November 13, 2007

Ahmad Chalabi is Back

Christian Berthelsen of The Los Angeles Times writes about the new role that was given to Ahmad Chalabi, the infamous conduit of bogus intelligence that was used to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Now the 63-year-old Chalabi, ever the political chameleon, has maneuvered back into prominence and power. Prime Minister Nouri Maliki appointed him to a pivotal position last month overseeing the restoration of vital services to Baghdad residents such as electricity, potable water, healthcare and education. The U.S. and Iraqi governments say the job is crucial to cement security gains of recent months - and that failure could cause the country to backslide into chaos.
Seems that Mr Maliki is not fazed by Chalabi being a fugitive from justice, having been convicted in absentia for bank fraud in Jordan in 1992. I wouldn't trust him with a penny of public funds.
Chalabi espouses free-market doctrine as the best way to cure the area's ills, a prescription that would buoy his neoconservative benefactors if they were here to hear it.

"Everyone is looking for employment with the government," he says. "This is a dead end. It's not possible. We need to get the economy going. Construction projects are needed."

With a billoin dollars in seed money from the Iraqi government for housing projects and a loan program to help residents buy a home, he says, "we would have no unemployment."
Exactly what does a billion dollars of "seed money" from the government have to do with free-market doctrine? I guess he is not getting that seed money anytime soon.

Are housing projects and a "loan program" really the best way to alleviate the huge problems of no electricity, no drinkable water and no health care? I can't imagine that the first thing on the minds of the Baghdad residents would be plunging themselves into debt.

Ahmad Chalabi is a former banker. The old saying fits his situation pretty well: When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Seeing what the "free-market" doctrine--actually, a financial-political cartel--of his buddies in Washington and New York has brought about, the Iraqi government would be well advised to stay away from him. But maybe they could use him as a negative indicator and a decoy for trapping corrupt officials.

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