Sunday, November 06, 2005

I'd almost take comfort in the opening paragraphs of this story, if they weren't contradicted elsewhere -- for instance, in the later paragraphs of the same story:

Chalabi, in Tehran, Meets With Iranian President Before Traveling to U.S. Next Week

Ahmad Chalabi, the former Iraqi exile who has become a deputy prime minister, met with senior Iranian leaders here on Saturday in what appeared to be an effort to distance himself from their Islamist government, just days before he visits Washington.

In a series of closed meetings, including one with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, Mr. Chalabi said he had spoken to the Iranians about Iranian interference in Iraq's domestic politics, a move likely to endear him to the Bush administration.

... "The principal reason is to tell them about our concern about some of the activities in Iraq," Mr. Chalabi said of the Iranians....

Chalabi distancing himself from Iran? Chalabi demanding less Iranian influence on Iraqi affairs? Yeah, right:

In an interview after his meeting with Iranian leaders, Mr. Chalabi said he had secured a promise that they would not oppose him if he made a run at becoming Iraq's prime minister. "Clearly I am not going to be a candidate for prime minister because they tell me to," Mr. Chalabi said of the Iranians. "They certainly expressed support for the idea that if the process is done locally, then they would not oppose it."

It was impossible to verify that assertion, but in an interview, Ali Larijani, the secretary of Iran's national security council and one of the senior officials who met with Mr. Chalabi, said Iranian leaders held him in high regard. "He is a very wise man and a very useful person for the future of Iraq," Mr. [Ali] Larijani [of the Iranian National Security Council] said.

For their part, Iranian leaders said that they were indeed a primary force in internal Iraqi politics, and that would continue to be.

... "America should consider this power as legitimate," Mr. Larijani said of his country's role in Iraqi affairs. "They should not fight it."

So Chalabi meets with Iranian leaders, including the guy who said Israel should be wiped off the map, and even though he claims he issued a stern warning about interference in Iraqi affair, everyone's all smiles. Then he's headed to Washington to meet with our secretary of state, national security advisor, and treasury secretary, and again everyone will be all smiles.


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