Tuesday, June 08, 2004

What a difference a year makes. I watched Ahmad Chalabi being interviewed on AlArabiyyah and was astonished to how far he has traveled. This person, whose popularity is lower than Saddam in Iraq (according to public opinion surveys) is trying so hard to position himself in the post-US era. Al-Hayat newspaper is reporting today that several members of the former governing council are leaving Iraq, running for their lives. Chalabi's last gamble is the Shi`ite sectarian card. He sounded like Muqtada As-Sadr today trying to engage in one-upmanship with other Shi`ite leaders, berating the Americans for their violent campaigns in the holy cities, and recounting how he wanted to stay in Najaf to suffer the plight of his Shi`ite brothers. The profile of Chalabi in New Yorker reminded of the first time I heard of his name. Judith Kipper of the Council on Foreign Relations was quoted about him in that article. I knew her when I was a graduate student in the late 1980s and once before leaving to Lebanon she urged me to call and meet this "amazing" Ahmad Chalabi, who was close to the Amal militia in Lebanon at the time, having fled with his millions from Jordan. I wrote his phone number down (I still have it on one old address book) but never called him. The Daily Telegraph on Sunday reported on Saddam's spoiled (all the tyrant's kids are spoiled) daughter Raghd. Apparently, her lifestyle has not changed much since her father's capture. She seems to be enjoying the spoils of her father's plunder of Iraq's wealth.