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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #105 - 2 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. Brahimi announces presidents (Daniel O'Huiginn)
   2. Chalabi, Feith and company  a sordid tale (Hassan)


Message: 1
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 2004 10:48:30 +0100 (BST)
From: Daniel O'Huiginn <>
Subject: Brahimi announces presidents

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 2004 12:22:39 +0400
From: "Phalen, Susan" <sphalen@BAGHDADFORUM.COM>
Subject: STATEMENT by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi,
    Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations

Released at the request of the United Nations

June 1, 2004

Statement by Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi,

Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations

Consultations for the formation of the Iraqi Interim Government have
been going on without interruption throughout the four weeks which have
elapsed since my United Nations colleagues and I returned to Baghdad.
These consultations have involved the Governing Council, the Coalition
Provisional Authority, and a very large number of representatives of the
Iraqi public, including political parties, professional associations,
trade unions, tribal and religious leaders, academics and intellectuals,
women's and youth organizations, and others.

I am pleased to announce that, on Sunday, I handed over to His
Excellency Prime Minister Designate Ayad Allawi my recommendations
concerning the composition of his Cabinet.

As for the Presidential Council, I am honored and privileged to announce
that its composition is as follows:

Sheikh Ghazi Al-Yawar, President

Dr. Ibrahim Jaafari, Deputy President

Dr. Rowsch Shaways, Deputy President

Dr. Adnan Pachachi, who enjoys wide respect and support in Iraq, was
offered the Presidential position with the support of Sheikh Ghazi, but
declined for personal reasons.

I have so informed their Excellencies Sheikh Ghazi Al Yawer, Dr. Ayad
Allawi and Ambassador Paul Bremer.

The Prime Minister will announce the composition of the Cabinet to the
public later today.



Message: 2
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 2004 08:45:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: Hassan <>
Subject: Chalabi, Feith and company  a sordid tale
To: CASI newsclippings <>,
  IAC discussion <>

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Washington Watch Chalabi, Feith and company =97 a sordid tale
James J. Zogby
   There's a story behind the story. And it is a messy tale of deceit, cron=
yism and corruption.
Ahmed Chalabi's apparent falling out with the US, and some recent reports i=
ndicating that US Undersecretary of Defence Douglas Feith may be losing inf=
luence in the administration, represent only the latest chapter in their so=
rdid histories and relationship.

Back in 2001, when Feith's name was first mentioned for the number three po=
sition in the Pentagon, I wrote two lengthy articles on his business dealin=
gs and his ideology. Part of the Reagan-era Defence Department neoconservat=
ive group, Feith left government service and trading off of his political c=
ontacts, he became a lobbyist and foreign agent, representing Turkey and so=
me Israeli interests as well. In 1996, Feith, a supporter of the Likud in I=
srael, co-authored a paper for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanya=
hu, advising him to end the Oslo peace process. When Netanyahu signed the W=
ye Agreement, Feith broke with him, accusing the Israeli leader of compromi=
sing away his values.

Chalabi has a long and well-known history of shady business dealings. His a=
ctive courting of pro-Israel and neo-conservative groups leading to the pas=
sage by Congress of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (ILA), is also quite we=

So much for their separate histories.

Their relationship blossomed after Feith was confirmed by the Senate and as=
sumed his post at the Pentagon. Early on, he began, in earnest, to lay out =
the justification for a war with Iraq. The funds that Congress mandated in =
the ILA, had been frozen during the Clinton years. Early in the Bush term, =
they were freed up to help finance Chalabi's activities. For his part, the =
Iraqi and his group began to supply Feith's newly reorganised Defence Depar=
tment with =93intelligence=94 on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction progr=
ess, and later on, with =93information=94 linking the Baghdad regime to Al =

Both men were willing and eager accomplices of each other's missions. Both =
wanted a US war to topple the hated dictator and would, apparently, go to a=
ny length to make that happen.

It was Chalabi, among others, who also sold Feith both on the ease with whi=
ch the regime could be removed and the uprising of support for the US that =
would immediately follow. It was assessments such as these that provided Fe=
ith's planning office with logic that justified their fatally flawed post-w=
ar calculations.

But Chalabi's fabrications didn't stop there. Even during the 1990s, it is =
now known, he was promising the supporters of war that his post-Saddam Iraq=
 would establish diplomatic and trade relations with Israel and the US. He =
and his supporters were, at one point, quoted in the US to the effect that =
after Saddam, the Russians and French would be out, replaced by US companie=
s who would be contracted to exploit Iraq's bountiful oil resources. More q=
uietly, Chalabi was even promising both Israelis and their US supporters th=
at not only would the new Iraq trade with Israel, it would also resurrect t=
he Iraq-Israel pipeline for oil export. This, of course, was music to their=

Shortly after the war began, Chalabi, despite strenuous objection from the =
State Department and the CIA, was airlifted with his supporters into Iraq. =
He immediately began plans to establish a power base in his newly liberated=
 country. Appointed by the US to a position on the Iraqi Governing Council,=
 Chalabi assumed the role of director of its economics and finance committe=
e. He was able to place his close relatives and other allies in key ministr=
ies and directorships of institutions dealing with Iraq's banking, finance =
and oil resources.

The spoils of war were now within his reach.

One of his nephews, Salem Chalabi, chose not to hold a government position.=
 Instead, he established the Iraq International Law Group (IILG), which des=
cribes itself as =93your professional gateway to the new Iraq=94. Assisting=
 Salem in setting up the IILG was a partner, Marc Zell, (the IILG's website=
 has been registered in Zell's name). Zell is an Israeli settler of the Gus=
h Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) stripe. Here the plot thickens.

Zell had, for many years, been Feith's partner in their Washington-Tel Aviv=
 law firm, Feith and Zell (FANDZ). FANDZ had been set up when Feith left go=
vernment to pursue the work of a =93foreign agent=94 representing Turkey an=
d some Israeli interests.

Following the Baghdad opening of the IILG, Zell soon opened, in the US, an =
office for Zell, Goldberg & Co., which promises to assist =93American compa=
nies in their relations with the US government in connection with Iraq's re=
construction projects=94. It is interesting to note that Zell, Goldberg sti=
ll uses the website FANDZ, the site of the old Feith and Zell firm. So when=
 Zell boasts his connections to government, businesses know exactly what is=

In the relatively short period of time since the fall of the Baath Party re=
gime, IILG and Zell, Goldberg have facilitated contracts in the tens, possi=
bly hundreds of millions of dollars.

Salem Chalabi incidentally has also been appointed by the Coalition Provisi=
onal Authority to head the Iraqi tribunal that will investigate and prosecu=
te the crimes Saddam and his cohorts committed against the Iraqi people. Hi=
s uncle is, meanwhile, railing against the former regime's corruption and d=
emanding the right to investigate profiteering and kick-backs he alleges oc=
curred in the UN's food-for-oil programme.

Surely Saddam should be tried for his crimes and the people of Iraq have a =
right to have lost revenues restored. But for this effort to have credibili=
ty, surely the Iraqi people deserve to be represented by judges and investi=
gators who themselves are credible.

In any case, for reasons unrelated to this sordid web of corruption and cro=
nyism, it appears that Feith and his friend and co-conspirator, Chalabi, ha=
ve fallen on hard times.

Feith, for example, has been implicated in the Abu Ghraib debacle. It was h=
is office that had general oversight over post-war planning (and pre-war pr=
opaganda). And it was apparently his office that dismissed the applicabilit=
y of the Geneva Conventions to the detained Iraqi prisoners. Growing disple=
asure with his work in this regard (Gen. Tommy Franks has been quoted as ca=
lling Feith =93the... stupidest guy on the face of the earth=94.) has cause=
d him to be sidelined. There are also hints he may soon step down from his =

For his part, Chalabi recently caused some irritation by proudly boasting t=
hat it didn't matter that the intelligence he provided the Pentagon was fau=
lty, because it got the job done. He has also angered his neocon and pro-Is=
raeli supporters by apparently turning his back on commitments he made to t=
hem. He is now in trouble, having been accused of providing important secre=
ts to Iranian intelligence. His home was recently raided by US and Iraqi fo=

What is intriguing is that in all the recent US media coverage of the chang=
ing fortunes of both Feith and Chalabi, there is very little mention made o=
f the questionable business dealings by those closely connected to them. On=
ly a handful of reporters have actually dug deeply into this story.

Both Feith and Chalabi may be facing some difficulties, but don't count the=
m out quite yet. Feith may leave government, but the last time he left the =
Pentagon, he turned his departure into business connections and a handsome =
profit. And Chalabi, the wily manipulator, also has a record of rebounding =
from setbacks that have marked his past.

With Zell and Salem in business, both Feith and Ahmed have a place to go. T=
he final chapter in this sordid tale has yet to be written.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

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