Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Officials within the alliance [United Iraqi Alliance] said Chalabi was now expected to take over a senior ministry - possibly defense or finance.

--AP today

Well, there it is. Swell, huh?


Oh, and according to Eli Lake in The New York Sun, Chalabi's still saying he had the votes to win:

"Ahmad Chalabi had to withdraw his nomination for the prime minister to save the alliance's unity, in spite of the fact that he had the majority of votes," Mr. Qanbar [Entifadh Qanbar, Chalabi's spokesman] said.


Juan Cole, citing this New York Times article, writes today:

Current Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi told the NYT on Tuesday that he had heard that Iran had lobbied its Iraqi allies against allowing him to continue as prime minister. Allawi professes puzzlement at this stance. Uh, Iyad, it might be because you let your defense minister, Hazem Shaalan, say that Iran is Iraq's number one enemy! You could see how a thing like that might annoy Tehran a little bit. Not that Iran really has a veto-- pretending that it does may be an attempt to smear the United Iraqi Alliance as themselves puppets of Iran.

In fact, that seems to be precisely what Eli Lake says in his Sun article -- that Iran has a veto:

Mr. Chalabi's announcement of his withdrawal followed a meeting on Monday with the Iranian ambassador. Mr. Chalabi's spokesman, Entifadh Qanbar, described the meeting as "friendly." Other sources close to Mr. Chalabi's campaign said that during the meeting, the Iranians made it clear they preferred Mr. Jafari for the top post.

Lake continues:

Mr. Chalabi has recently distanced himself from Iran. In December he gave a press conference in which he said the Iraqi government would not emulate the Iranian style of political system that grants clerics unaccountable political authority. Mr. Jafari has also said that Iraq will not emulate Iran's system, though his aides have recently hinted that new laws should be vetted for their adherence to the Koran.

Is Chalabi, accused last year of doing spy work for Iran, now telling us (using Eli Lake as his mouthpiece) that he's the guy who can save Iraq from the Iranian menace ... if not now, then eventually?

No comments: