Tehran's vote-buying in Iraq
Thursday, 25 February 2010
The Washington Post
By David Ignatius
Thursday, February 25, 2010; A23
Iran is conducting what U.S. officials say is a broad covert-action campaign to influence Iraq's elections next month, pumping money and other assistance to its allies. The best way to counter this assault, American officials have decided, is by exposing it publicly.
The most direct criticism of Iran's meddling has come from Gen. Ray Odierno, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq. In meetings with reporters during a visit to Washington last week, he focused on the role played by Ahmed Chalabi, an Iraqi who lobbied the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003 and is now alleged to be working closely with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Odierno has also briefed top Iraqi leaders in Baghdad on U.S. intelligence reports about the Iranian campaign. A source provided me with an unclassified summary of Odierno's briefing, which included the following allegations:
-- "Iran provides money, campaign materials, and political training to various individual candidates and political parties [in Iraq].
-- "Iran interferes in Iraq's political process, urging alliances that not all Iraqi politicians favor, in an effort to consolidate power among parties supported by Iran. For example . . . Ahmed Chalabi met with IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani and Iranian Foreign Minister [Manouchehr] Mottaki in late November to discuss" the merger of two slates of Shiite candidates backed by Iran.
-- "Iran supports de-Baathification efforts engineered by Ahmed Chalabi for the purpose of eliminating potential obstacles to Iranian influence. Chalabi is also interested in Iran's assistance in securing the office of Prime Minister.
-- "According to all-source intelligence, Ahmed Chalabi visited Iran at least three times since last year. Additionally, he met with key Iranian leaders in Iraq on at least five occasions."
The decision to release this sort of intelligence information is unusual, and it reflects concern across the U.S. government about Iran's push to shape the March 7 Iraqi balloting. The United States has "information operations" and other activities in Iraq to counter the Iranians, but apparently it has not mounted a full-scale covert-action campaign of its own, in part because of a desire not to manipulate a democracy that America helped create.
THERE IS MORE YOU CAN READ FOR YOURSELVES!!!
Last edited by TAV; 02-26-2010 at 01:47 PM.
"In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight! Let those who worship evil's might, beware my power.. Green Lantern's light!"