Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Did Chalabi Dupe the US into War in Iraq?

This from the Guardian newspaper:

The implications are far-reaching. Mr Chalabi and Mr Habib were the channels for much of the intelligence on Iraqi weapons on which Washington built its case for war.

"It's pretty clear that Iranians had us for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said an intelligence source in Washington yesterday. "Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the US for several years through Chalabi."

Larry Johnson, a former senior counter-terrorist official at the state department, said: "When the story ultimately comes out we'll see that Iran has run one of the most masterful intelligence operations in history. They persuaded the US and Britain to dispose of its greatest enemy."

The Center for Security Policy has a different take on Mr. Chalabi:
Ahmed Chalabi has suddenly become a kind of Arabian piñata, presented to the world as everything from a con-man, felon and liar to the man who singlehandedly duped the U.S. government into invading Iraq on the basis of fraudulent intelligence and promises of a flower-strewn cake-walk. To the extent the Bush Administration is contributing to this transparent effort to find a scapegoat for its increasingly troubled Iraq policy - presumably, in the hope of improving the President’s sagging popularity here at home - it has made not only an epic strategic mistake, but a potentially costly political one, as well.

Is Chalabi a master manipulator and spy or a U.S. ally who was sold down the river? I'd prefer the latter. The idea that the U.S. was tricked by Iran into a war that has cost more than 10,000 lives is very disturbing.