Monday, October 03, 2005

Chalabi

A really astonishing piece on Chalabi last night on 60 Minutes. It's incredible how this son of a bitch keeps landing on his feet. He obviously has plans to end up as dictator of Iraq, and he's willing to play all sides to do it.

Chalabi then went about his comeback methodically, identifying centers of power and then either aligning himself, ingratiating himself or insinuating himself.

As he did when — just days after the raid on his home and office — he traveled to Najaf to meet with Moqtada al-Sadr, the charismatic young rebel cleric whose militia was battling U.S. forces.

He knew this was dangerous. “We didn’t know whether we were going to be shot at by Moqtada’s people or by the Americans,” he said.

Chalabi, a Shiite like al-Sadr, helped negotiate a ceasefire but then infuriated the Americans by championing al-Sadr’s cause.

Some Americans were shocked when Chalabi aligned himself with al-Sadr, who had encouraged his followers to attack U.S. soldiers.

“I wanted to avert a full-scale battle between the Sadarists, who are all over Iraq, and American forces,” Chalabi said.

Chalabi says one of his greatest achievements was persuading al-Sadr and his followers to give up their weapons and turn to politics. “They are not a threat to American forces now, and you cannot imagine the situation if there is an insurgency in all the south now,” Chalabi said. “It will be a disaster.”

Stahl asked Chalabi about criticisms that he courted al-Sadr because he was just “looking for votes.”

“You know, (critics) use the word ‘opportunist,’” Stahl said.

“Oh yes. Well, the issue is, of course, they are wrong. Opportunism here doesn’t enter into it,” Chalabi replied.

Dear me, no.

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