon me for belaboring this, but I feel as if what said, fairly plainly, is being misconstrued. I make no claims for the ‘wisdom and invulnerable power’ of the US – certainly not beyond the abilities you seem to think we have in other circumstances.
    Did Neocons make use of materials developed or distributed on behalf of the iranians? Almost certainly. They were and are idiots, useful and otherwise. But this is a tail and do issue. One would expect the Iranians to have intelligence operations of many sorts relating to Iraq, at all times. Could the Iranians have manipulated some of the Neocoons? Almost certainly, at some times, to various degrees. None of this obligates the US to adopt the Neocon point of view, accept their propaganda, our turn our policy and agencies to their objectives. Again, what we did, we did to ourselves.
    The Iranians will certainly try to grant themselves as much credit as think the market can bear, when it advances their objectives. This does not mean that it is fully and objectively true.
    I put your ‘claim’ in quotes because I have never come across that assertion before. I would be grateful for citations that support this. I’m more than happy to be shown that I am wrong.
    I continue to be astonished that the US seemed heedless that the ISCI/SIIC seemed to be almost entirely a creature of Iran, yet was granted by Bremer with near total dominance of the Iraqi government.
    I am familiar with claims that the Iranians were supplying and advising, variously, al Qaeda in Iraq, ISCI/SIIC, and al Sadr. Almost all of those claims have prove to be false or insubstantial. Officers of an Iranian consulate (I believe in Mosul) were arrested and charged with providing assistance, but it turns out that they had been specifically invited by the Iraqi government. Other materiel supply seems to have occurred through private channels, to the Iranian government maintains plausible deniability at the least. At worst the Iranians were behaving very similarly to the US in trying to dislodge the USSR from Afghanistan, and the US seems to feels justified in those actions.
    A more fruitful line of inquiry at this point might be to ask why the Neocons and PNAC members continue to maintain positions of power and influence, with access to the highest levels of government, and generous funding. And then to see how these circumstances can be changed. Having been debunked and proven wrong on every point, having cost the US trillions of dollars and thousands of lives, and immeasurably weakened the US throughout the world, they are still experts, their voices given wide distribution, and their pronouncements taken seriously.

  52. David Habakkuk says:

    Babak Makkinejad
    To my regret, I have never read any of the works of Burckhardt — I know him primarily for his (prescient) anticipation that the twentieth century would be dominated by ‘terrible simplifiers’.
    But as to the importance of a genuinely ‘liberal education’, and what it ought to teach, I would agree with you.

  53. Jon T. says:

    Long late in reading here AND maybe off topic – “keeping the door open to possible prosecution” of those who wrote memos authorizing language changes regarding interrogation techniques and definitions of international and domestic law, the argument will devolve to 9.11 fairly quickly and the visible, front man Iranian leader’s incendiary remarks will propel fuel to Cheney’s fear sales.
    I say listen to the poets and musicians in Northern Iran of today, and to Iranian music, both classical and modern, poets like Rumi and Shams Tabriz of old.
    Quietly sitting with another culture sans value judgement allows for the possibility of noticing something like lokhay warkawal – granting refuge and protection to a guest in the Afghani Pashtunwali code – of noticing humanity before we or anyone else plunge the silver suitcase nuclear exchange codes is a good idea for us Americans.
    I learned of Lokhay in a provocative and powerful warrior story “Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10” by Marcus Luttrell.
    Thank you to all the rough men and women who actually are out there doing the work.

  54. Homer says:

    [Chalabi] has always been inclined toward the Iranians.
    al-Maliki, al-Hakim, and countless others in the Iraqi Parliament have also been inclined toward extremists in Iran and (!!) not toward the USA for decades.
    What is truly puzzling for some is the reason why the Bush admin deposed SH while Mr Cheney **had** to have known that their political parties (viz. Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq) had been `terrorizing’ SH for decades (!!) in order to transform a secular Iraq into Islamic fundamentalist republic with extremely close ties to religious fanatics in Iran. [Cheney: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BEsZMvrq-I%5D
    BTW: Anyone have an idea how Dawa lost its status as a state sponsored terrorist group??

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