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GUEST,Woody BS: Unpopular views of the Bush Administration (138* d) RE: BS: Unpopular views of the Bush Administration 20 Jun 06

The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Jim Hoagland Mar 5, 1998

Desk officers in the U.S. government's Middle East bureaucracy would not return Chalabi's calls when he visited. The CIA was bad-mouthing him to reporters. One senior State Department official bought Chalabi lunch at the Cosmos Club to avoid meeting with him at State -- "off-lining" the meeting, in the official's parlance, meaning that it did not officially happen.

It was a grim time for a man who has been an honest, observant and reliable interpreter of Iraq since we met in Beirut 26 years ago. Our friendship survived my departure from the Middle East a few years later, several wars in the region and numerous betrayals of Chalabi's cause by successive American governments. Despite his own unrelenting confidence on recent visits here, I felt growing apprehension for this cultivated Iraqi banker, mathematician and revolutionary.

But tomorrow is always another day in the life of an exile politician. On Monday, Chalabi appeared before the Senate subcommittee on the Middle East and got a sympathetic hearing for his new detailed paramilitary plan for undermining Saddam's reign of terror. Chalabi is suddenly being sought after by officials at the Pentagon and State to talk about low-intensity conflict scenarios..

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