The Chalabi saga continues. Let’s start with this item: “Supporters [of Chalabi] had brought 11 sheep to Chalabi’s home in an affluent Baghdad neighborhood for a ritual slaughter to welcome him,” reports the Washington Post. (Eleven sheep? Is that some time-honored Chalabi family ritual?) Anyway—yes, Ahmed Chalabi is back in Iraq, facing arrest and hinting at an alliance with besieged Shiite kook Muqtada Sadr, whose sheep are truly being slaughtered—in a cemetery, no less, in Najaf —by U.S. forces. Let’s look at this tangle.
For months the troubled Chalabi has been tenacious in seeking an alliance with radical Shiites. Now, according to the New York Times, a Chalabi spokesman says that Chalabi and Sadr are “not that close. Yet.” Yet? Meanwhile, as U.S. forces are launching what they seem happy to call the “final assault” on Najaf to wipe out Sadr’s Mahdi Army, the Post’s Jim Hoagland—who always channels Richard Perle and the neocons—comes close to saying that the United States ought to let Sadr off the hook and concentrate on fighting the Baath Party! Read :
Baathist killers and Wahhabi terrorists go unarrested, unprosecuted and unchallenged in the streets of Fallujah, Ramadi, and Sunni sections of Baghdad. At the the same time, the ragtag Shiite militia of Moqtada Sadr triggers an all-out assault in Najaf that risks damaging some of the holiest shrines of the Shiite branch of Islam, for small strategic gain.
Of course, Hoagland, Perle (who’s out defending Chalabi) and Chalabi himself are all accusing the Baath Party of being in cahoots with Paul Bremer, in a conspiracy theory. (Hoagland, interestingly, says that he has “known and written about” Chalabi for 30 years, meaning since the mid-1970s.) Hoagland also pooh-poohs the idea that Iran might have a hand in the unrest in Iraq, attacking Bremer as a “man quick to see a hidden Iranian hand in Iraq’s problems.”
But the neocons, Israel and their allies have had their own hidden hand in Iran. Israel armed Khomeini’s regime for a decade during the 1980s, and Israel and the neocons pushed President Reagan into the idiotic alliance with Iran that became Iran-contra. And now they are pushing a new Iran-Chalabi-Sadr axis. Talk about bedfellows.
Meanwhile, according to the Times, Chalabi is aggressively pledging to defend Sadr :
In an appeal to poor Shiites, [Chalabi’s] staff printed posters with his face and the words, "We'll be back to stop the massacre at Najaf," the city where the rebel Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr has been under siege by American and Iraqi forces since last week.