I am in the midst of reading a book that is blowing my mind away [review later]. As a historian, I am trained to eschew the individual-centered approach to history - to focus, instead, on processes and ideas. However, the book and the scandal swiveling around Ahmad Chalabi are a keen reminder of the role played by individuals as both instruments of change and inertia.
Ahmad Chalabi is a '69 Mathematics PhD from UChicago [where he studied with Albert Wohlstetter], a founder of Petra Bank in Jordan accused of swindling $200 millions from the Jordanians [he escaped in the trunk of a palace limo], a man who sold Iraqi resistance to a wide-eyed Congress in 1998 and got hundreds of millions to fund it, and an installed President of the Iraqi Governing Council widely thought to be elected first President of Iraq [without any popular support]. And now, on Paul Bremer's shit list.
So, how did Mr. Chalabi do all that? He was the right man at the right moment with the right pipe-dream. To Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Doug Feith, sweating the Dark Ages during the Clinton Years, he was a former classmate who could deliver Iraq to them. So they latched on to him with a religious fervor, knowing that he will point to the WMDs. Sure that he had the inside scoop on Iraqi Freedom Fighters. In the post-war, they knew he can be trusted to lead Iraq as the First Democracy while remaining true to the First Empire. As Bernard Lewis, the current intellectual fountainhead for the neo-cons, wrote in a WSJ editorial in 2003, he is the only hope for Iraq.
Ahmad Chalabi is a Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy for Iran, says the US now. Surely, this "accusation" comes from ComCent. Is it a squeeze? Was he about to go public with some WMD after being shoved aside for U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi? I am inclined to think that this is a pre-emptive strike to discredit him and cast his "revelations" as a disgruntled ex-employee.
The question is, When Will he Sing?
He is headed back to Washington to confront his "critics". He will have some words for Dick Cheney's ears. And, once he realizes that his con is truly up, he will start the endgame: a 60 Minutes Special...
update: CIA is spreading the word that Chalabi was an Iranian agent who used US to bring Shi'a rule in Iraq. The Great Satan a tool? BadaBing! [thanks moacir]
update 2:Oh. this will get pretty soon...from newsweek: