Iraq: May 21, 2004


American troops and Iraqi troops raided the compound of Ahmad Chalabi, and seized computers and documents. Chalabi is accused of passing sensitive information to the Iranian government. Apparently Chalabi did not realize that Iran has been a principal target of American intelligence for many years and anyone dealing with the Iranians secretly would have to be extremely careful. Chalabi is a Shia Arab from a prominent Iraqi family, has been a leading Iraqi exile for many years. A brilliant fellow, but someone who is not quite as capable as he thinks he is, was convicted of a half billion dollar banking scam in Jordan during the 1980s. But he used much of that money to buy influence elsewhere. Although he had not been in Iraq since the 1960s, he established and Iraqi National Congress and convinced the Department of Defense that he had the backing of much of the Iraqi exile community (over a million people.) Since 2000, Chalabi has been receiving $340,000 a month for consulting services. This has recently been stopped. After Saddam fell, Chalabi proved to have no support inside Iraq, as Iraqis were bitter at exiles returning and attempting to establish themselves as political leaders. But Chalabi used money, corruption and his connections with the Americans and Iranians to build a network of support. It is feared that Chalabi has been at the center of many corrupt deals since his return to Iraq last year. 


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