Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Chalabi Didn't Want to Play

No telling what this means just yet, but Iraq Information Report says:
Iraq – The preparatory meeting in Cairo for the National Reconciliation Conference has confirmed the Arab League’s role in the Iraqi crisis. Iraqi Shiite and Sunni sources agree the meeting has already thrown the door open to dialogue between Iraqi factions, especially between the Sunni factions that support insurgency and the Shiite and Kurdish factions that oppose it. President Jalal Talbani and PM Ibrahim Jaafari played a prominent role in this. Note that SCIRI leader Abdulaziz Hakim did not attend the meeting and Deputy PM Ahmad Chalabi boycotted it.

Chalabi boycotted it? Interesting. One can't help but speculate if that had any connection with his recent goodwill tour of Washington D.C.


  1. I'm sorry, call me a sceptic if you want, but I'm not surprised that Chalabi boycotted it. This is a chance for Iraqi leaders to get together in neutral territory and discuss what they want to happen in their own country--a truly democratic, participatory exercise. Chalabi has a history of trying to work towards a free Iraq, one in which he exercises a heavy hand in the governance, and I am not surprised that he would boycott any forum that wasn't set up with the expectation that his position would be supported and furthered.

    Call me a cynic, but I'm with Biden on my opinion of Chalabi. The viper may be less dangerous than the rabid tiger, but that doesn't mean that you would trust it either.

  2. Sadiq,

    What's your opinion on this?

    He came to Washington last week, talked to Condi and others, and boycotts this conference.

    You think Condi and others told him to stay away? You think they told him to cooperate and he didn't want to? You think they told Chalabi not to go so it wouldn't appear Washington was over-influencing the process?

    Other possibilities?

  3. I'm going to say something I don't often say, so prepare yourself.


    Here it is:

    "I don't know."

    (do you know how hard it is for me to type those words?)

    Seriously, though, I think that any of those hypotheses are more than possible. The main observation that I have of Chalabi is that he is ultimately self serving. I think that he genuinely DOES want Iraq to prosper (and he's patriotic in that respect), but he's going to make sure that his fortunes rise as a result. If that means undermining a good faith effort like the Arab League Summit in order to make sure that he gets to claim the credit for the success of Iraq, I don't think that he's above it. It is clear that he's willing to engage in deception in order to manipulate others into doing what he wants.

    Whether or not the Bush administration had anything to do with his decision is, in my opinion, secondary. He's manipulated the administration before and doesn't seem to hold any real loyalty to the White House. He used them to put himself in a position of authority, and I think that his final evaluation of what to do is wholly dependent upon him retaining or expanding his own power.

    Just my two cents.

  4. Your two cents are worth as much as mine.

    I just find it so maddening that we have no transparency in our government.

    But having been a government servant, I know how that goes.

  5. Jeff, et al,

    If you want some good analysis of the sitch in Iraq, I recommend going to http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/ and checking out what's posted there. He says it better than I ever could.

    And no, this isn't a paid endorsement.

  6. Sadiq,

    IMO, that's a pretty good analysis. I have a few nits to pick with it, but overall, not bad.