Tuesday, June 29

Scheer: A Terrorist Working for U.S. Now Runs Iraq

So...now we sit back and watch the fun.

Born Under a Cloud of Irony
The new, free Iraq may officially be in the hands of a former terrorist.

The ironies are flowing thicker than crude oil in Iraq these days.

First, the United States surreptitiously turns over nominal control of the country to a government appointed by outsiders while leaving real power in the hands of U.S. military commanders and calls it an exercise in democracy.

And although the interim prime minister is a former member of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party who later conducted anti-Hussein terrorist operations on behalf of the CIA - operations in which innocent Iraqi civilians may have been killed - his anointment as leader of a "free Iraq" is being hailed by President Bush as a great victory in the war on terror.

According to several former intelligence officials interviewed by the New York Times this month, the political group run by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi in the 1990s, but financed by the CIA, "used car bombs and other explosive devices smuggled into Iraq" in an attempt to sabotage and destabilize Hussein's regime.

With such a record, it is perhaps not strange then that Allawi, who built his exile organization with defecting Iraqi military officers, is already proclaiming the need to delay elections scheduled for January and impose martial law. On Monday Bush said coalition forces would support such a call for martial law, presumably enforced by U.S. troops.

Allawi is also demanding that Hussein be put under his government's control and tried quickly by an Iraqi court - probably a strategic move to seize Hussein's strongman crown directly.

When Allawi was first picked for the prime minister post through an opaque selection process ostensibly run by a U.N. representative, former CIA Iran-Iraq analyst Kenneth Pollack justified the agency's earlier use of Allawi as a terrorist with the comment "send a thief to catch a thief." But the question now is: Do you send a thief to build a democracy?