Monday, August 27, 2007

Chalabi !

Laura Rozen posts links to old Eli Lake articles in the New York Sun, along with ruminations by his friend Nibras Kazimi, columnist for the same paper, suggesting that in the event of a battle to the bitter end between Prime Minister Maliki and Ayad Allawi, the untimate beneficiary could be--Ahmad Chalabi! Why Chalabi in particular, and not some other candidate? Citing the history of disputes between Allawi and the De-Baathification commission, Rozen puts it this way:
And a usual player in the dispute is the de-Baathification commission's Chalabi, who can only come out the winner from them finishing each other off, as long as everyone has essentially conceded that traditional electoral democracy was overrated anyway, and is contemplating the public relations challenges and strategies for tolerating a possible junta of national salvation.
In other words, if Allawi represents opposition to de-Baathification and fights to a draw with Maliki, the beneficiary could be the proponent of de-Baathification, and Allawi's rival, Chalabi. That seems to be the logic behind Rozen's suggestion.

In a way, it is helpful to be reminded that there is still a struggle going on over the principle of de-Baathification and how it was carried out. But at the same time, it would also be helpful to have been reminded one of the authorities Laura Rozen cites, namely Kazimi, is a partisan advocate in this, because when he was working for Chalabi, he was also "pro-bono adviser for the Higher Commission for De-Baathification, which he helped establish and staff". (See his bio at the Hudson Institute). And Kazimi continues to advocate for more, not less, De-Baathification, for instance in this April 2007 post about a raid on the house of a Sunni parliamentarian:
The implication of this raid, as well as several others of late, is that the security teams of many of the top Sunni lawmakers seem to have been compromised by insurgent infiltrators, either with or without the connivance of those Sunni politicians, many of whom are facing investigations and are likely to have their parliamentary immunity revoked. Such an accumulation of evidence grinds against any logic behind rolling back de-Ba’athification; if anything we need to de-Ba’athify some more.
It was in the same post that Kazimi called for implementation of "the Israeli method" for pacifying what he called the Sunni-heavy suburbs" of Baghdad, writing as follows:
I propose a ‘closed canton’ method for Baghdad’s Sunni-heavy suburbs of Hai al-Jami’a, ‘Amiriya, Jihad, Ghazaliya, Yarmouk, Dora, Khadra’ and ‘Adhamiya, closing each off unto itself. A similar fix should be extended to the rural Sunni satellite towns (the housing clusters) to the north, west and south of Baghdad: Mushahdeh, Khan Dhari, Mahmoudiya, Yusufiya, and ‘Arab Jbour.

This should be done using the Israeli method: fence them with concrete and technology. The Israelis have been building a separating wall between them and the Palestinians over the past two years. It is an expensive solution but not exceedingly prohibitive. According to Iraqi pricing, a 4 meter high and 1.5 concrete wide ‘T-wall’ barrier costs about 1,200 USD. That evens out to 1 million dollars per kilometer of concrete. Motion sensors, night-vision cameras, sniper observation towers and barbed wire would probably cost an additional 250,000 USD per Km. It is doable.
Kazimi continues to post material he thinks would be embarrassing to the opponent of De-Baathification, Allawi or his allies. (See for instance my December 2003 post called "The 2003 generation seems to be planning a comeback). And Laura Rozen's excavation of the old Eli Lake articles are in the same genre. For instance she says a 2006 article about an alleged coup attempt against Maliki had to do with Allawi and his backers, but actually what the informant said was that "Mr Allawi was not behind the coup attempt".

So here's the picture: At a time when there is a feeling of open season for control of the Green Zone, with complete uncertainty what considered or un-considered thing Bush might decide to do, along comes a suggestion: If you are going to throw in the towel on "democracy" and go for a junta, and Allawi is discredited, then why not also consider the rabid De-Baathification and anti-Sunni advocate Chalabi? It's not a serious possibility, to be sure. But why raise it? The Kazimi/Lake connection is clear enough, but Laura Rozen?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't Kazimi openly support Mithal Al-Alusi who is a rival of Chalabi?

12:09 PM  
Blogger badger said...

He does indeed like the Wall St Journal favorite Alusi, who in fact was a colleague of theirs at the De-Baathification Commission. The fact Alusi was thrown out of Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress because of too openly advocating support of Israel was just elementary politics. It doesn't necessarily make him a life-long rival of Chalabi. See this Wiki entry.

2:02 PM  
Blogger badger said...

(A couple of comments with abusive language have been deleted. That's the policy here). --Badger

5:26 PM  

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