Joel Mowbray

 On his recent swing through Switzerland and Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s actions undercut his otherwise fine rhetoric and his department’s insistence that it supports the cause of freedom for the Iraqi people.

  In his remarks in Baghdad last week, Powell struck a welcome tone with his force and passion.  Particularly welcome was his call for handing over authority in a reasonable time frame to an Iraqi government that is “committed to democratic principles”

  Too bad his actions rendered his words meaningless.

  Before heading to Baghdad, Powell was in Geneva, where he met with Adnan Pachachi, the octogenarian former foreign minister.  Not only is Pachachi an Arabist who only recently recognized the right of either Kuwait or Israel to exist, but he is very close to the House of Saud.  But more importantly, Pachachi is a favorite of the State Department.

  Although a member of the 25-member Iraqi Governing Council, Pachachi has had surprisingly little interaction with his colleagues after State pushed extremely hard for his inclusion on the transitional authority.  Yet his unwillingness to act as a team player has not soured State on him.  In fact, State essentially rewarded his behavior with a chance to meet with Powell separate from the governing council, a privilege extended to only a select few on the council.

  Although Powell soon after met with the entire Iraqi Governing Council in Baghdad, he only met with two other members of the panel on an individual basis apart from the group.  One was the foreign minister—meaning Powell’s counterpart—but the other was far less understandable.  According to an administration official, Powell also met separately with Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, an Islamist and former spokesman for the Dawa Party.  (The State Department’s press office denies that Powell met with al-Rubaie separate from the Secretary’s meeting with the entire council.)

  By affiliating with the Dawa Party, al-Rubaie chose to shill for an organization responsible for the 1983 bombing of the embassy in Kuwait that killed six and injured dozens.  Yet he was granted an audience with Powell.

Joel Mowbray

Joel Mowbray, who got his start with, 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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