Omid Memarian

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Story of Chalabi...

Here is an article about Ahmad Chalabi, an Iraqi politician, who was at the frontline of the opposition leaders before the 2003 US invasion to Iraq. A colorful story, which shows his connection to Iranians, Iraqis and also the US officials, is written by DEXTER FILKINS.

I met Ahmad Chalabi in Tehran just a few months before the US invasion. He came as a part of delegation to talk with Iranian authorities about the future of Iraq. Kanan Makiya and Mozar Shokat, two prominent Iraqi academic and politicians accompanied him. I interviewed Kanan Makieh at that night and talked a little bit with Chalabi and had dinner with them. Just 10 days before that, Kanan Makieh had met Vice President Dick Cheney. They were so sure that the US will attack Iraq. Chalabi was welcomed by the Iranian authorities like a real leader. They had brought their guards and dogs too. A house in the north Part of the Tehran, Aghdasieh neighborhood, very close to the palace of the Shah, Iran’s last king before revolution, was a calm, peaceful place for the hottest event which was on the way.

Just three years after a bloody attack, both for the Americans and Iraqis, I am sure that they stand on their thought. I heard that Kanan Makieh who has studied on federalism in Iran and also is the author of “Republic of Fear”, has never come back to Iraq. I heard from one of my Iraqi friends that he is afraid of coming back to his country, though. Perhaps some people think that he has been among some Iraqi exiles, who gave the wrong address to the Americans to invade Iraq.

Here a part of this long story….

"In late 2005, I accompanied Chalabi on a trip to Iran, in part to solve the riddle. We drove eastward out of Baghdad, in a convoy as menacing as the one we had ridden in south to Mushkhab earlier in the year. After three hours of weaving and careering, the plains of eastern Iraq halted, and the terrain turned sharply upward into a thick ridge of arid mountains. We had come to Mehran, on one of history’s great fault lines, the historic border between the Ottoman and Persian Empires. As we crossed into Iran, the wreckage and ruin of modern Iraq gave way to swept streets and a tidy border post with shiny bathrooms. Another world.

Then there was the executive jet. When we arrived at the border, Chalabi ducked into a bathroom and changed out of his camouflage T-shirt and slacks and into a well-tailored blue suit. Then we drove to Ilam, where an 11-seat Fokker jet was idling on the runway of the local airport. We jumped in and took off for Tehran, flying over a dramatic landscape of canyons and ravines. We landed in Iran’s smoggy capital, and within a couple of hours, Chalabi was meeting with the highest officials of the Iranian government. One of them was Ali Larijani, the national security adviser.

I interviewed Larijani the next morning. “Our relationship with Mr. Chalabi does not have anything to do with his relationship with the neocons,” he said. His red-rimmed eyes, when I met him at 7 a.m., betrayed a sleepless night. “He is a very constructive and influential figure. He is a very wise man and a very useful person for the future of Iraq." (Continue...)

Also here is an interesting story about Chalabi and former President Khatami in


At 12:50 PM , Anonymous Farzaneh Haftani said...

Hi Omid, Congratulation. I am so glad that you take the Human Rights Prize. It's wonderful.

At 12:55 PM , Anonymous Farzaneh said...

We moved from Malysia to Canada (Alberta) and I will be glad to mail and talk to you. How I can I find your email address? It is not in your web page. I am looking forward for your news.

At 1:18 PM , Anonymous meh said...



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