Chalabi Tells General Odierno: ‘Mind Your Own Business’ – Iraq News Agency, Iraq
As the March 7 Iraqi national elections approach, America’s apparent attempt to inject some balance between ruling Shiites and the Sunni minority have resulted in controversy. And at the center of the storm is none other than Ahmad Chalibi, a man who was a major force behind the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, who once sat next to Laura Bush during a State of the Union address, and who was later disowned by the Bush White House due to his ties to Iran. He now sits on the Accountability and Justice Commission, tasked with the ‘de-Baathification’ of Iraq’s political process.
In the past 24 hours, we have posted two stories from the Iraqi press on this.
The first is a statement by the Central Council of Iraqi and Arab Tribal Sheikhs, a Sunni group that encompasses many of the same tribes that belonged to the Awakening Councils. Their statement, published in Al Iraq News and headlined Sunnis Call for Iraq Vote Boycott to Protest Iranian Meddling, says in regard to the voting and the ‘de-Baathification process’ overseen by Mr. Chalabi:
We are shocked at the vile and brazen interventionist mutterings of [Iranian President] Ahmadinidjad. As Ahmadinidjad put it on February 11th, he would not allow Baathists to return to the political process in Iraq. … This is nothing but a cover for removing popular and respected individuals from the political process. The extent of the conspiracy became clear with Chalabi’s last-minute disqualification of candidates, which is widely considered his most recent “political ploy.” Therefore, the Central Council of Iraqi and Arab Tribal Sheikhs strongly condemn this vile interference with the sovereignty of Iraq. … We believe that holding the elections under such circumstances is against the interests of our people and consistent with the wishes of Iran’s rulers. We therefore call on all people to boycott the voting.
The second article we posted, from the Iraq News Agency, is a statement issued by the Accountability and Justice Commission on behalf of Mr. Chalabi headlined, Chalabi Tells General Odierno: ‘Mind Your Own Business. The statement denies undue Iranian influence by ‘our dear neighboring country of Iran’, and blames Vice President Biden for ‘initiating these ‘false allegations.’
The Accountability and Justice Commission statement says in part:
Odierno’s comments come in the context of a series of hysterical U.S. statements. … The accusation of links with Iran is baseless, and is one of the false devices previously promoted by the U.S. to belittle and break the back of Dr. Chalabi, who has always opposed America’s mistaken policies in Iraq. … In the past, U.S. forces have raided the home of Dr. Chalabi, violating its sanctity and tampering with his belongings in a supposed look for intelligence evidence demonstrating his involvement in unnatural relations with Iraq’s dear neighbor, Iran. Those troops and whoever directed them failed to uncover anything that would have substantiated these false allegations. … We call upon General Odierno to focus on his assigned task and not intervene in affairs that are none of his business.
We are well aware that such false accusations come in the context of political pressure initiated by Vice President Joe Biden to force the chairman of the Accountability and Justice Commission to retreat from his patriotic and legal duty to protect the political process from Baathist and Saddamite infiltration. The U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, Mr. Christopher Hill, kept up the pressure. But the unity of the Iraqi people, its political forces, and especially the Iraqi National Alliance, in defending and applying the Constitution, has defeated such pressure. Similarly, an Iraqi court has handed down its independent decision to defend the Constitution and the law. General Odierno should respect the decisions of Iraq’s independent judiciary.
In the latest news, MEMRI quotes British newspaper Al-Rafidayn as reporting that, “Sources in Washington expect the U.S. to seek an opportunity to arrest Dr. Ahmad Chalabi and Accountability and Justice Commission head Ali Al-Lami.”
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