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Sunday, August 08, 2004

Chalabi(s) Down. Again.

Breaking news alert says the Iraqi government has issued arrest warrants for Ahmed Chalabi and his nephew Salem Chalabi. Both are currently out of the country, to say nothing of Ahmed Chalabi's having fallen, as well, out of favor. The younger Chalabi was just on CNN International, phoning in from London and sounding quite bewildered as to how on earth such a development could have come about, pleading ignorance as well as innocence.

Salem, it should be said, currently heads the tribunal tasked with trying Saddam Hussein. It should be said that in this position he would be privy to a great deal of information related to Saddam's government, including those that may embarrass the Bush administration, should they get a good deal of attention (a longshot, unfortunately, in today's corporate media environment).

I'm off now to investigate further and will report back when and if I have more. For now, just a perspective, nothing more. If I were to learn that the warrants were issued with the primary purpose of simply keeping the Chalabis out of the country for the foreseeable future, as insurance against Chalabi launching a coup or some more benign political opposition to Allawi's government, I would not be surprised in the least. For Allawi to imprison him for the same reason would surprise me even less.

Chalabi himself is on the phone with CNN right now, saying he's heading back to Iraq with his lawyers to face "these lies." This should be very interesting to watch develop. Very interesting indeed.

The warrant was a new sign of the fall of Ahmed Chalabi from the centers of power. Chalabi, a longtime exile opposition leader, had been a favorite of many in the Pentagon but fell out with the Americans earlier this year.

His nephew, Salem Chalabi, heads the tribunal that is due to try Saddam on war crimes charges.

"They should be arrested and then questioned and then we will evaluate the evidence, and then if there is enough evidence, they will be sent to trial," said Judge Zuhair al-Maliky.

Arrested first, then questioned, and then they'll see if the Chalabis should go to trial. That's the democracy we've brought to Iraq. And that's its good side.

More as it comes.

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