Thursday, June 03, 2004

The best weblog on Iraq

I’ve been meaning to plug his website for awhile, but Professor Juan Cole’s Informed Comment website is the best weblog on developments in Iraq, cited by bloggers on both the right and left sides of the spectrum for its information and analysis.

In his June 2 posting, Cole brings up a point I’ve not seen elsewhere. Ahmed Chalabi, who used his Iraqi National Congress to feed false information on WMDs and Iraq’s nonexistent nuclear weapons program to the US, may have done the same thing to Iran:

The INC peddled the story to the US that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program. It must have peddled the same story to the Iranians. In fact, what if the lies of Chalabi & Associates about the non-existent nuclear program so alarmed Iran that it redoubled its efforts to get a nuclear weapon, conducting an arms race against a phantom? If so, Chalabi and his group have single-handedly destabilized the entire Persian Gulf region.

I’d add two variations to Cole’s comments. First, along with betraying the US by telling our secrets to the Iranians, Chalabi may have added a few lies to those secrets, saying the US knew information it had not yet revealed that confirmed Iraq’s nuclear weapons program. Again that could have spurred the Iranians onward, while Chalabi hoped to use the information to get their support. Second, it is not necessary for the Iranians to have completely believed him. There were certainly plenty of Iranian hardliners who wanted nuclear weapons for their own sake, and these Iranian versions of Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Bush would seize on any excuse for doing what they wanted without looking at it too closely. Chalabi’s unreliable information could be damaging in Iran, just as it was in the US.

And for a comic take on the situation, check out this cartoon.

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