Chalabi, Iran, and Iraq

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by slammajamma, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. Recent article by Joe Duarte

    In recent articles, we have pointed out that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd opened up a can of worms about the intelligence failure that led to the U.S. not having found WMD in Iraq. Dowds views, can be summarized by saying that the Bush and Rumsfeld camp in the Bush administration were fed bad intelligence consistently from one single source, the Iraqi National Council chief, Ahmed Chalabi, now a member of the Iraqi Governing Council.

    Stratfor added to the plausibility of the Dowd report by describing a situation in which there was clear evidence of Chalabi having had significant contacts with the Iranian government for many years.

    The logic that emerges is fairly straight forward. Chalabi is the only really known link between the U.S. and Iran. Chalabi is a Shiite. The Shiites are the majority population in Iraq. It is known that the Iranians are hoping that Iraq becomes a Shiite dominated country. Stratfor, for months has been putting forth the thought that the Iranians, the U.S., and the Iraqi Shiites, led by Ayatollah al-Sistani, have come to some sort of agreement, and that because Americans and Iranians have been taught to hate each other for 30 years, their respective governments have been very slow to break the news to their populations, that the two governments have reached an agreement as to how the new Iraqi government will be divided.

    Now, the new developments.

    Means Justify Ends

    According to a 2-19 report in the London Daily Telegraph: An Iraqi leader accused of feeding faulty prewar intelligence to Washington said his information about Saddam Hussein's weapons - even if discredited - achieved the aim of persuading the United States to topple the dictator. Ahmed Chalabi and his London-based exile group, the Iraqi National Congress, for years provided a conduit for Iraqi defectors who were debriefed by U.S. intelligence agents.

    The Telegraph noted that many American officials now blame Mr. Chalabi for providing what turned out to be false or wildly exaggerated intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Other than Maureen Dowd, and Stratfor.com, were not sure who the many are, though, since we havent seen this story taken up anywhere else, aside from our own web site. Our own submissions to major outlets about the story were met with a resounding silence.

    Nevertheless, the Telegraph gave the story a good run, and noted that during an interview, Mr. Chalabi, by far the most effective anti-Saddam lobbyist in Washington, shrugged off charges that he had deliberately misled U.S. intelligence. ["We are heroes in error,"] he said in Baghdad on Wednesday. ["As far as we're concerned, we've been entirely successful. Our objective has been achieved. That tyrant Saddam is gone, and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important."]

    And now, it gets more interesting, and suggestive that indeed Dowd and Stratfors reports and analysis were correct, as the Telegraph wrote: Mr. Chalabi added: ["The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat. We're ready to fall on our swords if [President Bush] wants."]

    Our own assertion that this is a very significant story, and that because the U.S. media is enamoured with the trials and tribulations of Senators Edwards and Kerry, they have totally ignored it, is echoed by the Telegraph, who wrote: (Chalabis) comments are likely to inflame the debate on both sides of the Atlantic over the quality of prewar intelligence, and over the way it was presented by Mr. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair as they argued for military action.

    The Telegraph continued by reprising the situation as it is being spun in Washington: U.S. officials said last week that one of the most celebrated pieces of false intelligence, the claim that Saddam had mobile biological-weapons laboratories, had come from a major in the Iraqi intelligence service made available by the INC. But, then the report took a more somber tone as the paper revealed that U.S. officials at first found the information credible, and the defector passed a lie-detector test. But in later interviews it became apparent that he was stretching the truth and had been ["coached by the INC."] He failed a second polygraph test, and intelligence agencies were warned that the information was unreliable in May 2002.

    And here is where the whole thing gets very dicey. According to the Telegraph analysts missed the warning, and the mobile-lab story remained firmly established in the catalog of purported Iraqi violations until months after the overthrow of Saddam. The United States at one point claimed to have found two mobile labs, but the trucks were later reported to have held equipment to make hydrogen for weather balloons.

    The Telegraph then added: Last week, State Department officials conceded that much of the firsthand testimony they had received was ["shaky."] [What the INC told us formed one part of the intelligence picture,"] said a senior official in Baghdad. ["But what Chalabi told us, we accepted in good faith. Now there are going to be a lot of question marks over his motives."]

    Our sources inside the beltway tell us that not too many insiders in Washington have  picked up on the Iran-Chalabi connection yet. When they do, it could be devastating for the Administration. Our source suggests that such a moment of lucidity among the Washington insider crowd could lead to some head scratching, and question asking such [You mean we were tricked into fighting the wrong enemy (which actually had no nuclear weapons) because the right enemy (which has nuclear weapons) played us?" ]

    Also interesting, and confirmatory of the negative potential this story could have on the Bush chances for re-election, if the major media began to get involved, was the reaction of a well connected fellow off of whom we often bounce ideas about the state of the Republican party in general. While he said little, as we ran the story past him, the color of his face, pale, and the size of his eyes, wide, spoke in volumes. More interesting was the speed with which he changed subject, and excused himself.
     
  2. Oil Is Thicker Than Ideology

    The interesting notions about a relationship between Iran and the U.S. continue to emanate from Stratfor.com. This usually reliable intelligence service, viewed by our subscribers, and others on the Internet, as being a conservative think tank in disguise, and claimed by others to be a mouthpiece for the Bush administration, the CIA, and many other things, has consistently predicted that the U.S. and Iran have made a deal, and that both countries have been trying to slowly spring the news on their respective populations slowly, due to the long term hatred between the two nations.

    The latest installment from Stratfor notes the following. Now that the Iranian conservatives have won the election, and have consolidated power, the clerical regime is trying to attract U.S. companies to invest in business ventures entailing 25 years' worth of commitment -- showing that the conservative powerbrokers in the Islamist republic have consolidated their position in Tehran. These statements indicate that the conservative-controlled government finally is ready to take its secret relationship with the United States to the next level without risking embarrassment.

    The Stratfor piece, interestingly coincides with a New York Times article that is focusing on the possibility that Saudi Arabia is running out of oil faster than they are letting on to. On 2-24, Jeff Gerth, in the Times, wrote: [Saudi Arabias] oil fields now are in decline, prompting industry and government officials to raise serious questions about whether the kingdom will be able to satisfy the world's thirst for oil in coming years. Energy forecasts call for Saudi Arabia to almost double its output in the next decade and after. Oil executives and government officials in the United States and Saudi Arabia, however, say capacity will probably stall near current levels, potentially creating a significant gap in the global energy supply.

    The statement, should come as no surprise to readers of this space, since even as far back as Successful Energy Service Investing, our premise has been that the easy oil has been found, and that oil prices would have to stabilize at higher levels and eventually move higher. Our own premise has not been that the world is running out of oil, but that the easy to find oil has been found, and that any future development will come from increasingly difficult to find and develop fields. We have also repeatedly noted that the first clue that Saudi oil reserves were not necessarily what they kingdom was touting, came when the major oil companies failed to agree on a deal with regards to Saudi natural gas. Off the record, the majors consistently noted that they did not believe the Saudi estimates about the actual natural gas reserves. It didnt take much of a leap to assume the same sort of thing about the oil reserves.

    In fact, oil and natural gas reserve estimates, have come under increased scrutiny of late, as Royal Dutch Shell announced major revisions about its oil reserves, and natural gas pipeline major El Paso, also revised its own reserves down in the last few days.

    According to the Times article, quoting unnamed experts: An internal Saudi Aramco plan, estimates total production capacity in 2011 at 10.15 million barrels a day, about the current capacity. But to meet expected world demand, the United States Department of Energy's research arm says Saudi Arabia will need to produce 13.6 million barrels a day by 2010 and 19.5 million barrels a day by 2020. ["In the past, the world has counted on Saudi Arabia,"] one senior Saudi oil executive said. ["Now I don't see how long it can be maintained."]

    The Times confirms our own view when it says that Saudi Arabia, the leading exporter for three decades, is not running out of oil. Industry officials are finding, however, that it is becoming more difficult or expensive to extract it. Today, the country produces about eight million barrels a day, roughly one-tenth of the world's needs. It is the top foreign supplier to the United States, the world's leading energy consumer.
    ,br> Thus, at a time when China is increasing its demand, the U.S. economy is in some sort of recovery, or at least has stopped contracting, and Europe and Japan are stabilizing, the situation becomes more difficult, but also provides opportunities for countries such as Libya and now apparently Iran.

    According to Stratfor, the recent crackdown on the Iranian left, meaning the disqualification of a large number of liberal candidates for parliament, by the conservative clerics, was a prelude to a more open relationship with the United States: If it were up to (Iranian President) Khatami and the reformist camp, U.S.-Iranian relations now would be overt and public. The conservatives -- with their careful constitutional engineering -- have circumscribed the president and his cabinet in areas in which the conservatives felt threatened. The conservatives know well that they eventually would be ousted if they let Iran's relations take their own course. The unelected clerics know that Washington's dealings with elected officials could strengthen the reformists, who in time could effect a coup.

    Thus, in effect, the shift in tactics for the election, has given the conservatives the ability to run the U.S. game on their own terms, without the threat of being ousted. Stratfor concludes that conservatives likely gained confidence from dealing with Washington and Europe -- over Iraq, the Iranian nuclear program and al Qaeda -- that the West would look the other way if the reformists were ousted. The United States and Europe have criticized the Iranian elections, but the relatively mild tone of officials' statements indicates that the West is willing to ignore Tehran's manipulation of the electoral process for the sake of larger interests. The United States and Europe are much more interested in securing cooperation on the aforementioned issues from Tehran than squabbling over election practices. Dealing with a unified government firmly controlled by those who exercise ultimate authority is the best way to realize this objective. Divisions among the reformists and their inability to command mu ch public support also gave the green light to conservatives to go ahead with their plans.