Joel Mowbray

   The greatest friend the House of Saud might have in the post-Saddam Iraq, though, is Adnan Pachachi, the octogenarian former foreign minister, who is openly backed by the House of Saud.  State sees Pachachi as the most viable alternative to the INC, and even gave its tacit approval to a conference he organized in London on Sunday as part of a campaign to undermine the staunchly pro-democracy INC.  One administration official says that Khalilzad is "so obsessed with Pachachi that he forced Jalal Talibani [leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, an INC member organization] to put Pachachi on the Iraqi opposition leadership council." But Pachachi was not interested, at least not in being part of the same leadership committee as Dr. Ahmad Chalabi, the head of the INC—and he said as much in a Financial Times column last month.  Yet State persists in wooing Pachachi.

  But perhaps the greatest threat to the INC and democracy—and the greatest boon for the House of Saud—is the proposed Baghdad Conference.  If held soon after the smoke clears, only the Ba’athists would be likely to come forward.  Since anyone of significance in Iraqi society is a Ba’ath Party member, some party members will necessarily be in the new government—but weeding out Ba’athists will take longer than six weeks.  Likely the only people willing to come forward from within Iraq right after the fall of Saddam’s regime are people who were part of it because, as one administration official notes, “It takes time for the fear to wear off.”

 State’s attempts to thwart the INC have gotten so bad that a group of five Senators—Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sam Brownback (R-KS), Rick Santorum (R-PA), John McCain (R-AZ), and Norm Coleman (R-MN)—sent a letter Monday to President Bush, calling on him to “personally clear the bureaucratic road blocks from within the State Department” and get funding and other support to the INC.  As they note in the letter, “American lives are at stake.”


Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.

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