For Iraq, Potential Leader With a Tarnished Past

Ahmad Chalabi, once championed by the Bush administration as a possible leader for Iraq and then pushed aside for faulty depictions of weapons of mass destruction, has re-emerged in talks among the country’s political parties as a contender for prime minister.

Comments: 176

  1. Amad Chalabi Diem.
    Excellent choice.

  2. What's to worry? I'm sure he'll work out as well as Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Augusto Pinochet, Manuel Noriega, and other CIA assets who were put in charge of their respective countries.

  3. Of course, Obama must be pushing him. He just follows Clinton in his appointments like a puppy. Clinton appointed Chalabi as head of the organization to overthrow Saddam, Miller of the Times was his PR person on the pages of this paper, he was the main source on WMD, and Tom Friedman believed him (and wrote in his columns) that Iraq was secular like Chalabi who had not been there for some 40 years. I believe that Clinton, Miller, and Friedman are neo-coms but I am surprised the Times implicitly recognizes it.

  4. Jerry read the article, "At first championed by the Bush administration’s neoconservatives as a potential leader of Iraq". "CurveBall" was a well known Nut who was only listened to by the Bush crowd.

  5. Lie down in the desert, you get up covered with sand flies.

  6. Chalabi was not curveball- curveball was his source that trailers to inflate weather balloons were really WMDs.

  7. Isn't Chalabi the Bush/Cheney long-term plan?

    "His role in promoting what many now view as concocted evidence of weapons of mass destruction under Saddam Hussein badly tarnished him."

  8. Yes. Bush II casts a long shadow. This is not an improvement.

  9. iraq deserves chalabi. good luck. why not bremer?

  10. Bremer fired the entire Iraqi police force and Army within 24 hours of his arrival in Baghdad, stayed for one year, and told jokes after departing about how no one would ever want to go back there in media interviews.

  11. He was the flunkie for Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Stole $Millions from American tax payers, caused Americans to be killed and wounded. Now that he'll be in a leadership position, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfelds secrets will never be known.

    Conservatives, tea people and republicans don't want questions or investigations.

  12. This is the guy who ginned up evidence that Iraq had WMDs, and that Saddam was consorting with bin Laden and devised the disastrous de-Baathification policy that has indirectly led to the rise of ISIS.

    It is a clear sign that the transnational oil companies are in full control of US policy.


  13. His go to guy - curveball- didn't even bring out a second look at this charlatan
    by the CIA. I guess they thought curveball meant something different than
    what he threw them.

  14. Best to leave any of the old players out of this. I remember this Chalabi fellow and his connections to Bush and Cheney. He was in on this road of deception to the war.

  15. The Bush-Cheney gift that keeps on giving -- and taking.

  16. The US should ship over all our Iraqi experts to help Chalabi.
    Like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz and Bremer.

  17. Chalabi, Cheney, Rummy, Wolfowitz: It's a Blues Brothers sequel. Except they're on a mission from Satan. The Great Satan, that is.

  18. Maybe if more of our Bible-Torah-thumping politicians had paid attention to their lessons, our government would be less inclined to jump into bed with every King Nebuchanezer who comes down the pike. Can't wait to see how much of our money they'll be sending this fellow.

  19. I wonder if there is an honest man in their past, present or future. I wonder the same thing about our 21st Century administrations , but the word women would have to be included for America.

    If Chalabi is a "technocrat" as al-Sharifi says, then the word no longer has any meaning. And if Mr. al-Sharifi is President of a "think" tank then think has no meaning, either.

  20. I am pleased to see the focus shift to ISIS and Iraq from Pakistan and Afghanistan how USA is going to destroy this country further. It has been a long time coming. God bless America, bring on Ahmad Chalabi, a new puppet, and the drones to kill off ISIS and please America stay in Iraq and move away from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Thank you ISIS and America.

  21. A fitting end to our involvement in Iraq. We come full circle to the war fraud of the Bush administration and its craftsmen.

  22. Full circle and then some. 750 is new number of troops needed to protect the embassy and roads to and from the airport. That number will increase as the ISIS or ISIL troops near the green zone.

  23. As noted sage Yogi Berra once said, "It's deja vu all over again."

  24. Please. Not this fool. Anyone who knows anything about this disaster remembers exactly who this guy is. What is wrong with this world? Are we condemned to see this play out over and over and over for eternity?

  25. 'Please. Not this fool.' Sends me back to the 2000 election, right here in the good old USA!

  26. Not this fool? Which fool do you prefer? And yes, lots of this does seem to have a Groundhog's Day feeling about it, I agree. The good-guys-shoot-the-bad-guys, bad-guys-shoot-the-good-guys thing, that is soooo old.

  27. This is one sick joke

  28. Excellent choice. The British dossier on him leaked showing he likes, hand taliored suits, fine wine, steak dinners paid by others. He has not been living in Iraq for forty years but knows how to say all the right phrases like cooperation, inclusiveness. Chalabi's only Iraqi allies are those who will share the loot of American dollars.

    In short, he is a better dressed Karzai without an Iraqi constituency. What next, should we install Rick Martin as President of Mexico?

  29. I take issue with well dressed part. Just because Karzai eschews western garb for traditional Shalwar Kameez does not make Chalabi better dressed by default. Karzai's traditional clothes are always well tailored with appropriate accessories (the cap and sometimes the cape). In this regard you are betraying your own prejudice i.e. unless someone is in western clothing they are not in the running well dressed.

  30. What is the difference between Obama and Bush again? I remember the NY Times pushing Ahmad Chalabi's lies as part of the propaganda prior to the Iraq war. No way do I see the Iranians going along with this U.S. inspired plan to sneak back into to Iraq through Chalabi.

  31. Don't forget Colin Powell is the link, his deceptions are crucial to the long-term plan.

    Powell is still playing the 'good cop/bad cop' routine behind the scenes for his buddies, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld.

  32. GW Bush was the 2nd GHW Bush Admin. Obama is the
    3rd GW Bush Admin. And Hillary will be the 3rd Clinton Admin.

    It's called heeditary democracy.

  33. All the passive sentences in this article suggest that the news story IS part of the story -- part of an effort to sell this guy over here (as I am sure he is being sold hard over there). Cryptically, Chalabi "has re-emerged," and "is being talked about" -- he is "new again." The story even acknowledges that this guy's "party" -- essentially a CIA created entity -- has only one seat -- his -- in the Iraqi Congress. The only evidence that this article isn't itself a pure campaign piece is one quote from one guy: “Our candidates for prime minister are Adel Abdul Mahdi or Ahmad Chalabi,” said Hakim al-Zamili, a 'prominent leader.' Who knows if this quote was uttered with an air of sardonic defeat? There's no context to it whatsoever. I expect to see an article next week reading "Paul Bremmer being considered for Iraqi Minister of Extraction and Foregin Trade."

  34. Outstanding analysis of this article's construction. NYT, Yoshi's insight is the sort your editors should be equipped with.

  35. So who is paying for this PR offensive? The US taxpayers.

    I regret to write that the evidence is the US has the equivalent of our own Pakistani ISI, as Carlotta Gal has described them.

    We the taxpayers are funding national "intelligence organizations" which then put money into various "intelligence assets" who then are used to deceive the American people again and again. Chalabi is not merely the figment of someone's Iraqi fantasy, he is one we are funding as the appearance of this article demonstrates.

  36. You hit the mark. "His exile-based, C.I.A.-financed Iraqi National Congress” is the key phrase in the entire article and underscores the illegitimacy of American actions in Iraq from the beginning. Now we have a re-enactment of replacing puppet leaders just as our government did in Vietnam, one after another. The days of pushing other countries around, like our power brokers have for the past hundred plus years, are over. How much more blood must be shed before our leaders stop playing “King of the Hill” and the electorate stops supporting them? Or is it too late, and like Germany in the 1930’s, we no longer have a voice in what our government does in our name?

  37. I am hoping this is Mr. Nordland's attempt at some light-hearted humor, but I don't think this is a joke.

  38. All he ever wanted was money and power, and it looks like he will get it. Got to give him credit for staying power. That alone may qualify him for the top job.

  39. There are far better candidates. The people of Iraq should find them.

  40. Doesn't really matter. Nobody can fix Iraq, their religion is the problem and it's not repairable by rational people. They want bloodshed and endless jihad, let them have it.

  41. Sure, why not? Eventually we'll take him out, too.

  42. Ahmad Chalabi? Is this some kind of bad joke?

  43. The bad penny shows up! Not a word of this Chalabi is believable!

  44. Yes, it is a bizarre universe.

  45. Gimme a break, Jake! This is worse than a bad joke! It is absolutely frightening.

  46. Remember Hamid Karzai? He was favoured by the Bush administration to run Afghanistan, just because he speaks English eloquently.
    Ahmad Chalabi is a highly controversial figure. During his exile years in Washington, he forged close ties to the neo-cons and was seen by the Bush administration as the choice for a future leader of Iraq. He is said to have misled the US on the existence of Saddam Hussein's stockpile of WMD.
    In 2003 he led the crusade to purge of all people with ties to Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party. He was also accused of passing US intelligence to Tehran after Saddam's downfall.
    If Chalabi succeeds Nouri al-Maliki, we may see another Afghanistan in Iraq.

  47. This is beginning to sound like American politics when old, worn out candidates are refreshed and put back into the race.

    Is this the democracy the US fought for?

  48. We never fought for "democracy". That became the moral excuse for ignoring Shiite demands that we leave.

    Bringing "Democracy" to the Middle East was but a fig-leaf justification for the CPA, or "Coalition Provisional Authority" -- more commonly described as "the American Occupation of Iraq" -- one that lasted eight years and probably would still be underway if President John McCain had existed.

    A neo-con viceroy named L. Paul Bremer ruled conquered Iraq through this "CPA" so tens of billions of mostly borrowed dollars could be stolen by American corporations through no-bid contracts let without completion bonds, the guise: reconstructing a fractured, conquered Iraq; one reason for the long occupation.

    It became the most massive sustained transfer of wealth from the US Treasury (and, by extension, the American people) to American corporations, the behind-the-scenes patrons of the Republican Party; why Vice President Cheney famously quipped "deficits don't matter."

  49. Isn't "chalabi" a bad skin rash that just won't go away?

  50. With an absolute lack of credibility, a record of (self-enriching!) lies and "suspect" activities (to be charitable about it), why isn't this guy in jail? This would be funny if not so tragic.

    "He took millions of dollars from the C.I.A., ... accused of defrauding the second-biggest bank in Jordan and sold the Bush administration a bill of goods on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq"?

  51. Our hand picked next "shah" of Iraq. remember how that one ended?

  52. The world truly is an insane asylum.

  53. Jordanian Officials have desire to see him behind bars for Bank collapse. Prevaricator of deceit and deception that cost America dearly as a 'Darling' of the '43 Team' and Our Little Persian Excursion.

  54. If Rob Ford can run for another term as mayor of Toronto, why can't Chalabi be considered for prime minister of Iraq? Let's underscore just how farcical politics can become.

  55. Ah...the icing on Miss Havisham's cake. The neo-cons 'ol buddy steps up to the plate and the slathering crew who championed this liar are now lining up at the oil-rich trough for some payback. This is what the U.S. bought for trillions of dollars and thousands of young soldiers lives. If this irony didn't have such a tragic back story, it would be cause for a good chuckle.

  56. The Rendon Group which is based in England was tasked by the CIA, and set up with a budget which ultimately absorbed one hundred million dollars worth of fantasises spun by agents of Ahmed Chalabi to be infused into the minds of susceptible American citizens who were still in a panic over 9/11.

    The fabricator "Curve Ball" was one of his creations, and of course the mobile chemical labs which he reported the existence of and which turned out to be helium stations for Iraqi weather balloons became a cause for preventive war when Colin Powell fed his bogus allegations to the world during the course of his infamous UN Speech.

    Naturally the CIA had observed the letter of the law by hiring a UK advertising firm to provide false information to the American people. Now had they done it themselves that would have been illegal.

    Not to be outdone off course, Tony Blair cobbled together his dossier on Iraq's WMD from decade old newspaper clipping and magazine articles stitched together by his staff to tell a fantabulous story of things which could go bump in the night.

    Ahmed Chalabi is a convicted criminal (white collar but massive embezzlement) but he in the face of that fact somehow has had the chop to impress Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and now apparently Barack Obama.

    If this horrid farce which has been the saga of Iraq's non possession of WMD is ever brought to the stage its only suitable format should be as a gala Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta.

  57. Tarnished past is the biggest asset a third world politician could have if he-she was to seek USA support. That way he-she could be blackmailed and extorsioned into doing whatever it is the Metrópolis wishes him-her to do. Some things never change. When the empires lose moral mandate, people act.

  58. The gifts of Cheney keep on giving.

  59. How about Henry Kissinger? Rummy? Paul Bremer? Cheney? Dubya? Oh, forgot it has to be an Iraqi.

  60. Yes a criminal is what Iraq needs. It worked for Florida with Skinhead Scott.
    The biggest thief (so far) of Medicare and Medicaid funds- 10 years of stealing earned his company a $1.2 BILLION fine- not nearly enough to stop him though.

  61. Now our hope is this evasive liar, I think Iraq issue is going down the drain very badly.

  62. Look it up: history does repeat, first as tragedy then as farce. Why not Chalabi? The neo-cons who lied our way into this mess also are still being recycled. Poetic justice that Chalabi join them.

  63. In the meantime, Iraq is being ravaged by ISIS which seems to have flown under the radar of our Intelligence all the while ISIS accumulated money, weapons and matching Toyotas.
    Let's take a stab at whats going on......a replacement for Maliki will stop Iran from using Iraq's airspace to aid Assad in Syria. Goal, regime change in Syria and Iraq.

  64. Mr. Chalabi is well-known for having sold the US the wrong intelligence concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the days leading up to the invasion. His lies may have contributed to the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis and up to 5,000 American soldiers, including trillion of dollars of tax-payer money -- for which the U.S. received nothing in return.

    Today, as Iraq faces a well-armed, Sunni-led insurgency, Mr. Chalabi -- who is seen in the West more as an opportunist than a real democrat -- is being paraded as Iraq's next Prime Minister. That, in itself, is the most humiliating insult to those families whose sons and daughters lie six feet under as a direct result of Mr. Chalabi's faulty intelligence. At the very least, Mr. Chalabi should have been arrested.

  65. Okay, everybody get to work so we can throw more of OUR hard earned taxpayer dollars down the middle east rat hole to be stolen by criminal politicians, religious clerics and American contractors. Thanks Bush/Cheney. Great job.

  66. I'm just glad the Republicans are not touring Iowa with him.

  67. Ironic that Iraq is like the repub party.......they just apparently have nobody that is worth anything. chalabi is actually WORSE than malaki, it would be like the repubs replacing unfit mitt with santorum as their standard bearer.

  68. OK, this isn't April 1, so The Times must have merged with The Onion.

  69. Whack-a-mole politics in Iraq. From the looks of it, if Chalabi gets in, the new guy will be the same as the old guy. (Will the last democrat leaving the Middle East please turn off the lights?)

  70. This makes as much sense as re-cycling a Clinton versus a Bush in 2016. Is Iraq (and by extension, the U.S.) so impoverished in terms of viable political candidates that this is the best that they (and we) can do?

  71. Is it April 1st?

  72. Yes.

  73. " He took millions of dollars from the C.I.A., founded and was accused of defrauding the second-biggest bank in Jordan and sold the Bush administration a bill of goods on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

    Sounds like impeccable qualifications in terms of American foreign policy. Still, it would have been more impressive if he had founded and defrauded the biggest bank in Jordan - what's so great about founding and defrauding the second biggest?

  74. Once upon a time, the Great Powers, as they were called, looked upon the vast expanses of Arabia and the Ottoman Empire, and decided to reshape these to suit themselves.

    So they drew artificial boundaries, created "nation states," and cast around for local "leaders."

    Some were downright comical, as with two brothers named, respectively, "kings" of "Jordan" and "Iraq," in one case having never previously set foot in the country. He would eventually be shot by his subjects.

    Others had consequences the origins of which few today even imagine, such as arming one Bedouin tribe to allow it to subdue all others, thereby producing a hefty profit for the oil companies involved along with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    The same objectifying game was played with various warlords, dictators, and sundry other "friendlies" ensconced throughout the region, in every case, because it suited outside interests.

    Comes now Mr. Chalabi, with his clownishly checkered past, vilely mendacious role in causing the current Iraq conflagration, and other sordid attributes, to stand again as a "candidate" for his turn in the Middle East Leadership Stooge Lottery.

    Well, you heard it here first: as with virtually all of these "democratic" initiatives, it will end badly.

    Pity that the manipulators behind all this never, ever suffer the consequences of treating entire peoples like pawns, and never know what those of us victimized by these games face, as when we lose our families and loved ones.


  75. for anyone interested in this man, let me recommend Richard Bonin's book "Arrows of the Night" . It is an excellent biography of the man and shows just how despicable he is. It should also be remembered that his party received about 1.5% of the popular vote in the first election. Not exactly inspiring confidence (other than in neo-cons like Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bernand Lewis, etc. who championed him beyond belief).

  76. If Chalabi succeeds it will once again prove what an opportunist he is trying to take power in the storm of confusion.

  77. Chalabi would be a completely sickening and disastrous choice. I agree with Yoshi that there is something strange about devoting so much attention to his very slight prospects to become the next PM. Surely the Obama administration and President Obama himself will not be delusive enough to support his candidacy to even the slightest degree. If they do, then certainly Cheney, Bremer, Wolfowitz, Kerry and both Clintons should go over to help him establish real democracy in whatever is left of Iraq

  78. In the 19th century, colonial powers ended up appointing one bad local puppet leader after another. The leaders were corrupt, the people were demoralized, and the institutions became compromised beyond repair. All the traditional forms were broken and the institutions that replaced them were despotic. After that, when the colonial powers left, western historians wrote books wondering how the colonized subjects were so backward, violent, and so given to nepotistic leaders, weak institutions. What they refused and continue to refuse to face up to is their role in legitimizing corrupt native elites and leaders. Chalabi is a good example of this historical type.

  79. Isn't it wonderful? Hundreds of thousands dead from a completely senseless war based on nothing but lies, lies and more lies, and the chief liar, afffectionately known to our "intelligence" community as "Curve Ball" ends up in the driver's seat. To paraphrase one of my favorite philosophers, you simply cannot make this stuff up.

  80. Chalibi was not Curveball but he was presented by those in the USA that wanted to destroy Iraq as a reliable source of intel. IE. As Mearscheimer & Walt point out in their acclaimed book the Israel Lobby , the Iraq War was accomplished by and for AIPAC. Eg. It was Wolfowitz who set up the Office Of Special Plans in the Pentagon & staffed it with Feith , Perle, Edelman , Wurmser & 18 other AIPACers who generated the lies used to rev-up US public support to pre-emptively invade Iraq. (In previous gov`t security jobs both Feith & Perle were charged with passing US secrets to Israel.) Wolfowitz testified before Congress that the war would cost the US 1-2 $billion. Yes, Cheney wanted to bomb Iraq , but as he confessed to Sec of Treasury Paul O`Neil , his objective was “to demonstrate US hegemony in the region so that no one would consider ^*#+ing with the US oil supply”.

    Only Israel has benefited from the Iraq invasion. Ie It ended Iraq`s support for some measure of justice for the indigenous people of Palestine. Now these same people are pushing the US to do the same to Iran.

    It is time to change the US election campaign funding laws so that a lobby can no longer game the system & thereby control Congress against the interests of the nation.

  81. @Duncan - well said.

    The Jewishness and Zionism of the neocons is not openly discussed, but is common knowledge. They certainly don't represent all, or even most Jews [or Israelis] but *do* represent the right wing, Likud and Shas flavors of it.

    and they want American blood and treasure to help create a Greater Israel - one with no military, or economic rivals.

  82. Re; Curveball, I stand corrected. The old noodle ain't what it used to be.

  83. Tarnished is an understatement. He's a fraud. Things are coming back full cycle, aren't they? The neocons con boy is now consider the savior. Too bad for the neocons we don't have "A Decider" @ WH today. Why not consider Woffie, or Judith Miller or any of FIX News holy warriors?

  84. There's no fool like an old fool, and no con like a neocon.

  85. Shouldn't the article have mentioned Chalabi's clever use of the NYT (Judith Miller and the editorial board) to garner support for his desired invasion of Iraq?

  86. We have come full circle and learned nothing. If our foreign service and administration support this criminal as the next "leader" of Iraq, the results will be even worse than anything we have seen to date.

  87. Ahmad Chalabi makes the Phoenix look like a plucked chicken.

  88. lets follow the lead of the Sunnis and Kurds.

    walk out.

  89. ...but all that oil will pay for it. [gag]

  90. Next up: General Thieu.

  91. LOL. Batista, Trujillo, Marcos, Reza, Diem, Salazar, Franco...

  92. Another petulant puppet stamped from the Karzai mould seems closer to it.

  93. The people fighting in Syria and Iraq now are in large part trying to correct the arrogance and ignorance of the Sykes-Picot agreement in which the Triple Entente drew artificial borders in order to divvy up the old Ottoman Empire. There is no way Chalabi, or any other individual short of a brutal Stalinist like Saddam, can unite Iraq. Let them create their own borders. It'll be bloody, but less so and far shorter than to continue to enforce the old borders.

  94. Every international agreement ought to answer the question: What will this look like 100 years from now. Unfortunately, the answer to that question may require brutality in the near-term.

  95. This mess in Iraq is an x-rated Marx brothers movie. I think of the song. Hello, I must be going. Perfect.

  96. Here we go again. We're back to Dubbya and "Mssion Accomplished"

  97. This article is a draft script for a Jon Stewart riff, right?

  98. Perhaps some introspection is needed here. Among the many accusations against Chalabi, how about the one where he used Judith Miller and the NYT, to drum up support for WMDs and the war movement. Let's not forget that one of the main proponents of the war was the NYT, via Judith Miller. This man is a snake. No big deal, 49% of the US electorate votes for snakes. The question is, can we tame him so that he works for "us".

  99. Yes, nice of the NYT to completely ignore their own role in foistering Chalabi and his lies on the American public.

  100. "Tarnished past"?? That is like saying that Al Capone had a problem delivering valentines. He is utterly corrupt, utterly duplicitous and utterly untrustworthy. The lies he fabricated gave the neo-cons pushing for war on Iraq an essential tool to underwrite their aggression. And if one counts our losses and those we inflicted on Iraq, he AND the neo-cons deserve to be hauled before the ICJ.

  101. Criminal Past is a better heading. You nailed it.

  102. Chalabi should have spent the last 10 years in Guantanamo; is there a more deserving occupant? He snookered Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocon gang. He must be smirking spending the millions he got from them.

  103. W, Cheney, Rummi, Wolfi and crew snookered themselves. Chalabi, definitely a crooked opportunist, only took advantage of fools.

  104. Ahmad Chalabi, older but not wiser.

  105. What short memories we have. Chalabi is the worst candidate for the job.

  106. Surely not the worst though. I'm certain George W. Bush would do a lousier job than Mr. Chalabi would.

  107. Well.....true. Bush is the bottom of the barrel.

  108. In all honesty he did not need to do a great selling job as Bush/Chaney were looking for anything to pursue this war. What a great job of sucking us into an never ending abyss of loss upon loss.
    America, just like the Alamo, please remember.

  109. Good grief.

  110. Aren't there any decent candidates to lead Iraq?

  111. I doubt Iraq would do well to have Mr. Chalabi as prime minister, considering he's spent his career skillfully lying, he's highly self-interested and power-grasping, and he's Jewish. Ha, just kidding about that last one, wouldn't that be funny for an Iraqi P.M.? Of course, he does look extraordinarily like an Israeli, just like nearly everyone in Iraq.

    So anyway, yeah he'd be a lousy choice, I don't see how he would do anything to ameliorate the current trouble, which is based on sectarian splits. I doubt any Shiite could do so, because the Sunnis and Kurds just won't trust them at this point, for good reason.

    All this barely matters anyway, Iraq will only become fairly peaceful once it's split into at least three parts, and will only become completely peaceful once it runs out of water and there aren't any humans living there. And I'll keep pointing out what everyone loves to ignore: they're running out of water so the whole place is doomed, none of this will affect that fate in the slightest.

  112. Perfect circle of criminal clowns. Bring back Cheyney and Rum/Witz too. And George can start drinking again. The rest of us may want to join him. Hillary and Sarah can draw up new nation building plans on a cocktail napkin.

  113. Chalabi is a University of Chicago and MIT graduate AND plays well with the CIA (no ethics, morals, or scruples). Why couldn't he run Iraq for us?

  114. Let's not forget that Chalabi admitted he lied about WMDs in an interview with the British Sunday Telegraph, saying that the end (getting rid of Saddam) justified the means.

    And let's not forget he is an agent of Iran, having revealed to the Iranian government that we broke their military code during the Iraq war.

    But, if you are a friend to American conservatives, what do these traitorous acts get you? A seat next to the First Lady and recognition from the President at a State of the Union Address (2004).

  115. How about sending a group of retired U.S. presidents, government officials, and pseudo-government officials to Iraq to help them with their problems? No weapons or soldiers that would be left behind,. They can just use their fine reasoning skills and do web-marketing to get their points across. Might throw in a few supreme court justices, too, the ones who seem to like theocracy and could become philosopher kings with nice robes, etc. This crowd of mafia-style bodyguards could protect them.

  116. C.I.A............"Chalabi In Action".

  117. This is the guy who is responsible, more than anyone else, for our mistaken invasion of Iraq. He scammed Cheney and the Neo-cons with tales of cheap oil, 'welcoming as liberators' and other ridiculous ideas. If the Iraqis want him, they can have him. I just don't want anything to do with this hustler.

  118. Chalibi just told them what they wanted to hear. The agenda was already in place.

  119. Chalabi scammed the neocons? The neocons used Chalabi to scam the American public.

  120. America's problem is that it simply can't admit it made a mistake. I was hoping Obama, who voted against this mess, could simply say we screwed up and let it go. But no, we have to keep desperately piling mistake upon mistake.

    But then, who knows exactly how much say any President actually has. After all, the military-industrial complex has the money and the guns, and endless conflict suits them very well. ...

  121. I would love to see President Obama appoint (sentence) Dick Cheney ambassador to Iraq. It would serve Cheney right.

  122. Naw. Extra-ordinary rendition to Guantanamo, and let him find out what it's like to be imprisoned for an indeterminate sentence. A little waterboarding, to get the truth out of him.
    That's the sort of treatment justice demands for Cheney (and about a dozen others from the G. D. Bush administration!)

  123. Ahmad Chalabi is a CIA sponsored thug from the Bush years. If Obama backs him for Prime MInister, Obama will accomplish the impossible. He will have less than NO credibility left. One more "achievement" for the President who promised us CHANGE we can believe in.

  124. The delusion continues that political and economic arguments can prevail in a region that is driven purely by tribal and "religious" enmity.

    The notion that Sunni, Kurd and Shiite will join hands for the sake of peace and unity is as absurd as the notion that Boehner would sit down with Obama to do the same.

    All this talk of "Iraq" is the "last throes" of Cheney/Bush's delusions.

  125. I've read twenty comments on Mr. Chalabi's run for PM and everyone of them says the same thing. Contrarian thinking is a rare thing anywhere in the Times. On this point, you might consider reviewing Christopher Hitchens' thoughts on Mr. Chalabi in his memoir. Hitchens casts doubt on the accuracy of Mr. Chalabi's conviction for fraud, and generally portrays him as a decent and civilized man who, most of all, did not oversell the WMD claims to a US that was otherwise eager to believe it on its own.

  126. Hitchens would say that: he supported the catastrophic US invasion of Iraq, which he also thought was 'decent and civilized'. So much for contrarian thinking.

  127. Chris Hitchens was-regrettably- wrong on many issues. A man who called God immoral and evil is not to be respected or his opinions valued at all.

  128. Print the legend, in other words?

  129. It was the Israelis and the neocons who pushed for Chalabi. His deBaathification program was responsible for the alienation of the Sunnis. By all means give him a high post. I would suggest on an impaling stake comparable in height to that of Haman's in the book of Esther.

  130. The only two words are Hell NO!.

  131. I wonder if the illustrious former ambassador to Iraq, john negroponte has his toe in the water on this one. He has always been a booster of some of the most unsavory characters that America has wrapped itself around.

    Anyone remember his role in Honduras and Nicaragua?

  132. Chalabi, seriously? He's already proven his lack of character. Is there ANYONE in Iraq that can step up into their government that doesn't have a very checkered past?

  133. Character? Who cares?! We (and Iraq.... indeed, the whole region) needs a strongman (think Saddam Hussein) who can move in one direction no matter the opposition. Chalabi looks like exactly what is needed.

  134. vermontague: a two-bit crook is a strongman? That's like saying the neocons who promoted him were "strongmen."

  135. And so what's your proposal for the region? I've given up. As far as I'm concerned, the Kurds will look out for themselves; the Iranians will take what they want; and the Shiites and Sunnis will settle the issue between themselves. I'm sorry for women and children who are killed in the process--but I don't see any solution. If Chalabi can make himself "supreme leader," he could hardly be worse than Saddam.... and might be better.

  136. I think what they really need over there is a fashion revolution and Ahmad is looking very sharp in the blue sports coat and black t-shirt!

  137. This is Hollywood testing whether a Rocky VI would be a good idea , right ?

  138. chalabi...has everyone lost their minds!

  139. Exactly. What could go wrong? And why isn't he in jail along with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and Wolfowitz?

  140. Yes.

  141. DUH. And what 'potential leader' in Iraq does NOT have a tarnished past? Hell, when it comes to Iraq, even Hillary has a tarnished past. It's all going down the toilet & the only thing Obama needs to do is stand back and not let anything splash on us. Better yet,wrap him in a flag and toss McCain in the toilet too.

  142. What's Arabic for "Groundhog Day"?

  143. Before the war on Iraq, Ahmad Chalabi coached and paraded Iraqi exiles in front of the politicians and the press in Washington to make exaggerated claims about Saddam's ability to attack his neighbors and the US. And the Washington press drank that spiked punch, and regurgitated it for the public, the effect being a populous more willing to "trust the president," as my neighbor once told me.

  144. Not the whole populous --- there were millions of people in the streets proclaiming the truth, only to be ignored by the main stream media and branded traitors by the neocons.

  145. What uniformity amongst the comments. There's uniformity in the snookerer/snookered connection too. Long before Chalabi/Miller, there was Castro/Matthews circa 1956. From that period, cue the dramatic musical prompt from the popular Dragnet series, slightly amended.... Dumb de dumb dumb! Dumb de dumb dumb dumb!

  146. Recent Iraqi history is a farce, wrapped in a tragedy, smothered in stupid sauce. Don't forget the sprinkles of corruption and narcissism.

  147. Ahmad Chalabi and his ilk makes me think that a Caliphate is a better alternative. After all the Caliphate in Istanbul that was eliminated by the British and The French at the close of WWI as they carved up the Ottoman Empire began the nightmare of violence that has continued from then to now aided by the USA. Let them try an ISIS Caliphate. It could be no worse than the puppets the US sponsors. Ahmad Chalabi? Please!

  148. Perhaps Bush/Cheney in '16?

  149. You mean Cheney/Bush. Then the right guy will be in the driver's seat as we head off another cliff. Besides the Constitution limits a president to two terms--the wisest thing the Republicans ever did.

  150. A digression: Aren't nuclear weapons the biggest WMD in the world? What if Saddam did have more traditional WMD's -- so what?

  151. Like a bad rash, this guy keeps showing up. It would seem that thousands are dead, in part, due to his lies. He's an opportunist of the first order.

  152. Quite simply put, "The scum rises to the top." This is very depressing. Jim

  153. Mr. Chalabi is a bottom feeder that is not only very intelligent but knows how maneuver between the factions in Iraq and inside the DC Beltway. There is much to say about cockroaches and rats, they know how to adapt and survive, and will survive long after mankind is gone. This one even knows how to profit in the end.

  154. The political circus and the military melt down in Iraq have come to a point that shows America at a crossroads: As we are exiting Afghanistan we are slowly re-entering Iraq. The political and religious chaos is further personified that we have a failed CIA operative in Mr Chalabi and a failed statesman in Mr. Maliki as candidates. Are these the choices that the U.S. will have to aid if the Iraqi people chose either one of them? If by deposing Saddam, we instilled “democracy” in his place then we must allow the democratic process to play out in Iraq. Democracy is a messy process and must be orchestrated by the Iraqi’s. The Isis threat may be the cohesive factor that all parties Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis and the Iranians may coalesce into one and rid the extremist threat out of Iraq without American assistance! Regardless of the future it is in Iraq’s hands and it is their democratic choice! Time to leave.

  155. The Middle East seems to love their despots.

  156. It is the USA who loves the despots. It is so much easier to steal when you have bought off the puppet president. Perhaps the warhawks revile in their mistake of disposing the strong man? Now they seek to replace Saddam with a new controlled Saddam Junior, like they don't remember at all that Saddam was at first our puppet. Yes, first Saddam purchased our weapons, then he used them against Iran, then we ridiculed him and counted the very same bombs we sold him but 10 years earlier. Perhaps yet these hawks will remember the terror they have brought.. to apologize to us all for their horror. Sike, more terror and hell is still being sold today. America, land of the sheep and home of hypocrisy.

  157. Will we never be rid of the Bush Detritus, the legacy of adolescent macho, the leavings of mass killings of those who had done nothing to us?

    Chalaby is just another Bush billionaire, from the C-130 loads of hundred-dollar bills which DISAPPEARED immediately after he got them. Can we ever get the Republicans to pay for their brutal wars?

  158. "He took millions of dollars from the C.I.A., founded and was accused of defrauding the second-biggest bank in Jordan and sold the Bush administration a bill of goods on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." You left something out: he took the NYT for a long ride. Look back in the archives for the big splash in the NYT Sunday magazine by Judith Miller. All involved were discredited. Why are we dragging him out now? Do we consider his style of corruption to be more palatable than Maliki's? That is, "we can do business with him?" What skeletons are in his rattled closet?

  159. "Beyond belief" is all I can say, regarding the evolving hopelessness of Bush's Folly, now a debacle, and the bankruptcy of our all options there, endless war aside. That, and a stroll down memory lane, reprising Napoleon's observation about the character of Talleyrand, his corrupt foreign minister: "A silk stocking full of {manure}".

  160. Meanwhile, Islamic State noose tightens around Baghdad: the prize is Basra oil fields, whoever is Iraq prime minister is a speed bump. Islamic State has to win these fields or die, the weight of interest lies with them.

    One more significant battlefield defeat for Iraqi government -- say, at Diwaniya -- and the fantasy crashes to the ground ... the fantasy promoted by the US government and cooperative US media of a compliant puppet Iraq pumping oil and gas for the benefit of American drivers.

    Chalabi = another puppet. Whoever is the 'leader' in Baghdad besides jihadis will be seen as colonial robot run from Washington, DC.

  161. The guy's going to be viewed as an American surrogate, or more to the point, a lapdog.

  162. If we were in any way to support Chalabi for a leadership role of any kind, we would simply be installing the same sort of brutally corrupt and cynical opportunist that we chose in Afhganistan. Hamid Kharzai is and always was a drug runner and money launderer, but one who could, for a time, when he chose, make suave and nice to the US. Chalabi could make so nice as to persuade the truly moronic neo-cons like Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, the egregious John Bolton, and doctor death, Dick Cheney that he could provide just the excuse they needed for a truly horrible invasion. The Times shouldn't even print the picture of someone as shameful, evil, and destructive as Mr. Chalabi.

  163. An American stooge; a CIA mole in Iraq politics for decades; a traitor to Iraqi future and a human being that was to be in jail since. I believe the fates and the innocent Iraq deaths are gathering to have their pound of flesh on him at last.

  164. I don't which is worse - Chalabi's known lies and deceptions or Bush/Cheney et al buying into them (because it suited their agenda).

  165. Give me a break. Chalabi should be in GITMO. Bringing back the neocons or printing their opinions. Having him resurface is like making John Bolton Sec of State.

  166. Does anybody have any ideas on how to fill the ranks of ISIS with fresh recruits? Bring in Mr. Chalabi as prime minister.

  167. Remember that old adage about what survives a nuclear attack? To cockroaches and Twinkies, be sure to add the name Ahmad Chalabi (and you can throw in Dick Cheney and William Kristol as well.)

  168. If this turkey gets in, we appoint Cheney as ambassador and his daughter as social director at the embassy palace. We then toss the keys into the river and hire United Airlines to airlift out not only American citizens left in the country, but those many thousands of decent Iraqi citizens who as interpreters, teachers, NGO staffers, etc. threw in their lot with us. We must not spend another nickel there or in Syria because we know not what we do.

  169. chalabi the corrupt traitor is being considered as a leader by whom?????

    He should have been tried long ago for treason and his contribution to the invasion and destruction of Iraq.

  170. This man's duplicity, along with the Bush administration's willingness to take his "intelligence" at face value, is responsible for over a trillion dollars leaving the U.S. treasury, along with thousands of American deaths.

    And he's STILL breathing, let alone being considered for Iraqi leadership? I mean, how can people discuss this with a straight face?

  171. Ah, Ahmad. We hardly know ye!

    This is Cheney/Bush democracy at work. I wonder if Dubya is proud of it? It seems no doubt that Cheney still is. We have finally found the 'Weapons of Mass Destruction.' They are these people, not things!

  172. To consider Chalabi for even three seconds is just as inexplicable as it is to listen to John McCain for three seconds. As Paul Krugman reminds us from time to time, bad ideas and their proponents just won't go away in the Washington thinking.

  173. This article is no more than a piece of puff for Chalabi. Thankfully, he stands no chance at all of getting anywhere in Iraq. Leader of a party with one seat in parliament? That would be a great demonstration of the US bringing democracy to Iraq wouldn't it? What the article doesn't mention is that he's got nowhere in 10 years and isn't likely to. Granted, he's corrupt enough to rule Iraq but the problem is he's still widely loathed.

  174. Pinochet, Hussein, Malaki, Karzai, ISIS, The Taliban.
    Vietnam, Chile, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine to Israel. Most every thing we touch becomes a bloody mess. We have NO IDEA what we are doing in these nation states. None. As it plays out again and again. Skipping like a needle on a scratched record.

    The hubris of our government, Clinton and Obama included!, is astounding against a backdrop of extreme foreign initiative failures. Another poster was correct. We need to own up to our mistakes. And then learn from them. The world doesn't and shouldn't revolve around us! It's dragged us into hell. The list of bloody events on the hands of our government, and therefore, on us is long. Over things like democratically elected socialism and american business interests. We need to get off this track of immorality .

  175. Nice of Bush to spend 3 trillion and 35,000 dead and wounded to get this guy the job he was lobbying them for.

  176. C'mon, folks. Don't be mean. Give the guy a 2nd chance.