The New Baghdad Government

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Memo
To: Porter Goss, Director, CIA
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Iranians in Iraq

We
have never met, Mr. Goss, but the CIA has a thick file on me, as
I have cooperated with the agency several times over the years,
especially during the Cold War. Lately, though, there is a good
chance you have been tracking my website because of my writings
about the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular. During
the years leading up to the intervention in 2003 I played devil’s
advocate for the Baghdad regime and publicly and privately argued
against the need for invasion and war. I had been persuaded by my
own intelligence sources that Saddam Hussein possessed no weapons
of mass destruction and was no threat to the U.S. or to the region
(including Israel). I passed all my findings on to high officials
of the Bush administration, obviously to no avail.

The
reason I’m writing now is that I have looked over the new government
installed in Baghdad and am frankly amazed that while I once believed
it might be a puppet government of ours, it now begins to look like
a puppet government of Iran’s. Yes, it may have been carefully
screened to assure the U.S. would have a permanent imperial outpost
in that part of the world, but I seriously doubt that President
Bush realizes what’s going on. Thinking back to the Iran-Iraq
war (1980–88), I remember we were somewhat surprised that Iraq
won the war, that we fully expected Iran, with three times the population,
would prevail, even though weakened by eight years of war. It now
seems Tehran has used its diplomatic skills and close friends like
Ahmed Chalabi to renew the struggle with the Ba’ath Party and
“win the war” with Iraq via the back door, held open by
the American armed forces.

In
other words, from top to bottom, the new government is clearly “Iranian.”
This is not only because it is dominated by Shiites who have long
had close ties to Tehran, but because its Kurdish component, which
is technically Sunni, fought on the side of Iran during the Iran-Iraq
war for political reasons. I’m beginning to think the Iranian
mullahs have more than a passing interest in the new government,
that they may have a well-thought-out plan to run the show from
Tehran.

You
may not realize it, being new in your post at the CIA, but Prime
Minister Ibhrahim al-Jaafari is an Iraqi only nominally. If you
look into his past, you will find he, like a great many Shiites
from the south of Iraq, literally considered themselves “Iranians.”
It was in 1972 that Saddam, on a visit to Basra, was shocked on
a walk through the bazaar to find few of the people there speaking
Arabic. They spoke Persian and looked to Tehran with their loyalties.
This is when the Ba’ath Party began a crackdown on sectarianism,
with many thousands of those Shiites pulling up stakes and emigrating
to Iran, where they knit together politically in their new Dawa
Party. Dawa undertook what we would have to call “terrorist”
activities against the Baghdad regime in the years following, with
atrocities galore. The new prime minister, Mr. al-Jaafari, was a
leader of Dawa.

Then
there is Ahmed Chalabi who “won” a seat in the National
Assembly in the January elections by virtue of being placed near
the top of the slate of his party, assuring him a seat even if the
party got a small vote. Next, Prime Minister al-Jaafari selects
Chalabi as one of two deputy prime ministers, which means if something
“happens” to Jaafari, Chalabi will be there to take over.
And because Jaafari can’t quite decide on whom to make defense
minister or oil minister, he names himself acting defense minister
and Chalabi acting oil minister!! And Chalabi, a Shi’ite who
is more responsible for the United States going to war against Iraq
in order to get Saddam out of power so Chalabi could get that power,
has for decades been palsy-walsy with the Iranian government. He
also was rooting for Iranians during the war with Iraq, has a villa
in Tehran where he hangs out at times, and had been accused by our
intelligence community (including your CIA) of passing secrets he
acquired from his neo-con friends (Perle and Wolfowitz) to the Iranians.
How much more “Persian” can you get, huh? Don’t you
smell a rat?

Which
brings us to the Iraqi interim president Jalal al-Talibani. Yes,
I know the American press corps has fallen all over itself pumping
him up as a true democrat and longtime foe of Saddam on behalf of
the brutalized Kurds. But if you check him out thoroughly, you will
find he has a past as checkered as Chalabi’s. Like Chalabi
has spent quite a bit of time in Tehran enjoying the hospitality
of the mullahs and over the years had an on-again-off-again relationship
with Saddam, depending upon which way the winds were blowing in
Kurdistan. And of course, during the war with Iran, he was on Iran’s
side. Can you see how Iraqi nationalists might view him as another
quisling, now their “president”?

How
do Iran’s leaders think they can get away with any plan to
control Iraq, with it being an almost certainty that the U.S. armed
forces will be hanging around indefinitely? Then just last week,
I spotted an item on the Bloomberg wire that had me scratching my
head:

Iraq’s Mahdi
Lobbies Bush Officials on Ministry, Azzaman Says
2005-04-25 04:23 (New York)
By Caroline Alexander

April 25
(Bloomberg) – Adel Abdel Mahdi, one of Iraq’s two vice-presidents,
spent the past three days in Washington pressing the Bush administration
for permission to give the Interior Ministry to a Shiite, Azzaman
newspaper said. Mahdi wants a member of his Supreme Council for
the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, known as Sciri, to get the post,
the Iraqi daily said, citing unidentified U.S. officials. Mahdi
gave assurances that a member of Sciri won’t adopt policies that
contradict the security plans of the U.S. military in Iraq, it
said, citing the officials. Mahdi, a member of the United Iraqi
Alliance that won the most seats in Iraq’s Jan. 30 vote for a
National Assembly, was appointed April 6. Prime Minister-designate
Ibhrahim al-Jaafari is struggling to name 31 members of his cabinet
before a May 7 deadline.

For one thing,
the item made clear the Bush administration does not have the “hands-off”
policy toward the nascent “democracy” in Iraq that we
are told. For another, it points out an intense interest of the
Shiites in getting a member of Sciri to head the Interior Ministry.
In the U.S., the Secretary of Interior looks after the environment,
Mr. Goss, but in Iraq, it represents the national police and controls
the movement of people into and out of the state. I checked this
out with my intelligence sources and was told by e-mail:

Sciri’s plans
are an Iranian scheme to change the demography of Iraq by bringing
in as many Iranians to Iraq as possible. The interior ministry
is vital for them so that they can give Iraqi passports to a million
Iranians in the coming decades. The new interior minister, Baqir
Jab Solagh, was Sciri’s spokesman in Syria in the 1990s. Nobody
knows where is he from. His second name, Solagh, is Iranian, and
his origin is widely disputed. His connections with the Iranians
are deeply rooted. He lied a lot about his origin, because his
second name has always faced criticism. On Feb. 29, 2000 he said
in an interview with Al Jazeera "I am an Arab despite all
rumors surrounding my origin." He claimed to be a member
of the well-known Iraqi Arab tribe Zubaid, but here we are seeing
him as a Turkman minister.

He claimed
that he changed his name when he joined the Iraqi opposition to
protect his family in Iraq, and claimed that Saddam secret services
managed to reveal his real identity in 1990 and started to kill
and torture his family members. Now the question is: If his real
identity was revealed in 1990, why does he continue to use the
same controversial name that brought him headache?

Now
I’m just an ordinary American citizen, living in Morristown,
N.J. I’ve never been to Iraq and hardly ever travel at all
anymore. But in my youth I worked as a journalist and get the knack
of developing sources of information that I could trust, and who
could trust me. I kind of acted like a CIA agent, except I came
to believe there were not that many imaginative employees of the
CIA who had that knack. Which is why I am offering you my assistance
in this matter, Director Goss. I would have written this to the
new National Intelligence Czar, John Negroponte, but I still worry
that he is an extension of the neo-con cabal that has gotten us
into this mess in the first place. You might have one foot in that
cabal, but it would have more chance of getting to the President
if you passed this on to Negroponte than if I did.

P.S.
One of these days, you might also ask your intelligence analysts
why we are doing everything we can to confront Iran over its nuclear
program and at the same time handing Iraq over to it.

May
2, 2005

Jude
Wanniski [send him mail]
runs the financial/political advisory service Wanniski.com.

Jude
Wanniski Archives

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