Ahmad Chalabi " Iraq's Sovereignty - always my Priority"
If you think that the above title is a joke, think again. This is not satire. This is exactly what Ahmad Chalabi said in an interview with the gutsy Souhair Al-Qayssi, Iraqi female reporter, yesterday on Al-Arabyia TV.
I have already covered such an interview with one of his sleek "aides" Entifadh Qanbar and you can read it here.
When wanting to write this post, I looked for a picture of Ahmad Chalabi. I had no problem finding one. I settled for the first one that showed up in my search.
The above picture of Chalabi was taken in what was called the White House Iraq group with J.Allbaugh, Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Dick Cheney. And this is what Dick said about Chalabi: "When it comes to Perception Management, Ahmed Chalabi and Joe Allbaugh have the best of intentions for the future of Iraq." (source).
But let me not get sidetracked as I don't want to forget all the details of this interview that lasted about 20 mn.
And frankly I felt so ill in those 20 mn, I was unable to eat anything the whole evening. I felt so ill because never in my life have I come across someone who can lie so much in such little space of time. Except maybe for one person I knew, but at least he/she did not have bloodied hands like Chalabi's.
Chalabi was obnoxious with Souhair Al-Qayssi and she would not let him off the hook, he did not intimidate her with his aggressiveness and she grilled him...Good for you Souhair, you're my kind of an Iraqi woman !
At one point his lies were so blatant that S.Al-Kayssi could not contain her laughter...this is how comic it was ...but let me not waste more time with my introduction and let's get down to what Chalabi said. I did take short notes but I am not a secretary and my mind is not a computer bank for storing data either..so there may be some grotesque lies that I may not remember as well...
S.Q : Why the fall out with the U.S ?
A.C : The U.S wants to bring back the Baath to Iraq so they can fight Iran in Iraq (no joke) Since 2004, I knew that this was Bremer's plan, after I initiated the De-baathification process and that is why I backed off. Now the U.S feels remorse for having removed the Baathists and they want them back in.
S.Q : (smiling wide) But you were close to the CIA yourself and you welcomed with open arms the U.S occupation, what changed ?
A.C : We (the Iraqi National Congress/opposition) have always refused the Occupation (no joke). I stood in the U.S congress in 1998 and asked for the liberation of Iraq and not its occupation. The cooperation with the US was limited, with the sole aim of removing Saddam Hussein, they liberate us and then they leave. I only have the best of interests for Iraq and its sovereignty ...
S.Q : But you had a honeymoon season with the U.S and some say you worked for the CIA and that the Justice and Accountability Committee which you now head was formed by Bremer himself...
A.C : Me, the CIA, never ! I went to Bremer with my daughter (her name is T.Chalabi) and told him you are not giving us sovereignty, you are not allowing a full Iraqi government as you promised, I even told Manning (some British Foreign official) that even Gertrude Bell in the 20's was more merciful in her approach to Iraq than you guys.
S.Q : So this Justice and Accountability Committee is not the work of Bremer ?
A.C : No this Committee is to ensure that no fascist, Baathists comes to power again like Saddam Hussein and it is to preserve the sovereignty of Iraq that the U.S is stripping us from... (no joke)
S.Q : So you are for the Sovereignty of Iraq ? (having difficulty containing her laughter)
A.C : Yes of course I am always for the Sovereignty of Iraq, it was and is always my priority.
S.Q : Some say the Justice and Accountability Committee is a tool of Iran what do you have to say to that ?
A.C : Iran ? Iran has always respected the Sovereignty of Iraq.
S.Q : You mean to say that there's no Iranian involvement in Iraq ?
A.C : No none...
S.Q : What about the Faqa oil wells that Iran occupied ?
A.C : We asked them to leave and we solved it diplomatically and they left. It was a misunderstanding. I always defend the Sovereignty of Iraq (no joke. The Iranians still occupy Faqa by the way)
S.Q : News circulate that you have the full backing of Iran and Ahamdinejad for becoming the next Prime Minister. That Iran is doing everything to have you as PM and some even say that you work directly for Iran - what is your response to that ?
A.C : (getting quite aggressive here and interrupting her) This is news for me. I have never heard anything like that. Where do you get your information from ?!
S.Q: Mr.Chalabi, do you want the Iraqi voter to vote for you yes or no ?
A.C : Yes of course..
S.Q : So the Iraqi voter asks himself questions and you are here to dispel rumors are you not? So let's get back to the Justice and Accountability Committee. Why did you ban Al-Mutlaq and Al-Ani ? Are you not promoting sectarianism again ?
A.C : (aggressive again) We, the J & A banned them because they are promoting Baathism. There are court rules here, the law is clear.
S.Q : Abu Risha of the Awakening councils criticized you for this ban and said if we are to use the court rules then you must be held accountable for embezzlement (referring to Petra Bank Affair)
A.C : Abu Risha ? His slain Brother was a man, who is this Abu Risha, he was in Dubai all the time, I was here since the very first day of the Occupation. Al -Hayes is the man today to speak for the Awakenings not Abu-Risha. (this Al-Hayes must be some other Sunni puppet working for INA)
S.Q : So you are not promoting sectarianism then by lumping Sunnis with Baathism and driving them in the arms of Al-Qaeda as some say ?
A.C : Not at all. Sunnis also suffered under Saddam Hussein. the Iraqi National Alliance (INA) is a secular bloc (no joke) and embraces everyone...
S.Q : (this time she can't contain her laughter). A secular bloc ?! What do you call the parties of Muqtada Al-Sadr, of Al-Hakeem of the ISCI , of Jaafari ---are these not Shiite religious parties ?
A.C : Not at all. The INA is a wide movement, a patriotic Iraqi movement that contains liberals, seculars and right wingers with Islamic inclinations (no joke)
S.Q : Mr.Chalabi, I have the manifesto of INA here in my hands and item 2 says very clearly " The (Shiite) Marjaiyah is the highest authority to which all matters are referred"
A.C : And I have the Iraqi constitution booklet in my hand and clause 2 also says (pay attention reader for this is important) No sectarianism in Iraq and the (Shiite) Marjaiyah is the highest authority. So you see, the INA manifesto and the Iraqi constitution are totally in line.
S.Q: INA members did not vote for you in the past and they are backed by Iran how come now you are part of them, is it because Iran is also backing you for PM post ?
A.C : INA is a patriotic, secular movement that deposed the dictator Saddam Hussein and that has a political and economic program for the welfare of all Iraqis. We have thousands of housing projects in mind, we will fight corruption, we will fight unemployment, we have a whole program of economic reform, we even have a special fund for the Iraqi arts....we are for the security. well being and sovereignty of Iraq...
S.Q : Let's talk about corruption here. Every electoral list says it will fight corruption, and corruption has been going on for years now, where were you ? Some say you were too busy politicking instead of fighting corruption. What do you have to say to that ?
A.C : Corruption started with the 1st interim government with Allawi (and Bremer), then Jaafari came to power and there was absolutely no corruption during his reign (my note: Jaafari's advisor was Laith Kubba remind me to tell you about this thing. And during Jaafari's reign, the ethnic cleansing was taking place in parallel to broad day light theft of Iraq's treasury among other things...) But corruption started again with the State of Law- Maliki's government.
S.Q : Time is running out, what are your differences with Maliki's State of Law coalition.Would you like him to join your bloc ?
A.C (important- pay attention reader) We have no major differences with Maliki, we agree on the same ideological principles. Our only difference stem from a management - administrative nature. He (al-Maliki) wanted a certain number of seats guaranteed for his party beforehand...that's it.
S.Q : What are your last words for the Iraqi viewer ?
A.C : Vote for us, for we are the future.
End of interview...for someone who is not a computer nor a secretary, I think I did not do too badly...and seeing how things are going in Iraq, I think Chalabi and Co will not do too badly in the up-coming "elections" either...