Dreyfuss on Chalabi

Neocon Lets Cat Out of Bag
19 May 2004, Robert Dreyfuss, TomPaine.com

Michael Rubin-- a young staffer at the American Enterprise Institute who's just left the Pentagon, where he played a small role as a neocon cog in the Office of Special Plans war machine-- let a herd of cats out of the bag about his favorite Iraqi phony, Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress.

Chalabi, of course, is the roly-poly perpetrator of intelligence fraud and the convicted bank embezzler who still hopes to be leader of Iraq. Lately, Chalabi has scuttled into a would-be alliance with Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the scowly fatwa man. In doing so, he's had the temerity to criticize the United States, leading some fuzzy thinkers to believe that Chalabi, whose puppet strings are made of steel, might be trying to show some independence from Washington. Well, says Rubin, who served as one the Pentagon's liaisons to Chalabi, that's exactly what they want you to think:

'Much of the information he collected was to roll up the insurgency and Ba'athist cells. It caught people red-handed,' said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser who is now at a conservative think-tank, the American Enterprise Institute. 'By telegraphing that he is not the favorite son of America, the administration will bolster him, showing he is his own man.'

In other words, it's all a big con game. The still-neocon-dominated Pentagon-- which this week stopped funding Chalabi's INC-- is playing its last card, hoping that it can boost Chalabi's sagging fortunes by pretending to sever ties with him. That, the neocons hope, will allow Chalabi to strengthen his ties to Sistani, the king-making mullah who, they hope, holds Iraq's fate in his wrinkled hands.

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