Saturday, December 17, 2005

I seem to have missed the fact that Ahmad Chalabi's daughter Tamara had an online diary in Slate this week. "Tamara Chalabi is an author," Slate helpfully informs us, relegating any mention of her famous father to the third sentence of her author bio, and it's clear that the many, many influential people in her circle would agree that she got the diary published strictly on its merits. The New York Observer tells us about some of those people:

As of this week, the pundit class has a new and well-connected member: Tamara Chalabi, the daughter of Iraq's deputy prime minister, Ahmad Chalabi.

Ms. Chalabi, fresh off a Harvard Ph.D. in history, has a book due out next month,
The Shi'is of Jabal 'Amil and the New Lebanon, from Palgrave Macmillan. On Dec. 12, Slate began publishing a daily diary of her reports on her father's campaign for prime minister.

Besides her family ties, Ms. Chalabi has some powerful help on the launching pad. Washington uber-hostess Juleanna Glover Weiss, a registered lobbyist at the Ashcroft Group and a former spokeswoman for Vice President Dick Cheney, has set out to introduce Ms. Chalabi to editors.

Ms. Glover Weiss -- whose soirees draw media and political figures from Campbell Brown to Paul Wolfowitz -- met with Ms. Chalabi two weeks ago at a Caribou Coffee in downtown D.C. The get-together was the suggestion of mutual friends at Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, the lobbying firm that employs Jeffrey Weiss, Ms. Glover Weiss' husband.

Mr. Weiss currently represents Mr. Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress.

Since the meeting, staffers at
The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Hotline have received entreaties from Ms. Glover Weiss on her new protegee's behalf.

Ms. Glover Weiss said the advisory arrangement is informal, and that Ms. Chalabi isn't paying for her networking services.

"She clearly has a strong academic background and has interesting things to say about the role of religion in Middle Eastern society," Ms. Glover Weiss said by phone on Dec. 13. "I was happy to help her get to know folks."

On Nov. 15, Ms. Chalabi's father attended a party that the couple hosted for Entifadh Qanbar, the deputy military attache to the Iraqi Embassy, at their $1.5 million Washington home; other guests included Richard Perle, former C.I.A. director James Woolsey and Christopher Hitchens.

Ms. Glover Weiss said she had not read the
Slate diary and had not contacted editors at the online magazine.

If I were a paranoid liberal, I'd say that this collection of boldface names was the true axis of evil, the real cabal, the Octopus. I'd say that their collaboration -- on this and, er, other matters -- was rather sinister. But I'm not one of those silly moonbats. I'm sure Tamara's pulling herself up strictly by her own bootstraps, and all this socializing is just a testament to her pluck. And I'm sure her intricately interwoven circle of new friends are just convivial ladies and gents who merely enjoy one another's company.

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