Monday, April 04, 2005

The Twisted Tale of Chalabi and Brownback

For a short while, Ahmed Chalabi became one of the most well known faces of the Iraqi opposition groups. He was the head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) which was a group of exiles working to overthrow Saddam. On the strength of the old adage "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" Chalabi became very important to the US intelligence gathering operations surrounding Iraq.

While Chalabi was making inroads with the US intelligence community, Brownback was sitting on the powerful Senate Foreign Relations committee. He repeatedly called Chalabi to testify to the mounting dangers of Saddam and WMDs. An article in the LA Times from April 8th 2003 illustrates how Brownback felt about Chalabi:
"I worked with him for a good five years. He is the only guy I've seen that is able to organize the Iraqi opposition and hold them together," said Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "He's bright and tireless and he really works at holding the big principles together."

In 1998 Brownback co-sponsored The Iraqi Liberation Act which gave 3 million dollars to Chalabi's INC for the purpose of weakening Saddam's regime. While he was supporting the INC, he acknowledged they were not a perfect solution. In a January 3rd, 1999 New York Times article Brownback describes the INC by saying, "Every one of them has warts."

During the ensuing war, Brownback complained that there was not enough of an "Iraqi face" on the operation. He went on to complain how the INC was not given the respect it deserved. Shortly after Chalabi was playing a key role in the reconstruction of Iraq.

We all know what has happened to Chalabi lately. He was accused of espionage and collaboration with the Iranians. He continues to deny that he passed cryptographic secrets to Iran. Brownback has never had to answer for his role in bringing credibility to Chalabi and aiding him in his deception of the west. In a Wichita Eagle article on October 23rd 2004 Brownback claims he has not spoken to Chalabi in "months."

An excellent overview of the Chalabi - Brownback connection was written by Pitch Magazine in Kansas City. I would suggest this as a starting point. The wikipedia entry for Chalabi also gives good background information on the man and his deceptions.

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