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Allawi's Fall

I'm often a critic, but Michael Rubin's analysis of how Iyad Allawi lost his political support everyone outside of Washington, DC is well worth a read. There's some kind of hard-to-discern agenda here (there always is, especially when you see criticism of the administration in The National Review) but I think he's got this right.

December 13, 2004 | Permalink


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To the extent it matters (since he will be gone in a couple of manths anyway), I don't see the issue here. Rubin says that Allawi lost the Shia when he decided to go against Sadr before Falluja. And he lost the Sunni when he later went against Falluja. Uh huh. What exactly was Rubin's proposed alternative?

Posted by: Al | Dec 13, 2004 2:18:39 PM

The only people you leftists like are the swarn enemies of the US.

Posted by: RA | Dec 13, 2004 2:32:54 PM

The hidden agenda is the neocons and the Bush family retainers preparing the ground for someone to blame when the situation in Iraq turns to real shit after the election.


Posted by: Cranky Observer | Dec 13, 2004 2:35:41 PM

What's ironic about this is how everyone on the right was criticizing Kerry for calling Allawi a puppet.

Posted by: Jeff I | Dec 13, 2004 2:42:23 PM

Rubin sounds like a Chalabi neocon guy to me. Remember that Allawi was the State Department/CIA's man, not the neocons'.

Check out some pro-Chalabi anti-Allawi stuff from his AEI writings:


"Regardless of whether they liked Chalabi as an individual or agreed with his politics, Iraqi Shia interpreted Blackwill's decision to humiliate Chalabi as a slap at their entire community.

If the National Security Council wants to put their hope in Ayad Allawi, they will be sorely disappointed. Allawi is a former Baathist. His close association with the Central Intelligence Agency, Britain's MI6, and Jordanian intelligence have not helped him among a Shia population in which he has little if any constituency. The Kurds also distrust Allawi, who, in 14 months of Coalition rule failed to engage in any serious way with the Sunni community. Najaf ends Allawi's honeymoon. The CIA may sing his praises to the president, but Langley's assets seldom make good leaders. They certainly don't make good democrats."

Posted by: Brooklyn Sword Style | Dec 13, 2004 2:56:05 PM

"The hidden agenda is the neocons and the Bush family retainers preparing the ground for someone to blame when the situation in Iraq turns to real shit after the election."

Haven't you heard? That what Democrats are for.

Posted by: Blue Iris | Dec 13, 2004 3:01:14 PM

The only people you leftists like are the swarn enemies of the US.

"Swarn", huh? Well shit howdy, rube, why don't let that turnip truck drive you right back to your red welfare state.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Dec 13, 2004 3:13:10 PM

Iraq Special Tribunal Administrator Salem Chalabi leveled similar charges . . .

And speak of the Devil('s nephew)!

Posted by: Jim Henley | Dec 13, 2004 3:18:33 PM

The fealty of guys like Rubin and Chris Hitchens to Chalabi really surpasses all reasonable bounds.

Is there any rational explanation left except that he's supplementing their income rather substantially?

Posted by: Swopa | Dec 13, 2004 3:27:07 PM

Is there any rational explanation left except that he's supplementing their income rather substantially?

Does Chalabi have any oil vouchers to give away in exchange for support?

Posted by: Al | Dec 13, 2004 3:47:02 PM

RA, since you explicitly endorse policies that directly lead to the deaths of americans, maybe it's you who are the sworn enemy of America?

Posted by: Walt Pohl | Dec 13, 2004 3:53:49 PM

"The hidden agenda is the neocons and the Bush family retainers"

Heck, still seems to me the hidden agenda is Chalabi. I said a long time ago the only way Chalabi gains power if if it is perceived by grassroots Iraqis that the Americans hate him. Well, duh, he has become discredited yet in a prominent position in the Sadr/Shia camp. And friendly with the Kurds. And retains some low-level American support.

I trust no one and nothing, and never take appearances for reality. Everybody is lying. MY bought the "Chalabi is an Iranian Spy" line completely, yet Chalabi wasn't treated so terribly, like arrest or exile.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 13, 2004 4:00:33 PM

Clearly this is an attempt to backstop Chalabi.

Posted by: praktike | Dec 13, 2004 4:16:27 PM

Assume we invaded Iraq for some reason, God knows what reason, but assume there really was one. Now, assume that we planned to stay there - building all of those military bases surely wasn't to benefit the Iraqi military. So, if we think Allawi or the new Iraqi Congress will order us to leave after they get elected, obviously it's time to find someone else to head the Iraqi government. And, to do that we first have to demonize Allawi. So, my guess is that Chalabi has agreed that we are welcome there for as long as we wish.

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Dec 13, 2004 5:14:51 PM

"Is there any rational explanation left except that he's supplementing their income rather substantially?"

Well, don't know how rational. But watched Noah Feldman last night, and he gave me the impression that the Iraqi Ayatollahs wouldn't be that awful upset if the Americans bombed Iran a little.

So how bout the plan all along, conspired between major players the Americans, Chalabi, and Sistani was to put Chalabi in charge in a way that would be appear to be an act of Iraqi defiance, and then attack Iran.

Sistani is a genius at maintaining cover.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 13, 2004 5:38:34 PM

I believe it's the same old fight: State, CIA and the old Iraqi National Accord (Allawi's group)composed of former Baathists, arrayed against the Bush Pentagon, neoconservative think tanks like the AEI and the expatriot Iraqi National Congress (Chalabi's group), with its more more militantly anti-Sunni, pro-Western de-Baathification agenda.

The latest neocon plan B is the strategic jump onto the Shiite bandwagon and use of the "secular Shiite" Chalabi to influence the Shiite movement that seems poised to assume control of Iraq, or a big part of it. As far as I can tell, the neocons hope to create a powerful, non-Khomeinist Shiite government in Iraq, a rival and alternative to the Iranian model, made prosperous by heavy American aid, and use it as a way to influence internal Iranian politics.

Note the grumbling about Ahmed's nephew Salem. The Saddam trial is the hottest political football in Iraq. There is dirty laundry and embarrassment galore to be passed out at the trial, to the advantage of political friends and detriment of political enemies, by whomever has control of it.

Posted by: Dan Kervick | Dec 13, 2004 5:54:16 PM

I agree with Bob to some extent, in that I think the Iran espionage story was a setup, but I don't think Chalabi's fall was deliberately engineered to increase his political viability.

I believe his seizure of documents relating to the oil-for-food program upon his return to Iraq, and his refusal to share what he had with the US investigators and Volcker's UN investigators, had made him a dangerous man in the eyes of many powerful people. I suspect he was in effect blackmailing US and UN offocials with the dirt he possessed, and was using the potentially scandelous info to advance his position in Iraq. It was reported that in the government raid on his house, oil-for-food documents were seized.

Posted by: Dan Kervick | Dec 13, 2004 6:03:43 PM

Rubin sounds like a Chalabi neocon guy to me.

Wasn't Rubin under suspicion for being the drunk beans-spiller in this story? He certainly carried water for Chalabi, even if he couldn't hold his liquor.

Posted by: ahem | Dec 13, 2004 7:19:47 PM

As I have blogged and as others have said on this board, Rubin's agenda is not, as Matt suggests, hard-to-discern.
Just go to his archive on National Review and you will see that his lips are firmly up Chalabi's butt.
He even, as a quote earlier on this board shows, is trying to pretend that most Shiites see Chalabi as their standard-bearer, so that they view the legitimacy of the occupation by how we treat Chalabi.

As for Chalabi being an Iranian spy, or whatnot, my impression is that Chalabi works only for Chalabi. He'll kiss up to Israel, the US, Sadr, Iran, whoever he thinks will help him get ahead. Perhaps the neocons are convinced that they can bribe him to stay on their side.

Posted by: Glaivester | Dec 14, 2004 4:20:02 PM

"my impression is that Chalabi works only for Chalabi."

Well, granted. I have been watching the way Iraqis have been treating Chalabi, and find it interesting. Allawi (who was a Baathist thug, etc) never got a meeting with Sistani until he got his present job. Chalabi has had several meetings with Sistani, and was fairly active during the first attempt at Fallujah. If Chalabi is viewed by the clerics as their best bet even at liason with the Americans, considering Chalabi's history, to me that is damn interesting. I would have guessed Sistani would not let him in the door.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 14, 2004 5:54:06 PM

Man, don't you moderate your commments? You have this page full of porno links for nearly a month. Or are you allowing it for all the accidental traffic that's attracted? Not sure but I hardly think there will be much of an overlap for someone wanting "hardcore young lolita rape" and your brand of incisive political commentary.

Posted by: anon | Dec 22, 2005 2:47:54 AM

just for fun

Posted by: ashok | Sep 20, 2006 5:54:31 AM

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