One of my favorite Wohlstetter facts is that Ahmad Chalabi was a Wohlstetter protege.
And my new favorite Chalabi fact (which I just learned today) is that Chalabi sailed a ship from Iraq to Bahrain as a protest against the crackdown on the Shia there, I guess in imitation of the Turkish flotilla that tried to break the blockade of Gaza.
It’s one of those crazy permutations in a long political career that can be a way to see how all the twists and turns of history add up, if only you can broaden your imagination sufficiently to take in all the facts. Chalabi was the favorite opponent of Saddam for the Pentagon and the neocons, whereas the CIA and the State Dept preferred Allawi – and later on his American enemies used his Iranian connections as a way to keep him out of power in American-occupied Iraq – but he kept a place in the new Iraqi political system, and now in the Arab spring, he’s able to present himself, not just as an advocate for the Iraqi Shia, but as an advocate for the Bahraini Shia, whose rights are being suppressed because their revolt doesn’t further the aims of America or the Gulf monarchies, it’s more convenient for Iran.
I quote Coyne as only saying “some” in the State Department favored Pachachi. When I had read that I looked up on Wikipedia and he sounded like the sort of person Mencius Moldbug would describe as a Stat-favored candidate (anti-American leftist/pan-nationalist). Coyne gives as his cite Larry Diamond’s book “Squandered Victory”. I used the “look inside” feature at Amazon and found mention of Pacachi at page 29 in the book. A few sentences:
“Chalabi and Allawi had been receiving large sums of money for Pentagon and the CIA respectively, for many years. By some rumors, the State Department favored yet another Iraqi exile, Adnan Pachachi, a secular nationalist and a sophisticated, liberal thinker who had served as Iraq’s foreign minister and UN ambassador before the Baathists seized power in 1968. But key State Department figures also saw the need for a political process that would enable Iraqis to come together and define a process for choosing a broadly acceptable Iraqi interim government.”
I know Chalabi’s was eventually charged with some crimes in Iraq, but I didn’t hear much about American efforts against him.
Further on in the search results in Diamond’s book I see that the UN favored as prime minister Mehdi al-Hafidh of Pachachi’s “Iraqi Independent Democrats” party.