Chalabi and the Israelis

From this old article in Yediot Aharonot it looks like Chalabi played the Israelis for "suckers" as well.  pl


"Saddam’s "Successor" Made Secret Visit to Israel
Smadar Peri
Intelligence Correspondent, Yediot Aharonot

On Tuesday afternoon, in a dramatic interruption of the news, Al Jazeera broadcast a panicky item from Baghdad on the arrest of Ahmed Chalabi, president of the umbrella organization of Iraqi exiles. "Chalabi, the Pentagon favorite," the report said, "was arrested by American troops on charges of fraud and disturbing the civil administration."
The reaction in Israel was immediate. "We knew this moment would come," said senior intelligence officials, and didn’t hide their sighs of relief. But the happiness was premature, and very quickly it turned out that the report of Chalabi’s arrest was false. The Iraqi exile, who was flown to Baghdad to lead the Iraqis after Saddam’s removal, was still relevant.
Three hours after the Al Jazeera report, the rival Abu Dhabi network broadcast an interview with Chalabi. "Documents from Iraqi intelligence show that the Al Jazeera reporters are agents of the previous regime," Chalabi claimed. He said that Saddam Hussein was alive and that he and the others with him were in possession of bomb belts. "Saddam will choose the most appropriate timing to carry out a large scale terror attack with many casualties."
Israeli intelligence did not fall off their chairs on hearing this. "This is Chalabi’s way of drawing attention," sources said, "the Americans will soon understand whom they are dealing with." A Black Mercedes and Ties with Teheran
Ahmed Chalabi was born 56 years ago to an aristocratic Shiite family in Baghdad. He is a charismatic, secular, amazingly skillful and impatient, a computer, math and financial wizard. He left Iraq in 1956 when his family fled in fear of the regime, completed his studies at the prestigious MIT in the US and was among the founders of the Bank of Petra in Jordan, from where he fled after he was indicted for embezzlement. He was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment in absentia. Chalabi argued in his defense that this was an Iraqi conspiracy and over the years managed to forge connections to powerful people in the US. He heads the National Iraqi Congress, the umbrella organization of large opposition groups.
For many years mystery shrouded the reasons the Americans regarded Chalabi so warmly. This was explained by his charisma, his ability to impress and links to powerful people, but the real reason was never made public, until today. Chalabi, so it transpires, was pushed into the Americans’ arms by Israeli intelligence.
Chalabi’s Israeli link took place 13 years ago. KZ, a Defense Ministry official, revealed details of his first meeting with Chalabi in London this week. "Chalabi immediately projected Middle Eastern warmth. He is very intelligent and surprised me with his great knowledge about us. He knew each of the components of our political gallery, the ministers, the influential MKs, IDF Intelligence and Mossad heads. He also knew about Israel’s open and covert relations in the Arab world. Our talk quickly got down to the future relations between Iraq and Jerusalem, after Saddam’s fall. Even back then he insisted on drawing up a new political map of the Middle East and announced that Iraq would hoist the banner of democracy."
Chalabi told the Defense Ministry official, KZ, that in Baghdad he had attended the prestigious private school of "Madame Adel," a Jewish woman, and was closely acquainted with the Jewish community. "He was familiar with our customs. When he made his first visit to Israel, we took him on a tour of the Babylon Heritage Center and for meetings with Iraqi Jews. When he saw they retain their customs from Iraq, I saw it was hard for him to contain his emotion."
Maj. Gen. (reserves) Danny Rothschild, who headed the IDF Intelligence research branch, received Chalabi’s telephone numbers in London in 1990 and went to meet him in secret. Only very rarely was IDF Intelligence able to make links to a senior Iraqi exile who displayed such great quantities of good will. They discussed Israel’s efforts to get information on the fate of the IDF POWs and MIAs.
"Chalabi promised us that he could use his contacts in Teheran to check out the Ron Arad matter," Rothschild recounts. "I remember that Chalabi’s son came to meet me at the airport and picked me up in his black, fancy Mercedes. The license plate said RPG 7. How did he maintain secrecy when he went around with such ostentatious signs? Gradually I realized that this was an important component in the image Chalabi was trying to project."
Rothschild and Chalabi met in the sumptuous office of the Iraqi exile in western London and spoke for long hours about the future of the region. Rothschild remembers that he wrote a classified report. The information on the Israeli MIAs and POWs, which Chalabi promised through his contacts in Teheran, never materialized, neither in Rothschild’s next two meetings with Chalabi.
This did not prevent Israeli security officials from recommending Chalabi to the American administration and connecting him to senior advisers in the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA. As a result of the recommendations, James Woolsley, the former CIA director, gave him his patronage.

Open File on Petra
In 1992, Chalabi declared the establishment of the National Iraqi Congress in London and tried to enlist the American administration into preparing for an operation to topple Saddam. He gathered around him dozens of young people who had fled Iraq and persuaded them to work voluntarily for a "free Iraq." Israelis who visited the offices of the National Congress were shown the horrors of Saddam’s regime and the organization’s desire to take immediate revenge against Iraq.
At the same time, reports came in from Jordan, painting an entirely different picture of Chalabi. In 1989, after the Bank of Petra, the third largest in the kingdom, declared bankruptcy, Chalabi fled to Kurdistan in the back of a truck. USD 20 million, all of the bank’s deposits, disappeared along with him. The Jordanians never forgave him. Last week, in three interviews by King Abdullah, he made it very clear: "The Petra file against Chalabi is still open." King Abdullah also had a sweeping message to the American administration: "I suggest you examine very carefully banks in Geneva, London and Beirut. Chalabi was not only involved in such affairs in Jordan. In all of these places charges were filed against him for financial wrongdoing."
Four weeks ago, when Chalabi showed up in Nassiriya in southern Iraq after 45 years in exile and promised a "new Iraq," a strong message was conveyed from Amman to the Bush administration. "If Chalabi, with your help, fulfills his dream, and is given a central role in Iraq, this will immediately cast a heavy shadow on Jordan-Iraq relations." The Jordanians also reminded the Americans that Jordan is the country closest to Iraq and any move taken on one side of the border will immediately effect, either positively or negatively, the other.
The Jordanian royal family also watched with concern the involvement of Israeli security officials in opening the gates of the Pentagon in Washington for Chalabi. The Jordanians even warned the CIA against this "crook with the charismatic smooth image." But the American espionage agencies had their own considerations. "Iraq is closed, Chalabi gives us important intelligence information from Baghdad," senior CIA officials said.
But not everyone in the top American echelons had the same reaction. Loud voices were heard in the White House and in the State Department over the years against building up Chalabi’s status in the Pentagon. Here too, with a certain delay, the Mossad and the IDF Intelligence marked him as a " dangerous fraud." Former Mossad director Shabtai Shavit says: "I didn’t bother getting acquainted with Chalabi;" while more recent former Mossad director Ephraim Halevy makes a face when Chalabi’s name is mentioned. "This man has no chance," Halevy says, "It’s a waste of time."
A senior security establishment official ("don’t write my name, why should I get in trouble with Secretary Rumsfeld, who gets a report about every word we say here about a Iraq") is willing to reveal, "Despite the pressure put on us, I absolutely refused to meet Chalabi."

Question: Why?
"Because I don’t get involved with gangsters. People like him shouldn’t be our friends."
Question: And if Chalabi is eventually the next leader of Iraq?
"I have been following him for years. Even if his dream comes true and he manages to get himself a role in Baghdad, he’ll be murdered in a month. He won’t survive. We shouldn’t rely on him." Passport Not Stamped in Baghdad
The secret meetings in London led Chalabi to a string of discrete visits in Tel Aviv. "He came mainly to acquire an impression from up close who are the Israelis and what the State of Israel like," says KZ, who waited for Chalabi at the exit of the El Al plane at Ben-Gurion Airport, who made sure his passport was not stamped and who lodged him under a false name in a five-star Tel Aviv hotel.
The family file collected by intelligence agencies on Chalabi and his wife describe them as "exiles deluxe." The wife, Leila, is from a respected family in Lebanon, her father was the Lebanese foreign minister. Chalabi’s daughter Tamara, a communications student, was also party to his father’s activities.
"Chalabi did not make concrete requests of us," said a senior security establishment official. "Even after he was unable to get the administration’s consent in to train Iraqi exiles in American army camps, he knew, with his honed senses, that Israeli fingerprints on him would be mark against him in Iraq."
Another senior security establishment source says: "Chalabi’s and other Iraqi exiles’ efforts to get close to us gave me the chills. I immediately remembered our entanglement with the Phalanges in Lebanon. The more we helped them, the greater their appetite grew, and in the end we were trampled."
In one of his visits to Israel, Chalabi was hosted in the office of the defense minister at the time, Yitzhak Mordechai. Chalabi, it turned out, had come to ask for Israeli aid in Congress in Washington, to persuade the administration of President Clinton to fund activity of the exiles’ National Congress, to train hundreds of volunteers in army bases, prior to a strike to topple the Saddam regime. At the end of these efforts, with the help of his Israeli friends and the Jewish lobby in Washington, Chalabi managed to get USD four million. In Washington he met with then minister Natan Sharansky, former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and impressed them with his plans for molding Iraq into a democratic country . . . This appeared in
Yediot Aharonot on May 2, 2003"!XXX

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47 Responses to Chalabi and the Israelis

  1. Cold War Zoomie says:

    I’m surprised at how the last few posts about Chalabi rely on the press and journalists so much. During my time as a minuscule cog in the machine, it became obvious pretty quickly that what was on the tellie one night didn’t match up with what was happening on the ops floor the day before. That’s the nature of the beast.
    Hmmmm. Why the increase in “chatter” about this guy now?

  2. Montag says:

    Chalabi met with Sharansky and Netanyahu? No doubt they were planning a comeback as the new Three Stooges.

  3. W. Patrick Lang says:

    My experience is quite different. open source material is often more useful than the classified if you have the wit to arrive at the “net” result.
    As for Chalabi, he interests me. That is reason enough. pl

  4. swerv21 says:

    Seems like the only reliably inferable knowledge from this material is that Chalabi had quite a few fingers in quite a few pies.
    If you drew a set diagram for Israeli, Iranian and U.S. thinking on Iraq pre-war, then Chalabi would be sitting right where the circles overlapped. . .

  5. jr786 says:

    This article is from May, 2003. On another thread, several posters pointed out that Chalabi’s previous machinations, duplicity and treachery were ‘common knowledge’ by the late 1990’s and naturally up through the 2004 elections.
    So how did he get himself appointed deputy minister of oil and later Minister, a post he held through part of 2006? At which point nobody could still be under any illusions about him. Any public US objections to this?

  6. anna missed says:

    Isn’t Chalabi still in control of the de-Baathification commission? And has outlived the reconciliation drive authored by Khalilzad — and oft repeated “Benchmark” extraordinare demanded in Washington.
    Who needs middle east oil when these folks have discovered the ship of state runs perfectly well on bullshit!

  7. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Col Lang,
    I’ll definitely defer to your experience. All mine is on the other side of the Potomac. I don’t want to know what’s happening over on your side – life’s easier that way!

  8. arbogast says:

    The U.S. is being bled white financially and militarily.
    There is very evidently a clique that believes that this can be done safely and, in fact, that it will strengthen their cause.
    I think, Colonel Lang, that you put your finger on the truth when you point out that it is conceivable that there are “others” out there who realize that bleeding the U.S. white will result in the fall of the U.S.
    Has the U.S. ever been weaker militarily than it is now?
    Has the U.S ever been weaker financially than it is now?
    If you read the Wall Street Journal and listen to Dick Cheney, the answer is that it is stronger that it has ever been.
    Chalabi is very definitely a sign that, just possibly, WSJ and Dick Cheney have it backwards.

  9. W. Patrick Lang says:

    plp et all
    Try to get your minds around this idea, “that the Iranians may have used Chalabi and the neocons to put us in the position are now in fighing the various Sunni and secular Shia insurgent groups for the benefit of the Shia and Iran.”
    Does that mean we should go to war with Iran? No, not unless we can’t handle the thought that we may have been “outplayed.” pl

  10. arbogast says:

    Oh, Colonel, I completely agree. Totally agree. Going to “war” with Iran now would be one of the greatest blunders in Western history.
    Interestingly, I think there are thinking Israeli’s who realize that what the Israeli Air Force did to Lebanon was a war crime, and not a very productive war crime either.
    I guess what the clique believes is that the US and Israel don’t have to please anyone, they can do what they like.
    They shall shortly see how much of what they like they can do.
    And even those lunatic bastards realize that all the money on Wall Street cannot sell conscription to the American public.
    [rhymes with truck] them.

  11. johnieB says:

    That’s the general sense I’m drawing from these illuminating discussions. I also found, in my own very modest experience at the lowest level, Open Source materials to be useful; as the Colonel notes, it’s in the read.

  12. backsdrummer says:
    I guess this isn’t really related except as a metaphor, but all this talk about being outplayed by Iran keeps reminding me of the 1998 World Cup.
    The Americans squandered several good chances to score. Iran took full advantage of their limited scoring opportunities, and scored just before half-time.
    The Americans didn’t really get into the game until the second half. Iran stayed composed and managed to hold off the USA’s attempts to tie the game. As the game wound down, the US threw caution to the wind, and Iran scored again on an opportunistic goal. A very late US goal was too little, too late, and Iran ended up winning 2-1. The US was eliminated from that World Cup as a result.

  13. Montag says:

    Col. Lang, you seem to be saying that once having dug ourselves into a deep hole–regardless of the details of how and why–Job One is to stop digging.

  14. taters says:

    Thank you for this Col. I find information on the honcho of the Gucci Guerillas particularly insightful.
    It’s an absolute shame Judy Miller and Michael Gordon didn’t/wouldn’t research this guy.
    Also, the recollection that you shared with us when you sat next to him and others in the hotel lobby and listened in – was a most excellent and interesting read.

  15. pbrownlee says:

    Wounded vanity and an entrenched inability to deal with error of any kind can be powerful engines for further imbecilic activity.
    See Mencken, Twain and Bierce passim.

  16. Cloned Poster says:

    Does that mean we should go to war with Iran? No, not unless we can’t handle the thought that we may have been “outplayed.” pl

    Outplayed? Beaten outta the park more like and bleeding in the endfield. In a game that the Sunni Arabs started.

  17. FB Ali says:

    As an outside observer (and a believer in Occam’s Razor) it appears to me that a more likely scenario is :
    · Chalabi was playing everyone (the US administration, the neocons, the Iranians, the Israelis, various European intelligence services) with the aim of getting the US to attack Iraq, overthrow Saddam and instal him instead.
    · In the process he was telling everyone whatever they wanted to hear, and making whatever promises would entice them into supporting him. What he would have actually done had he come into power is a totally open question – obviously he would have had to double-cross one side or the other, probably the one from whom he feared the least blowback.
    · The current entanglement of the US into fighting the Sunnis in Iraq is the doing of the Kurd and Shia leadership in Iraq, in which Chalabi plays a minor role (though he is probably trying to convince the Iranians that it is much bigger). However, here Iran is actively working with the Iraqi Shia to prolong this for as long as possible (they probably also wield considerable influence on Talibani and Barzani).
    · Iran and/or Chalabi only appear to be so diabolically clever because this US administration has proven to be idiotic beyond belief. However, this doesn’t apply to the US “military-industrial” complex; unending war (irrespective of who the enemy is) suits them fine.

  18. Chris M says:

    Try to get your minds around this idea, “that the Iranians may have used Chalabi and the neocons to put us in the position are now in fighing the various Sunni and secular Shia insurgent groups for the benefit of the Shia and Iran.”
    Another question that could be asked is, “Has anybody been using the Iranians?”

  19. RB says:

    I’m not sure that I entirely buy into the argument that the US has been “played”—in part because I’m not sure the Iranians find 150,000 US troops in Iraq a reassuring prospect, even if they are fighting predominately Sunni jihadists and ex-Ba’thists to keep a pro-Iranian Shiite government in power.
    That having been said, I don’t doubt that Iran has made major gains, both in terms of regime change in Baghdad, further damaging the American “brand” in the ME, and by bleeding the US on the ground in Iraq (and possibly deterring it more broadly).
    Chalabi? I was always a strong critic, ever since my VISA card in Jordan stopped working for a while because of the collapse of Petra Bank 😉 It has always stunned me that he was so successful in diverting attention from this, and his family’s involvement in banking scandals in Switzerland and Lebanon.
    Was he an Iranian “asset?” Perhaps the Iranians think so. I don’t doubt he would offer them what they wanted in exchange for support, although ultimately I think he’s a charismatic, opportunistic free agent. (I’m dubious about some of the compromised COMINT story, by the way–although I won’t get into why. If it were true, the real question would be who in the USG was revealing to Chalabi what Iranian traffic the NSA and allies might, or might not, be listening to…)
    Fianlly–and the real reason for the post–it all raises interesting questions about who (in the often highly divided Iranian government) was seeking what? The Supreme Leader? Then President Khatemi? The MOIS or IRGC? Iranian bureaucratic politics and turf battles are often an eerie echo of Washington’s, complete with realist-pragmatists and ideologues.

  20. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I need to find that post. ?? pl

  21. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Nobody is saying that Chalabi or Iranian manipulation of the US was the sole cause of the disaster.
    What is being said is that he/them were a major cause. pl

  22. W. Patrick Lang says:

    It is absolutely “in the read.” pl

  23. W. Patrick Lang says:

    For the Canadian Academic fellah
    I think the Iranians are quited happy to have our force next door doing what they want done.
    They know we are going to leave. pl

  24. Don Schmeling says:

    All this discussion about Chalabi is mentally stimulating, but let’s not forget that he was bit actor in the grand production of “America goes to Kick Butt”
    There had already been documentaries about Chalabi’s shady past, but neither the American President or public cared.
    Remember; the UN inspector Hans Blix was telling the world he could find no weapons of mass destruction.
    Go to Original (,,2-10-1460_1345303,00.html)
    Hans Blix: War Planned ‘Long in Advance’
    Wednesday 9 April 2003
    Madrid – The invasion of Iraq was planned a long time in advance, and the United States and Britain are not primarily concerned with finding any banned weapons of mass destruction, the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said in an interview on Wednesday.
    “There is evidence that this war was planned well in advance. Sometimes this raises doubts about their attitude to the (weapons) inspections,” Blix told Spanish daily El Pais.
    “I now believe that finding weapons of mass destruction has been relegated, I would say, to fourth place, which is why the United States and Britain are now waging war on Iraq.
    Today the main aim is to change the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein,” he said, according to the Spanish text of the interview.
    Most of the world felt the same way, and the US’s old allies, (Old Europe, Canada), told the President so.
    One shouldn’t even get close to thinking that Chalabi tricked anyone. His stories just happened to be what the White House wanted to hear.
    And one shouldn’t forget that the US public was happy to knock some heads together to avenge 9/11, and wasn’t very worried about who’s heads it was.

  25. swerv21 says:

    random suggestion. unrelated to post.
    maybe you could get someone to volunteer and organize a ‘retreat’ for your readership. everyone could together in some inn in the shenandoah, drink bourbon all weekend, trade notes and war stories.
    it would be like lebowskifest, but for sst readers.

  26. K.Berg says:

    Colonel Lang, we read your site attentively!
    “I knew who these guys were, and I heard them speaking Arabic, and it was obviously Iraqi Arabic,” Lang said. “So I went over and sat next to them and listened. So what they were talking about was how to spend the Americans’ money, going on shopping trips, stuff like that. Oh, they were talking about going shopping for jewelry for women, toys for kids. Consumer goods. They were also talking about Las Vegas. ‘We will sneak out of here and go to Las Vegas. We have a lot of money now.’ ”
    From “Where Plan A Left Ahmad Chalabi” Dexter Filkins Nov 2, 2006.

  27. zanzibar says:

    There is a tide in the affairs of men
    Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries. Julius Caesar Act IV Scene 3

    The scheming of Chalabi and the Iranians rode the tide of the neo-cons New American Century to remake the ME for Israeli hegemony and played into the oedipal ego of the Decider to be the Commander Guy in the pantheon of great American presidents and was a perfect political set-up for Rove to create his “permanent Republican majority” with the collaboration of the corporate media and a somnolent public.
    Alas, neither the neo-cons nor the Commander Guy will come out of this with any credibility but who cares there still is the 28% and another day to return. As for Iran and Chalabi the jury is still out – Iraq and the ME is still a treacherous place and what works today may not tomorrow. The American people inevitably will be left holding the bag.

  28. arbogast says:

    I like the idea of the Iranians being a client of someone else. I like that a very great deal. Sort of like the Muhjadeen.
    Because, let’s face it, it is in the interest of our enemies that we stay in Iraq:
    1) demoralize our troops
    2) sow discord in the country
    3) ruin us financially
    4) weaken us everywhere except in the mind of Dick Cheney

  29. taters says:

    Col. Lang,
    Here it is, sir.
    from the NYT Magazine, by Dexter Filkins – Where A Plan Left Ahmad Chalabi
    There was the money issue, too. Throughout the 1990’s, as the C.I.A. and Congress funneled millions of dollars to Chalabi’s organization, the Iraqi National Congress, rumors swirled about corruption. One of the skeptics was W. Patrick Lang, a senior official at the Defense Intelligence Agency. In 1995, Lang told me, he was sitting in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, when he overheard a group of Iraqis talking about the money they had received from the American government.

  30. Chatham says:

    Was Chalabi really such a big influence on the decision to go to war itself, or was he merely useful for people that were driven by a certain ideology? This is the same ideology that urged confrontation with the Soviets when they were on the verge of falling apart – a myopic and dangerous ideology. Remember after 9/11, different lists of countries we had to go after were popping up, some even including Cuba. There seems to be people who thought that the only thing keeping these countries in power was the lack of US political will to unleash the military.
    I don’t think we were outplayed, since our leadership wasn’t tricked or duped into believing this fairy tale – they actively sought it out. Sure, Chalabi told the administration everything they wanted, but when has the administration listed to anything but what they already wanted to hear?

  31. robt willmann says:

    The concept of three dimensions allows examination of an object from all angles.
    I too have been intrigued by Ahmad Chalabi, and why someone with his history of embezzling and mendacity is still circulating around, rather than being found in a ditch somewhere.
    The posts by Richard Sale and David Habbakuk present Chalabi, probably correctly, as an agent of Iran.
    However, to think and speak of the neocons as some sort of independent power center is a critical misperception. They are simply flacks and snake oil salesmen for their own “handlers”, to use the vernacular.
    It is not necessary to repeat the proof from the public record showing that Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams, Michael Ledeen, and David Wurmser will do what the government of Israel would like them to do. To that list should be added Irving Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Jr., who managed to penetrate all the way into the arms of the vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney, as his chief of staff and assistant for national security affairs, and to the elbow of the President, as an advisor. But he is barred from this catbird’s seat after his conviction for perjury, making a false statement, and obstruction of justice.
    Iran, with help from Chalabi, achieved its initial goals:
    1. Getting rid of an independent and nationalist leader of Iraq, in this case named Saddam Hussein.
    2. Outlawing the organized Baath Party, the political structure of Iraq.
    3. Disbanding the Iraqi Army, which served the Baath party and Saddam Hussein.
    Israel, with help from Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, and the others, achieved its initial goals:
    1. Getting rid of an independent and nationalist leader of Iraq, in this case named Saddam Hussein.
    2. Outlawing the organized Baath Party, the political structure of Iraq.
    3. Disbanding the Iraqi Army, which served the Baath party and Saddam Hussein.
    Iran and Israel, in order to get their hands into Iraq, had get those three things done.
    Mission accomplished.
    Was the mission accomplished by Iran and Israel spending billions of their money and sacrificing thousands of dead and wounded?
    Some other country did it for them, and suffered and continues to suffer those terrible costs.
    That country is the U.S., as in us.
    Just ask General Jay Garner, the original and brief head of the occupation, if the United States achieved its initial goals in Iraq.
    The U.S. could have accomplished its goals after the invasion, however predatory and imperialistic they were, with the Baath Party and the Iraqi Army mostly in place. But not Iran and Israel.
    In my humble opinion, Chalabi did not fool the neocons, nor did the neocons fool Chalabi. They were running in parallel.
    Mr. Sale quotes Vince Cannistraro as saying that “Chalabi was working for Iran, and Iran took us to breakfast, lunch, and dinner”.
    Saying this is not pleasant, but that quote should be revised to read, “Chalabi was working for Iran, and Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, and their group were working for Israel, and Iran and Israel took us to breakfast, lunch, and dinner”.

  32. b says:

    Did Fallon stop an attack on Iran?
    Commander’s Veto Sank Threatening Gulf Buildup

    Admiral William Fallon, then President George W. Bush’s nominee to head the Central Command (CENTCOM), expressed strong opposition in February to an administration plan to increase the number of carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf from two to three and vowed privately there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM, according to sources with access to his thinking.

    Fallon’s refusal to support a further naval buildup in the Gulf reflected his firm opposition to an attack on Iran and an apparent readiness to put his career on the line to prevent it. A source who met privately with Fallon around the time of his confirmation hearing and who insists on anonymity quoted Fallon as saying that an attack on Iran “will not happen on my watch”.
    Asked how he could be sure, the source says, Fallon replied, “You know what choices I have. I’m a professional.” Fallon said that he was not alone, according to the source, adding, “There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box.”

    Best guess, he feared a “Gulf of Tonkin” incident that then would “have to be answered” with three carriers ready.

  33. Eaken says:

    An article from the independent abou Chalbi just published

  34. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Huffington in November 2005, well after the 2004 buzz, and note the level of penetration and contacts including the Establishment’s Council on Foreign Relations:
    “Ahmad Chalabi’s Washington visit hit the top floor today, as he met with Don Rumsfeld in the morning and Dick Cheney in the afternoon.
    No official word on what they discussed — but I got a sneak peek Friday night over the course of a surrealistic four-hour dinner with Chalabi at Megu, a Japanese restaurant in Tribeca.
    As I posted about on Friday, after seeing Chalabi speak at the Council on Foreign Relations (and being denied the chance to ask a question)…He wanted me to know that his meetings were not just with Republicans, but included Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. Tom Lantos, and Dick Holbrooke…”
    At the temple of doom where the VPs wife works, the American Enterprise Institute, in same 2005 swirl:
    Query: What explains this continued level of access to the highest political circles?
    A. Cockburn’s piece is interesting
    As is Jane Meyer’s:
    Chalabi was at the University of Chicago and studied under Albert Wohlstetter (d.1997) as did Wolfie. Query: Anything unusual about Wohlstetter per foreign connections?

  35. W. Patrick Lang says:

    An SST lebowskifest in The Valley… Hmm. An intriguing idea. Do you have a particular place in mind? pl

  36. Matthew says:

    Col: What do you think about this 3-star taking the job as the “war czar”? Does this mean some military guy is going to voluntarily play the fall guy for Bush? For us non-military types, please tell us how many tall poppies Bush had to jump over to find this guy.

  37. Jerry Kosovich says:

    Patrick Cockburn has posted a recent interview with Chalabi at that you may find interesting.

  38. Grimgrin says:

    A couple of examples for those people wondering where the media coverage was.
    A CNN article on Chalabis passing classified info to Iran.
    The New York Times reporting that Chalabi told the Iranians that their codes had been broken.
    The coverage was there, even before the election.
    Actually going back over the NYT article, this kind of stuck out…

    According to American officials, the Iranian official in Baghdad, possibly not believing Mr. Chalabi’s account, sent a cable to Tehran detailing his conversation with Mr. Chalabi, using the broken code. That encrypted cable, intercepted and read by the United States, tipped off American officials to the fact that Mr. Chalabi had betrayed the code-breaking operation, the American officials said.

    Makes me wonder if the Iranians ever viewed Chalabi as their agent, or just someone they could make use of. At any rate, they either weren’t worried about burning him, or didn’t trust what he told them.

  39. ckrantz says:

    I still find Arras Karim more interesting than Chalabi as the head of INC intelligence with his direct line to Michael Rubin and Harold Rhode at the OSP. The next stop was the VP office.
    Arras Karim was the guy whose cousin FBI wanted kicked out of the US in 98 for being a relative of a know Iranian spy. A few year later the ‘known Iranian spy’ delivers intelligence and defectors to the OSP and the VPs office. Rubin and Rhodes who also ends up on the FBI short list of suspected leakers of the information Chalabi is supposed to have give to the Iranians.
    If Karim was considered a spy in 98 who cleared him in 01? Or why was INC allowed to set up its own intelligence operation in Baghdad after the invasion? Incompetence or a Iranian dubbel-cross? If you consider the Leeden meeting in Rome with Italian intelligence and Iranian representatives you at least have the makings for a good conspiracy thriller. Or a counter-espionage investigation.

  40. ckrantz says:

    By the way this counterpunch piece makes for an interesting read. And some hard questions for the ex-cia folks. How come this wasn’t known to INR? Assuming Bob Baer can be considered reliable.
    ‘By the end of 1991, Chalabi was deep in business with the CIA, following up on an opportunity he had scented early on. “The United States is prepared to allocate substantial sums for the Iraqi opposition,” he confided to an opposition activist soon after the 1991 war. “We should go for that money.” The Langley spooks liked what they saw in him – his efficiency, his readiness to tell interlocutors what they wanted to hear, not to mention the source of his cash. The presumption that Chalabi’s activities were funded by money embezzled from the Petra bank ensured that few initially suspected his true sponsor: the CIA. (Chalabi has always maintained that the charges brought against him in relation to the Petra bank affair were politically motivated.) His new handlers showed no sign of being bothered about his links to Iran, not even after he moved to the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan in 1992 and recruited a Shia Kurd named Arras Karim Habib to organise his security and intelligence.
    “Arras was brought up in Iran. He was always an Iranian agent,” insists a fellow veteran of those days in the mountains, “a double agent really, for both the Iranians and the Americans, but always for the Iranians first.” “The CIA knew that Arras was an Iranian agent from the early 90s,” says Bob Baer, a longtime covert operator who, for a period in the mid 1990s, was the senior CIA official posted to northern Iraq. ‘

  41. johnieB says:

    Col. Lang,
    thank you for the compliment. I have not followed public affairs closely for many years, and feel very much as if I’m shooting the rapids here: exhilarating but scary.

  42. Cold War Zoomie says:

    From the NYT article Grimgrin linked to:
    “It could not be learned exactly how the United States broke the code.”
    Maybe the old-fashioned way using brute force computing.
    I’m sure most of you folks already know about this book (and some of you might actually be in it!). For the minority who might not, this is a good read about the brute force computing days:
    Lots of us read it in our shop in the late 1980s. It’s not perfect by any means, but there were definitely times when we all asked ourselves “how in the Hell did he get *that* bit of info?”

  43. jamzo says:

    current reporting on chalabi
    “At this stage Mr Chalabi sees a US withdrawal as something that will be a function of US politics and not what is happening in Iraq. Essentially he sees the US and Britain as having unwittingly committed a revolutionary act in the Middle East by overthrowing Saddam Hussein. “The US found that it had dismantled the cornerstone of the Arab security order.”
    An Interview with the Man Whose Lies Provided the Pretext for War
    Chalabi Speaks
    by Patrick Cockburn
    an Irish journalist who has been a Middle East orrespondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and the Independent . Among the most experienced commentators on Iraq, he was one of the few journalists to remain in Baghdad during the first Gulf War. He is based in [Iraq] as a correspondent for the Independent, and has been filing reports on the war in Iraq. He was the winner of the Martha Gelhorn Prize in 2005 and the James Cameron Prize in 2006 … the author of ‘The Occupation: War, resistance and daily life in Iraq’, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for best non-fiction book of 2006

  44. taters says:

    With no disrespect for any of my fellow posters/readers intended…
    Counterpunch has made some pretty stunning and I’ll say – factually incorrect accusations such as blaming the US Army for Waco. That alone makes it difficult for me to read it. Just my two cents.
    As far as Iran benefitting from the US in Iraq, I won’t comment on the most obvious – Saddam deposed, a Shia majority in charge, their army destroyed, etc.
    How about the fact that their intelligence has a had a ringside seat to watch us since 2003? Obviously I defer to those that are professional in these matters but it seems to me it’s much easier for an Iranian to ‘mingle’ in Iraq than for a an American to do the same in Iran.
    Cold War Zoomie, thanks for the link.

  45. Charles says:

    Counterpunch is made up of many contributors, as is this discussion. Admittedly, its got an anti-authoritarian body of contributors, but
    every thing is in the read, as discussed above. There are pearls everywhere – but you have to hold your breath and dive in to even test the waters, let alone FIND the pearls. One must accept being stunned by the sheer volume of flotsam and jetsam commensurate with a sinking ship of state on a regular basis. Every day lately, if you read the WaPo.
    Here’s my whole universal filter decoder ring on everything we discuss: All actors do ultimately incompetently the very opposite of what they say originally so eloquently.
    But one needs hindsight, insight and a plethora of sources to develop even the murkiest sense of what has transpired. Its even harder when everything has to be parsed into Arabic and then back into English by Google for our edification. Swim the Atlantic indeed!
    This site, as is Counterpunch, I contend, batting three for three in the making sense of the insensible department.
    Cold War Zombie:
    An updated edition of Bamford’s The Puzzle Palace was released as recently as 2004, I believe, and it had a lot of fascinating new material.

  46. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Iran also benefited from the collapse of the Soviet Union but I do not see them having lifted a finger to help accomplish that.

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