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  • US Raid Chalabi's Headquarters

    Source

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. troops raided a house used by Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi and searched his party offices in Baghdad on Thursday, piling pressure on the former Pentagon favorite now increasingly shunned by Washington.

    Squads of soldiers, backed by Iraqi police, sealed off the neighborhood around the headquarters of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) and a nearby house used by Chalabi for meeting officials, removing computers, files and other equipment.

    INC spokesman Haider Moussawi said the troops also wanted to arrest two party members but were told by Chalabi they were not present. Chalabi, who returned from exile after the fall of Saddam Hussein as a potential future leader, was not detained.

    "They have been putting political pressure on us for weeks. It's part of an attempted character assassination and it's politically motivated, but it won't work," Moussawi said.

    "When someone stands up independently and puts his views firmly it appears the Americans don't like it, it scares them."

    Moussawi said he did not know what the raid was related to, but called it a worrying development. "They think they can do whatever they want. They didn't even have a warrant."

    U.S. officials said on Tuesday the Pentagon had cut off some $340,000 a month in funding to Chalabi's INC party, payments that were made in part for intelligence gathered by the INC.

    Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said the decision "was made in light of the process of transferring sovereignty to the Iraqi people."

    "We felt it was no longer appropriate for us to continue funding in that fashion," he told a U.S. Senate hearing.

    "There's been some very valuable intelligence that's been gathered through that process that's been very valuable for our forces. But we will seek to obtain that in the future through normal intelligence channels."

    U.S. officials have said they had doubts about the intelligence the INC provided and about whether Chalabi was motivated chiefly by a desire for power.

    An exile who lived abroad for more than four decades, Chalabi was convicted in absentia of bank fraud in 1992 by a military court in Jordan, where he had founded a bank that failed. He says the charges were politically motivated.

    The Pentagon flew him into Iraq with a group of followers after the U.S.-led invasion last year, giving him an opportunity to establish a political base.

    But he has struggled to drum up support and surveys in Iraq have ranked him as one of the least-liked politicians.

    Chalabi has many critics elsewhere in the U.S. government, notably at the CIA, which suspected his group may have been penetrated by Saddam's agents before the war and which questioned the intelligence information it provided.

    The State Department also had its doubts and resented the Pentagon's support for Chalabi. State Department officials questioned whether he could emerge as a national leader.

    In its prewar role, Chalabi's INC directed Iraqi defectors to the U.S. government to provide intelligence that critics now say was largely spun to prod the United States into taking action against Baghdad.

    U.S. officials said in February an Iraqi who was the source for Washington's prewar claim that Iraq had mobile biological weapons labs had fabricated the allegation. The man was introduced to U.S. intelligence by Chalabi's group.

    No stockpiles of banned or unconventional weapons have been found in Iraq.


    Observation:

    While Chalabi might be unpopular in Iraq, he was promoted by the United States both domestically and globally. The raid, whether justified or not, furthers growing concerns that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating, and brings into question the wisdom of maintaining the June 30th handover (or whatever you want to call it.)
    "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

  • #2
    Do you think it is a tactic to distance themselves from Chalabi? Something like this might be used by Chalabi to prove he is not a puppet. Wonder if it increases his support from the people and the clerics. Or do you think they just want him totally out of the picture because he has been a bad boy?
    Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Temujin
      Do you think it is a tactic to distance themselves from Chalabi? Something like this might be used by Chalabi to prove he is not a puppet. Wonder if it increases his support from the people and the clerics. Or do you think they just want him totally out of the picture because he has been a bad boy?
      It is very possible the Pentagon just got tired of Chalabi. There have been a number of reports in recent months linking him to corruption, spying, and misuse of sensitive Baathist Party records. Chalabi's office was suspected of leaking the names of hundreds international businessmen, companies, and politicians that likely dealt illegally with the Baathist Party back in January. More recently, his INC party has been accussed of spying for the Iranians, negotiating contracts to INC-affiliated companies, and re-circulating old currency that was suppose to be destroyed.

      The raid came one day after Bush announced he had authorized Secretary of State Powell to begin work on a new resolution at the UN. It is possible the Bush Administration is looking for leverage against nations that might complicate that effort. If Chalabi does have the records of Baathist Party financial dealings with the international community, it could really shine alot more attention on the ongoing food-for-oil investigation.

      Chalabi had been more vocal in his objections to some of the US policies in Iraq. I recall sitting in on an online-chat with him. He made it clear Iraq would be an Islamic State. After the war though, the State Department announced thirteen points for a new government in Iraq. None mentioned Iraq as an Islamic state. Now he's claiming the raid was motivated by his objections.

      I don't think any of this helps Chalabi. He is a very intelligent politician. However, he is out of touch with the Iraqi people. He compounded this by refusing to really mingle with the population like a good politician should. His popularity deteriorated steadily. I don't see this innocent as doing much to improve that.

      What the raid will do is reinforce the appearance that the operation is falling apart. Chalabi was built up in the American press. Removing him is unlikely to build confidence we are on the right track. It could also complicate the US relationship with the Provisional Government. If members believe Chalabi was attacked because he objected to some suggestions made by the US, it could degrade support within and outside the organization. It might also make the remaining members appear even more like puppets.
      "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

      Comment


      • #4
        This direct manipulation by (money giving then money cutting) doesnot help to show US involvement in Iraq as democracy building. I bet every Arab country will see Iraq as US puppet country until it will become anti-American, so don't expect high influence of democracy in other Arab country...

        Edit:
        Actually, I agree with the dropping of Chalabi, keeping him would not help, dropping him either, so I prefer dropping...
        a brain cell

        Comment


        • #5
          I believe the raid was STAGED by the C.P.A to give Chalabi some legitimacy with the Iraqi people.
          Unite your forces in space & time, split the enemy forces spatially & defeat them at different times - Rommel

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Alkiviadis
            I believe the raid was STAGED by the C.P.A to give Chalabi some legitimacy with the Iraqi people.
            CPA?
            Not lip service, nor obsequious homage to superiors, nor servile observance of forms and customs...the Australian army is proof that individualism is the best and not the worst foundation upon which to build up collective discipline - General Monash

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Temujin
              CPA?
              Coalition Provisional Authority.
              "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

              Comment


              • #8
                http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniont...e18ghitis.html
                http://www.washtimes.com/world/20040...2646-3420r.htm

                Ive been wondering if the situation in Iraq has really reached the point of no return or if the insurgency has just stolen the media limelight and given us the impression that everything's turned to ****. The impression is generally that almost ALL Iraqi's are opposed to the coalition, but does anyone know for sure if that's the case. Polls are only an indication after all, and does anyone trust the media.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sharpe
                  Ive been wondering if the situation in Iraq has really reached the point of no return or if the insurgency has just stolen the media limelight and given us the impression that everything's turned to ****. The impression is generally that almost ALL Iraqi's are opposed to the coalition, but does anyone know for sure if that's the case. Polls are only an indication after all, and does anyone trust the media.
                  Not from the people I receive email from on a daily basis. The majority of officers I have contact with say the situation is getting better almost daily. I do have an NCO friend that believes the situation is worsening, however, he sees this happening because the US has been too "soft" in its approach. So I'm not sure his opinion would fit in with what you're talking about.

                  I don't know a single person on the ground in Iraq who believes the situation is getting worse overall. They email me all the time wondering why the hell they are seeing all this stuff in the papers. In many areas soldiers are now moving about in much smaller and more lightly armed convoys than when I was there. The Abu Gharib incident was a concern to them for a while, but to most soldiers that's old news and they have already moved on to to other things. The media, of course, will keep hammering away at that as long as they possibly can because its the best tool they have found so far to attack the administration.

                  The leftist media in America is hysterical as usual. The soldiers and marines are continuing to do their duty as usual. Same old same old.
                  Editor-in-Chief
                  GameSquad.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Don Maddox
                    Not from the people I receive email from on a daily basis. The majority of officers I have contact with say the situation is getting better almost daily. I do have an NCO friend that believes the situation is worsening, however, he sees this happening because the US has been too "soft" in its approach. So I'm not sure his opinion would fit in with what you're talking about.

                    I don't know a single person on the ground in Iraq who believes the situation is getting worse overall. They email me all the time wondering why the hell they are seeing all this stuff in the papers. In many areas soldiers are now moving about in much smaller and more lightly armed convoys than when I was there. The Abu Gharib incident was a concern to them for a while, but to most soldiers that's old news and they have already moved on to to other things. The media, of course, will keep hammering away at that as long as they possibly can because its the best tool they have found so far to attack the administration.

                    The leftist media in America is hysterical as usual. The soldiers and marines are continuing to do their duty as usual. Same old same old.
                    I'm not sure that would apply to the ABC(Aus) or the BBC(UK)though, particularly in Australia where the gov't hasn't been seriously challenged. The pattern seems to chase the action and scandal/drama stories like any good tabloid. I wonder if it's more to do with syndication issues( ie what sources they're paying for their stories--CNN or AL Jazeera). Similar footage gets used by all of our stations here. I'm amazed that it hasn't become priority No 1 to get the real story out.
                    Last edited by Sharpe; 21 May 04, 19:46. Reason: ****

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Interesting twist on things.

                      http://www.news24.com/News24/World/I...532111,00.html

                      'Iran had us for breakfast'
                      25/05/2004 09:43 - (SA)

                      London - US officials suspect Iran duped the United States into invading Iraq by slipping bogus intelligence to Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC), The Guardian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

                      "Some intelligence officials now believe that Iran used the hawks in the Pentagon and the White House to get rid of a hostile neighbour and pave the way for a Shia-ruled Iraq," it said in a front-page dispatch from Washington.

                      Quoting a US intelligence official, whom it did not name, The Guardian said Chalabi's intelligence chief, Ara Kariim Habibi, had been a paid Iranian agent for several years, "passing intelligence in both directions".

                      "It's pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and dinner," it quoted an intelligence source in Washington as saying. "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through Chalabi."

                      A US official said on Friday the United States is investigating evidence Chalabi gave sensitive information to Tehran, after authorities last week raided INC offices and Chalabi's home in Baghdad, seizing documents, computers, personal belongings and weapons.

                      Chalabi, whose INC was a Pentagon favourite and a prime source for intelligence about Saddam Hussein's regime, strongly denied in weekend media interviews that he passed sensitive US secrets to Tehran.
                      "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

                      – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Don Maddox
                        Not from the people I receive email from on a daily basis. The majority of officers I have contact with say the situation is getting better almost daily. I do have an NCO friend that believes the situation is worsening, however, he sees this happening because the US has been too "soft" in its approach. So I'm not sure his opinion would fit in with what you're talking about.

                        I don't know a single person on the ground in Iraq who believes the situation is getting worse overall. They email me all the time wondering why the hell they are seeing all this stuff in the papers. In many areas soldiers are now moving about in much smaller and more lightly armed convoys than when I was there. The Abu Gharib incident was a concern to them for a while, but to most soldiers that's old news and they have already moved on to to other things. The media, of course, will keep hammering away at that as long as they possibly can because its the best tool they have found so far to attack the administration.

                        The leftist media in America is hysterical as usual. The soldiers and marines are continuing to do their duty as usual. Same old same old.
                        I have information on the Hungarian contingent and some civil security people, and the situation just not turned to better as I heard them.
                        a brain cell

                        Comment

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