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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

10 November 2005

Chalabi in DC

I had the chance to see Ahmad Chalabi, Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister, yesterday at the American Enterprise Institute (link). My impression was that the crowd was too skeptical, too suspicious to listen to his message. In the Q&A, journalists kept asking him about WMD and the pre-war times (there were about five or six questions on this; then I just got tired and stopped listening).

It saddens me that there was such little interest in what Mr. Chalabi had to say. A casual listener walks away with the impression that Mr. Chalabi is very aware of both the challenges in and the promise of Iraq. He understands how Iraq fits into the broader Middle East puzzle. And from those who are more intimately knowledgeable about his aspirations, he offers a radical rethink to what the Arab world should be about.

Given all this, I had to ask myself: you have a person here who is in charge of a monumental project, one that the president has linked to America’s security, and yet you waste all these questions asking things you know the answers to. I am not sure if that is because journalists wanted to ask these questions or because they feel compelled to do so; compelled by what they think their readers want and compelled by their own sense of being able to say they confronted Ahmad Chalabi.

In any event, my hunch is that whatever the mood in Washington, we will be hearing about Mr. Chalabi for a while.

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