Following the death of Ahmed Chalabi, one of the leading proponents of the war in Iraq, The Guardian reports: In the past five years Chalabi’s relationship with Iran’s leaders and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the most powerful institution in Iran, came to define him almost as much as the invasion. Chalabi was one of a handful of senior Iraqis regarded as confidantes of the IRGC’s foreign relations arm, the Quds Force, and in particular its leader, Qassem Suleimani.
He actively promoted causes that were central to Iran’s interests, including making contacts with the opposition in Bahrain, which was almost exclusively Shia and at odds with the ruling Sunni establishment. In the early years of the Syrian war Chalabi was a regular visitor to Damascus, where he met often with the overlord of Bashar al-Assad’s security apparatus, Mohammed Nassif. In Beirut, where Chalabi maintained a house, he was regularly received by the Shia resistance bloc Hezbollah.
Chalabi’s influence within Shia circles was evident when he stepped in to rescue the Guardian’s then Iraq correspondent, Rory Carroll, in late 2005, several days after Carroll had been kidnapped by Shia militiamen in Sadr City. Chalabi received Carroll at his farm in west Baghdad after contacting the hostage takers directly.
In mid-2014, with the Sunni jihadi group Isis on the doorstep of Baghdad, Chalabi made one final play for political power, lobbying vigorously to replace Nouri al-Maliki as Iraq’s prime minister after Maliki’s authority had been crippled. His allies, including Suleimani, regarded him as a liability; perhaps one of the greater ironies of Chalabi’s life, the Iranian general had marked him down for being, in his words, “too liberal”. [Continue reading…]