WHEN WE SAID FREEDOM AND SELF-DETERMINATION, WE MEANT "FREEDOM," AND "SELF-DETERMINATION" -- YOU KNOW, IN IRONIC AIR QUOTES
The CIA has so far refused to hand over control of Iraq's intelligence service to the newly elected Iraqi government in a turf war that exposes serious doubts the Bush administration has over the ability of Iraqi leaders to fight the insurgency and worries about the new government's close ties to Iran.
The director of Iraq's secret police, a general who took part in a failed coup attempt against Saddam Hussein, was handpicked and funded by the U.S. government, and he still reports directly to the CIA, Iraqi politicians and intelligence officials in Baghdad said last week. Immediately after the elections in January, several Iraqi officials said, U.S. forces stashed the sensitive national intelligence archives of the past year inside American headquarters in Baghdad in order to keep them off-limits to the new government.
Iraqi leaders complain that the arrangement violates their sovereignty...
Gosh, I can't imagine why.
The story goes on to say that there are now three intelligence agencies in the Iraqi government: one each in the interior and defense ministries (both run by U.S.-friendly Kurds), and then
the third and most important Iraqi intelligence agency, the secret police force known by its Arabic name: the Mukhabarat. Its Iraqi director is Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, a Sunni general whose three sons were executed by Saddam in retaliation for his involvement in a botched, CIA-backed coup attempt in the mid-1990s....
Unlike the defense and interior ministries, there is no provision in the Iraqi government's budget for the secret police. The Mukhabarat's money comes straight from the CIA.
Several Shiite politicians in the new government want Shahwani out, saying the Mukhabarat's ranks are filled with Saddam's former officers...
Meanwhile, one guy who was accused of being an Iranian agent seems to be just fine in America's book: Ahmed Chalabi, who, Time magazine notes, received congratulatory calls from Condi Riceand Dick Cheney last week when it was announced that he'd been appointed a deputy prime minister and interim oil minister.
Chalabi lost the latter position, but he still has the former, and the Iraqi government is helping him with a nasty bit of business:
Iraq's new president has asked Jordan's king to help resolve a fraud conviction that has long hung over Ahmad Chalabi, the one-time Pentagon favorite who is now a deputy prime minister in Iraq....
Chalabi, who was appointed a deputy prime minister in the Iraqi government that took office a week ago, was convicted in absentia in 1992 by a Jordanian military court of embezzlement, fraud and breach of trust after a bank he ran collapsed with about $300 million in missing deposits....
It sure is nice to have friends in high places.