May 23, 2004

Strange Bedfellows


FoxNews reports: Iran Rejects Chalabi Spying Accusations.

Iran acknowledged Sunday it had a strong dialogue with embattled Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi, but rejected accusations that he passed classified intelligence to Iran. Chalabi's long-standing contacts with Iran have left some in the U.S. government suspicious about his intentions.

Chalabi has denied allegations from American intelligence sources that he handed over sensitive information to Iran about the U.S. occupation, but he admits: "I met with Iranian officials about a month and a half ago. ... And we meet people from the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad regularly, as do all members of the Governing Council."

Columnist Michael Ledeen has his own suspicions about the spying allegations: Lying into the Mirror. (Via LGF) Ledeen seems to me to be cutting Chalabi too much slack for dealing with the Iranians at all, by blaming a lack of American support for Chalabi. But Ledeen makes a good point regarding America's appeasement of the Iranian regime:

Finally, it's hilarious to see this crowd of diplomats and intelligence officers attacking an Iraqi for talking too much to Iranians, when Powell's State Department and Tenet's CIA has been meeting with Iranians for years.

And Ledeen's overall conclusion is worth noting:

All of this is the inevitable result of the fundamental misunderstanding of the war against the terror masters. It is a regional war, not a war limited to a single country. Since we refuse to admit this, we are unable to design an effective strategy to win. Deceiving ourselves, we lie to the mirror, saying that defeats are really victories [re: Fallujah], that Baathists are our friends and independent minded Shiites are our enemies [re: Chalabi], and that appeasement of the mullahs will end their long war against the United States. ... Has anyone told the president?

If it turns out that Chalabi or someone working for him really did pass vital military information to the Iranians, then the culpable parties should be arrested. But at the same time, the American government should stop treating the Iranian regime with diplomatic kid gloves and start treating it as the enemy it is.

UPDATE May 26: The Wall Street Journal has a very informative editorial on Chalabi: The Chalabi Fiasco: He's a pawn in a much larger strategic game.

Posted by Forkum at May 23, 2004 03:37 PM