Geez. Last week we (finally) cut off the $340,000 a month we were paying Ahmed Chalabi for his notoriously inaccurate "intelligence." Today we raided his home (free New York Times site registration may be required). I guess we really don't like him anymore. And to think, this is the guy who just a few months ago we were ready to install as the ruler of the New Iraq.
It's easy enough to understand why your average Pentagon neocon might be a little upset with their sock puppet. Despite paying him more than $27 million over the years – much of which he's been unable to account for – Chalabi's predicted shower-of-flowers liberation scenario went AWOL; his information on the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction was bogus; Iraq hasn't recognized Israel or shipped it the oil he promised; and lately Chalabi has been edging ever-closer to Iran's mullahs, with whom he has long had contact. As piece notes, Chalabi's only loyalty is to himself.
Of course, as so often in the New Iraq, there may be more going on here than meets the eye.
Here is just a taste of what's being said:
-- Since the U.S. no longer plans to hand attempt to hand Iraq over to him, an enraged Chalabi was planning a coup against the government we're scheduled to install June 30! (You need to click through an ad at Salon to read it all.)
-- Ahmed actually still is the neocons' man and the raid was staged to boost his popularity with Iraqis in an attempt to make him more palatable when we do install him. If you're against us you must be a good guy, even if your name is Chalabi, according to this theory.
-- Our viceroy in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, is seriously at odds with Chalabi over how to proceed with investigation of the UN "oil for food" scandal and took out his discontent in this raid. Saddam reportedly funneled billions of dollars to people in several countries in exchange for their turning a blind eye to his import of items forbidden under UN sanctions.
It's all pretty hilarious unless you actually think about it.