Skip to comments.Iranian Alert -- May 22, 2004 [EST]-- IRAN LIVE THREAD -- "Americans for Regime Change in Iran"
Posted on 05/21/2004 9:57:55 PM PDT by DoctorZIn
The US media almost entirely ignores news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran. As Tony Snow of the Fox News Network has put it, this is probably the most under-reported news story of the year. Most Americans are unaware that the Islamic Republic of Iran is NOT supported by the masses of Iranians today. Modern Iranians are among the most pro-American in the Middle East.
There is a popular revolt against the Iranian regime brewing in Iran today. I began these daily threads June 10th 2003. On that date Iranians once again began taking to the streets to express their desire for a regime change. Today in Iran, most want to replace the regime with a secular democracy.
The regime is working hard to keep the news about the protest movement in Iran from being reported. Unfortunately, the regime has successfully prohibited western news reporters from covering the demonstrations. The voices of discontent within Iran are sometime murdered, more often imprisoned. Still the people continue to take to the streets to demonstrate against the regime.
In support of this revolt, Iranians in America have been broadcasting news stories by satellite into Iran. This 21st century news link has greatly encouraged these protests. The regime has been attempting to jam the signals, and locate the satellite dishes. Still the people violate the law and listen to these broadcasts. Iranians also use the Internet and the regime attempts to block their access to news against the regime. In spite of this, many Iranians inside of Iran read these posts daily to keep informed of the events in their own country.
This daily thread contains nearly all of the English news reports on Iran. It is thorough. If you follow this thread you will witness, I believe, the transformation of a nation. This daily thread provides a central place where those interested in the events in Iran can find the best news and commentary. The news stories and commentary will from time to time include material from the regime itself. But if you read the post you will discover for yourself, the real story of what is occurring in Iran and its effects on the war on terror.
I am not of Iranian heritage. I am an American committed to supporting the efforts of those in Iran seeking to replace their government with a secular democracy. I am in contact with leaders of the Iranian community here in the United States and in Iran itself.
If you read the daily posts you will gain a better understanding of the US war on terrorism, the Middle East and why we need to support a change of regime in Iran. Feel free to ask your questions and post news stories you discover in the weeks to come.
If all goes well Iran will be free soon and I am convinced become a major ally in the war on terrorism. The regime will fall. Iran will be free. It is just a matter of time.
The Chalabi Treatment
May 21, 2004
The Wall Street Journal
Review & Outlook
Someday we hope U.S. officials will explain to us how in scarcely a year they managed to turn one of our closest allies in ousting Saddam Hussein into an opponent of American purposes. We're referring to Ahmed Chalabi, the member of the Iraqi Governing Council whose home and office were raided by coalition forces yesterday in Baghdad.
A coalition spokesman said the raid wasn't aimed at either Mr. Chalabi or his political organization, the Iraqi National Congress. Instead, U.S. sources say the police were looking for evidence as part of an Iraqi-led fraud probe into Iraqis connected to the Ministry of Finance that Mr. Chalabi has supervised as a member of the Iraqi Governing Council. We suspect that distinction will be lost on most Iraqi news reports.
For his part, Mr. Chalabi blamed a political vendetta inspired by U.S. regent L. Paul Bremer. And he claimed the police were hunting for records related to the U.N.'s corrupt Oil for Food Program that he's been investigating. His ties with the coalition are now "non-existent," the businessman and former exile added.
We don't know enough of the facts to take sides. But we certainly think Mr. Chalabi deserves the benefit of the doubt, especially in light of his treatment by many U.S. officials over the past year. Some reporters still refer to him as the Pentagon's "favorite" to rule Iraq. If that's true we'd hate to see what happens to a non-favorite.
He's been vilified repeatedly in background quotes by U.S. "sources," especially by State Department and CIA officials who won't forgive him for opposing their status quo views of Saddam and the Mideast. Far from being anointed as Iraq's version of Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai, Mr. Chalabi was named by Mr. Bremer as just one of 25 members to the unwieldy Governing Council.
U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has all but said that one of his tasks is to keep Mr. Chalabi from playing any role in the transition government after the handover of sovereignty on June 30. An ostentatious press leak recently revealed that the U.S. had cut off Mr. Chalabi from any further U.S. financial support. Never has so much been done to denigrate someone with so little power.
What makes all of this hostility even stranger is that Mr. Chalabi shares the U.S. goal of building a free and democratic Iraq. He was a driving force behind most of the good things the Governing Council has accomplished -- especially the privatization law and the interim constitution that is the most liberal in the Arab world. His behind-the-scenes prodding has broken open the Oil for Food scandal that could easily have been hushed up to protect the U.N.
We have no idea if Mr. Chalabi is the right man to run Iraq in the future, but his mistreatment is emblematic of the larger U.S. mistake of not putting more trust in Iraqis to govern themselves. Coalition officials deride Mr. Chalabi and others as "exiles" who lack a popular following in Iraq -- as if anyone who actively opposed Saddam could have survived anywhere except in exile. Fighting for Saddam's ouster throughout the 1990s, despite little U.S. interest and at some personal risk, might even be considered an act of patriotism.
There's no doubt Mr. Chalabi has personal political ambitions, but so what? Isn't open and democratic political competition what we want for Iraq? By deriding Mr. Chalabi and other "exiles," the U.S. has helped to create a vacuum that many non-democrats are eager to fill.
Iranian cash is pouring in to support more radical Shiite leaders than the secular Shiite Mr. Chalabi. And Jordan's King Abdullah tipped his hand earlier this week by suggesting that what Iraq needs now is another strongman, preferably some Baathist or Sunni general who could impose a little order in the usual Mideast manner. By the way, the King dislikes Mr. Chalabi and is a promoter of Mr. Brahimi. The thought of other Middle Eastern rulers assailing Mr. Chalabi for corruption is also amusing.
One other irony, we suppose, is that yesterday's coalition raid might actually help Mr. Chalabi in political terms. It should certainly free him of any taint of being an American puppet. With Mr. Brahimi likely to freeze him out after June 30, Mr. Chalabi will be able to devote himself to building a party to run in the elections currently scheduled for January 2005. It's no compliment to our work in Iraq that we may have turned opposition to America into an Iraqi political asset.
Cutting Off Chalabi
May 21, 2004
The warnings to Ahmed Chalabi from U.S. officials who run the increasingly troubled occupation of Iraq have been both subtle and brutal in recent weeks.
They have ranged from a small bureaucratic victory for the CIA, which persuaded the Bush administration to cut off funding for Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC), to an admonition voiced by a senior U.S. official to a friend of the once-and-future Iraqi dissident:
"We can bring the full force of U.S. power to bear against him. He should not forget that."
The threat turned into harsh reality in Baghdad Wednesday night when Iraqi policemen stormed into Chalabi's bedroom, allegedly searching for six lower-ranking members of his political organization who may or may not have been involved in car theft, currency fraud or other unspecified misbehavior, according to assorted and authorized media leaks in Washington. In the end, the police carted off at least one computer, files and, most critically, a score or more of weapons from the Iraqi politician's own security guards.
Overseeing the raid were uniformed U.S. military police officers and armed Americans in civilian clothes who refused to identify themselves to Francis Brooke, Chalabi's American political adviser. Brooke -- who once worked for a CIA front organization -- said from Baghdad yesterday that he had no doubt that the civilians were U.S. intelligence agents.
In the chaos rapidly enveloping the occupation of Iraq, the scene can only encourage Baathist killers or others who would be willing to rid the occupation authority of this meddlesome Shiite politician. Torture by proxy is already an issue in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. Murder by proxy now seems within the realm of the possible in U.S.-occupied Iraq.
The raid carved into concrete and then flashed a spotlight on the message that Chalabi will receive no protection from U.S. occupation forces. It was also a direct statement about the low ebb of the former exile's political fortunes in the Bush administration. Those who once supported him, including Vice President Cheney, seem either powerless or not disposed to help him now, while his foes treat the Baghdad raid as a victory lap.
I met Chalabi in Beirut in 1972 in the early stages of his long campaign to bring down Saddam Hussein. Going it alone and engendering controversy are nothing new for this U.S.-educated math professor, whose Amman bank was confiscated by Jordanian authorities in 1989 amid allegations of corruption.
Those allegations did not prevent the Clinton administration from approving CIA funding of Chalabi's INC organization for nearly four years in the 1990s. Only in 1997, when he went public in an interview with me about the CIA's expensive, ambivalent and failed covert efforts to overthrow the Iraqi dictator, did Chalabi become a target of agency ire, defamatory leaks and worse.
More recently Chalabi added White House staffers and occupation chief Paul Bremer to the long list of those he has offended and challenged with his domineering manner, prickly sense of nationalism and unshakable self-confidence. By coming out in open, bitter opposition to the latest U.S. transition plan and its rehabilitation of senior Baathists, Chalabi seems to have crossed a final red line.
There is a hugely serious argument to be had at this crucial time on the future of Iraq. Neither Chalabi nor the Americans have all of the answers exactly right. But the impression that heavy-handed tactics have been used primarily to silence an effective critic of re-Baathification is inescapable.
A moderate Shiite who once worked with the shah of Iran (and others) against Hussein, Chalabi has also clashed with Washington over his effort to forge better relations with the current regime in Tehran. And Bremer recently moved to undercut the Chalabi-initiated investigation into kickbacks and corruption in the United Nations' oil-for-food program.
The idea that this raid had nothing to do with Chalabi's bitter opposition to U.S. policy will be seen as laughable by Iraqis and other Arabs. They know of the long American record of supporting or accepting national kleptocracies in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. This raid at this time, when police and military power are urgently needed elsewhere, can only further deepen skepticism about America's dedication to the rule of law and basic fair play in Iraq.
Iraq is not Vietnam. But Baghdad is rapidly turning into a latter-day Saigon -- a place where intelligence agents and prison guards are laws unto themselves and take revenge on uppity locals while senior Americans help or look the other way. Is this the "democracy" President Bush promised to Iraq?
Iran-Hezbollah Link Eyed
May 21, 2004
New York Post
JERUSALEM -- The reason for Israel's ongoing offensive at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip lies hundreds of miles to the east in Iran.
It is Tehran's deepening involvement in Palestinian terrorism directly or through Iran's Hezbollah surrogates in Lebanon that prompted this week's massive hunt for arms-smuggling tunnels at the Gaza town of Rafah.
Tons of weapons are waiting in Egypt's Sinai Desert to be shipped through the tunnels. If the contraband gets through it "would change the balance between Israel and the terrorists," said Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz.
This is not just a matter of rifles and bullets. It is Russian-made Strella shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles and Katyusha rockets and launchers.
It is the same kind of material that Iran tried to smuggle into Gaza in January, 2002, aboard the infamous smuggling ship Karin-A until Israeli commandos seized it in the Red Sea.
These are weapons that, in the hands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, could knock Israeli planes out of the skies and reach towns inside Israel.
The high command considered the arrival of missiles and rockets on the Egyptian side of the Gaza border such an urgent matter that it ordered the massive sweep into Rafah.
Why can't the smuggling be stopped on Egypt's side of the Rafah tunnels?
Zvi Fogel, former chief of staff of Israel's southern command, told The Post that appeals to Egypt to halt the smuggling have been in vain.
"They don't care if Israel bleeds. They would like to see Israel retreating," he said.
Iran Threatens Australia with Sanctions
May 22, 2004
Iran is threatening possible diplomatic and trade sanctions against Australia. The warning is in response to Australia's involvement in Iraq and backing disclosure of Iran's nuclear program to the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
A senior adviser to Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanet says by its actions, Australia has crossed what he calls "a red line".
Hussein Shariatmadari said Canberra could face retaliation from Tehran in response.
"The Australian Government, by endorsing the resolution in the IAEA, showed animosity towards Iran," he said.
"By cooperating with the American led forces, demonstrated a hostile attitude towards us."
Call for Protection of Iran Mujahedeen in Iraq
May 22, 2004
BAGHDAD -- A group of lawyers called on Thursday for international guarantees for the presence in Iraq of the Iranian opposition group, the Peoples Mudjahedeen, after Iraqi sovereignty is restored at the end of June.
On December 9, Iraqs US-installed Governing Council unanimously decided to expel the members of the Peoples Mujahedeen grouped at Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad, branding the opposition movement a terrorist organisation.
But the decision by the interim Governing Council has not been carried out. At a news conference, Iraqi lawyers said it was vital to define the legal position of the thousands of Mujahedeen while the Americans still remain responsible for security as the occupation force.
Young Iranians Seek Out New Role Models
May 22, 2004
The Straits Times
TEHERAN -- Like many of Iran's Shi'ite Muslims, Mr Babak Moradi has a marja, a source of inspiration to act as his spiritual guide throughout life. Unlike many of his faith, however, he does not follow an ayatollah or high-ranking cleric. He takes his lead from American Jack Welsh, the former chief executive officer of General Electric.
'I read his books and I read articles about him,' says the 24-year-old management student. 'It's very important for me that he's old. But his attitude is very young. He's very creative. He's a manager. But first of all, he's a coach.'
Tired of the ageing old clerics who run the country, many restless young Iranians have gravitated to self-help books and self-annointed gurus who promise success and happiness at pricey, well-attended seminars.
They are also seeking out new role models.
Ms Maryam, a 22-year-old photographer who asked that her last name not be published, recently bought and devoured a Farsi translation of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's autobiography.
'She was a normal girl and I wanted to know how a normal girl like me could be successful, too,' she said. 'She was not rich. She was not beautiful. But she became the wife of the president and one of the most successful senators in the United States.'
Cultural observers say the self-help phenomenon is the result of a sense of isolation and misery among Iranians. Although it is loosening up, the country is still run by a clerical dictatorship with harsh social controls and little political freedom.
'The people are in an environment where everything is closed off,' said Mr Moniroo Ravanipour, a critically-acclaimed writer who ekes out a living selling experimental novels. 'They live in a very unhealthy environment that they're unable to change. By reading these books they try to change themselves, to convince themselves that they're special.'
The country's ruling clerics have cast a suspicious eye on the trend, but have not cracked down on it.
Thus, self-help books are best sellers at the busy line of bookstores at Teheran University.
Homegrown gurus, too, have begun popping up, promising happiness and joy amid the Islamic Republic's stresses. There are books on how to improve your memory in an hour, boost your business skills in a day as well as fix your relationship in a week.
'Not only do you have to respect others, but you have to respect yourself,' author Fakhrian Khoshiar writes in the book Self-confidence In One Day.
Gurus charge fans US$50 (S$86) to US$60 a session to attend workshops. A new magazine called Success has advertisements for dozens of them.
Dr Nasrine Jazani is a management expert who gets paid as much as US a day to give companies motivational speeches.
'This millenium is about self-help,' she said. 'And Iranian people are not exceptional.'
Iranians say they're in the market for spiritual advice but not calls from ruling clerics to pray and embrace Islam.
'I'm a Muslim and I accept Islam,' said Ms Maryam. 'But as a young person, the clerics are not interesting to me. They don't talk to young people.'
Former Iran president: US created al Qaeda to encounter ''Iranian system''
Former Iranian president, Hashemi Rafsanjani on Friday condemned the American policies in Iraq and said the US measures and policies are detrimental to the international community.
Speaking in Tehran, Rafsanjani said the United States erroneously thinks it can achieve its aims and objectives by following up false policies in Iraq.
He said supporting the Israeli regime is another mistake committed by the United States.
He went on to say that Al-Qaeda and Taliban which have created so many problems for the modern world have been created by the United States.
According to IRIB, Rafsanjani said the United States has paid a heavy cost for its mistakes in creating Taliban and Al-Qaeda while noting that it created them to encounter with the Iranian system. (Albawaba.com)
Iranian leader projects U.S. Iraq defeat
Tehran, , May. 21 (UPI) -- Iranian Revolutionary Guards chief Rahim Safawi predicted a major U.S. defeat in Iraq and called the United States, Britain and Israel "an axis of evil."
Speaking to a crowd of worshippers at Friday prayers in Tehran, Safawi claimed Washington is "a tool in the hands of Israel." He said Israel, Britain and the United States constitute "an axis of evil."
He said "procrastination" on holding general elections in Iraq and the continuing U.S. and British occupation will further aggravate the situation.
"The United States and its allies will suffer a big defeat and they will be forced to pay the price of their occupation especially that they have turned killings and crimes into a daily happening in both Palestinian and Iraq," Safawi said.
He also criticized the U.S. initiative for a "greater Middle East" aimed at introducing political and economic reforms in Arab countries as a scheme to "create puppy regimes" obedient to Washington.
Lawyers call for Iranian MKO to be protected after Iraqi self-rule
BAGHDAD, May 21 (AFP) - A group of lawyers called Thursday for international guarantees for the presence in Iraq of the Iranian opposition group, the MKO, after Iraqi sovereignty is restored at the end of June.
On December 9, Iraq's US-installed Governing Council unanimously decided to expel the members of the MKO grouped at Camp Ashraf, northeast of Baghdad, branding the opposition movement a "terrorist organisation".
But the decision by the interim Governing Council, many of whose majority Shiite members have close ties with Tehran, has not been carried out.
At a Baghdad news conference, the group of some 300 Iraqi lawyers said it was "vital to define the legal position of the thousands of MKO members while the Americans still remain responsible for security as the occupation force".
That would "prevent the next Iraqi government from using them as a bartering tool with Iran," said the group's representative, Suhail al-Suheil.
The group also called on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to send a mission to Iraq before the planned June 30 handover of limited sovereignty to Iraqis to examine the issue and avoid a "human catastrophe".
Human rights groups say that members of the opposition group are refugees protected by the Geneva Convention.
The MKO set up base in Iraq in 1986 and carried out regular cross-border raids into Iran, with which Iraq fought a bloody war between 1980 and 1988.
Several thousand MKO militiamen were disarmed by US forces following the fall of president Saddam Hussein's regime in April 2003 and barred from undertaking military operations.
The MKO has since turned into a "civilian" group, rather than Iran's main armed group opposition, argued another lawyer, Abed Majid Ibrahim.
"Their presence on Iraqi soil does not threaten (Iraq's) relations with neighbouring countries, even Iran, because it is now only a political organisation," he told AFP.
Iran, the United States and European Union consider the MKO to be a terror group.
US Ambassador Refutes Reports on Possible US Attack On Iran
Baku Today - Report Section
May 21, 2004
Reno Harnish, the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, has dismissed reports by some Azerbaijani media on a possible US attack on Iran.
In an interview with a TV channel, Harnish stated that the US has no intention to launch a bomb strike on Iran using Azerbaijans territory.
Some Azerbaijani news agencies released reports on Tuesday and Wednesday concerning a possible use of force by the US on Iran using the territories of Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Refuting the reports Harnish added that they were based on a certain US publication.
Iran - No Longer a No-Woman's Land
BusinessWeek - By Stanley Reed in Tehran, with Babak Pirouz
May 21, 2004
It was Iran's biggest-ever stock market transaction. At the Tehran Stock Exchange in late January, a frenzied bidding war broke out as the government auctioned off a 35% stake in its state-owned SADRA shipping group. In the middle of the two-hour auction, the exchange's computer crashed, stopping the proceedings for 15 minutes. But the sale went on to fetch $500 million. And it wasn't just the size of the deal that drew attention: Female brokers Mahnaz Sadegh-Nobari and Simindokht Mirdamadi landed the lucrative business.
Women are playing increasingly prominent roles in Iran, and business and industry are no exceptions. A sizable female contingent populates the trading desks at the Tehran exchange. Women are big players in information-technology companies. Some are even penetrating the most traditional male bastions, such as heavy industry. "Women are a gold mine because of their honesty, their hard work, and the care they take in their work," says Shahin Khalili, chairman of Butane Industrial Group, a large family conglomerate.
The rise of women in Iranian business could have profound social implications. Women, who have faced harsh restrictions in the Islamic Republic, are key supporters of reform. As they gain power and money, they are bound to push for greater civil liberties and more accountability. They are also likely to bring new ideas and energy to the economy.
Businesswomen say that over the past few years attitudes toward their presence in factories and offices have changed dramatically as more women have taken jobs and proved their worth. Nazila Noebashari says that 20 years ago, when she was drafted at the age of 18 to take over the management of the family shipping firm, Traf Co., from her ailing father, she was a great curiosity. "Everyone knew where I went," she says, and she was barred from entering Iran's main port, Bandar Abbas. Now, she says, the industry is full of women.
Worklife has also improved for Simin Rezaeifar, who supervises paint quality at Saipa Corp., Iran's second-largest auto maker. In the early days on the job, she says, she used to hear snide comments. But recently her career got a boost when she was sent on two foreign training courses. ``These are good omens,'' she says.
Iranian women are a determined group, outperforming men on the entrance exams to Iran's universities. In 2002-03, some 53% of the students admitted to universities were women. The Islamic regime has inadvertently aided the feminist cause by requiring women to wear Islamic dress. The practice has helped convince traditionalist parents to permit their daughters to attend universities, which used to be perceived as centers of hedonism.
Successful women are trying to help their less fortunate sisters learn business skills. For instance, the Mehr Foundation, founded by Khalili's sister, Mansoureh, provides small loans and counseling to would-be entrepreneurs such as Motahreh Fathi, who prepares herbs and candied fruit for sale in Tehran shops. ``Nothing can stop the women's movement now,'' says Parto Vatamahadi, a foundation staffer. That's certainly how things look in today's Iran.
Note: Iranian woman, unlike Arab woman, have never succumb to male domination. They're far more independent, educated, and strong-willed. The current social and future political revolution in Iran will be because of the females [84% literacy rate]
This just in from Banafsheh...
PLEASE help us Iranians by telling EVERYONE you know to boycot this event.
Shirin Ebadi is nothing more than another Khatami, window dressing that the Islamic Republic has propped up for well-meaning westerners to appreciate; she is a subtle proxy for a morally bankrupt and criminal regime.
She has betrayed the innocent and exhausted people of Iran who have suffered the utter pain and weight of a group of old men whose rage wishes to drag everyone who is not THEM, down to an anti-Democratic and feudal way of life that contradicts sophisticed and visionary 21st century values.
PLEASE pass this on to EVERYONE you know and also let PACE UNIVERSITY and LEHMAN COLLEGE know that this woman who comes and lectures at these American Universities forgets to tell the students and academics of those institutions about the nightmare ALL Iranian University Students endure!
Afshin Molavi's Persian Pilgrimages: Journeys across Iran's review can be found at the link below:
From Afshin Molavi's book "Persian Pilgrimages"
*Afshin attends anti-US, anti-Israel rally in Iran*
The hard-liners attracted a small audience, no more than one hundred people trivial in comparison to the thousands of students who regularly agitated for freedom of the press and democracy. Several young bearded men in black shirts stood atop a stage, passing around a blue loud speaker.
"Death to America" he yelled.
"Death to Israel!" he yelled.
A number of foreign journalists stood in the crowd. For every three demonstrators there was one foreign based journalist.
One student on the edge, a young man in sunglasses approached me as i jotted notes. "Are you a journalist?" He asked.
At first, he was friendly. He thought i worked for an Iranian reformist paper. When he found out i worked for a Western newspaper, he became agitated and angry. "You Western journalists record these fanatics on camera, and then you show them to the world and the world thinks we are all fanatics. It is not fair!" He walked away, huffing.
sorry bad link above
Freedom 4 Iran!
JORDAN TIP EXPOSED CHALABI AS IRAN 'SPY'
By NILES LATHEM
May 22, 2004 -- WASHINGTON - Jordan's King Abdullah fueled the U.S. move against Iraqi leader Ahmed Chalabi by providing bombshell intelligence that his group was spying for Iran, The Post has learned.
An explosive dossier that the Jordanian monarch recently brought with him to White House sessions with President Bush detailed Mafia-style extortion rackets and secret information on U.S. military operations being passed to Iran, diplomats said.
That new information led to the Bush administration's decision to stop its $340,000-a-month payments to Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress and back an aggressive Iraqi criminal probe into his activities.
The file was compiled by Jordan's intelligence service, which has had an interest in Chalabi since the 1990s, when the Iraqi exile leader was convicted in absentia for embezzling millions of dollars.
The scandal stemmed from the collapse of the Bank of Petra, which Chalabi controlled, the diplomatic officials said.
Just months ago, Chalabi had been favored by Bush administration hard-liners as the next leader of Iraq and sat behind First Lady Laura Bush at the State of the Union Address in January.
The Pentagon airlifted Chalabi and members of the INC into Iraq the day after Saddam Hussein fell and gave them prominent roles in the new governing council, in charge of the Finance Ministry and ridding Iraqi government agencies of Saddam's Ba'ath Party.
But the U.S. already felt burned by the INC's involvement in passing on questionable pre-war intelligence on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.
On Thursday, the relationship came to a bitter end as Iraqi police, backed by U.S. troops and FBI agents, raided Chalabi's palatial Baghdad home and issued arrest warrants for 15 members of the INC.
Officially, the raid was described as part of an Iraqi probe, launched by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq.
Among the charges being pursued is that INC members on the government's "de-Ba'athification committee" instead ran a scheme in which they demanded payoffs from ex-Ba'ath Party members. In return, those Ba'athists were allowed to avoid arrest or to stay off lists the INC was preparing of people banned from jobs in the new Iraqi government, sources said.
Chalabi aides running the new government's Finance Ministry are also accused of ripping off $22 million from the Iraqi Treasury when Iraq issued new currency late last year, U.S. officials said.
King Abdullah's dossier provided critical confirmation of U.S intelligence gathered elsewhere that the INC was playing a double game with Ba'athists and that Chalabi and his security chief were passing sensitive information to Iran.
That was when the Bush administration decided to break all ties with Chalabi, sources said.
Chalabi accused the United States of trying to intimidate him at a time when he is speaking out against the U.S. occupation and threatening to go public with bombshell files on the U.N. oil-for-food scandal.
Yesterday, he called an emergency meeting of the Governing Council seeking to get official condemnation of the raid.
Keep a close watch on Ms. Maryam. She's picked a bad role model...
I agree with you, but she picked an American role model and that is important.
If we send Hillary to Tehran as a member of Majlis (Parliament), I guess that it will be an advantage to both countries.
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