April 23, 2003

State is Hitting Back Someone

State is Hitting Back

Someone at Foggy Bottom or Langley is leaking to Glenn Kessler and Dana Priest in the WaPo making Pentagon uber-Chalabi-cheerleaders look unprepared and short-sighted:

"Chalabi's influence, particularly with senior policymakers at the Pentagon, helped play down the prospects for trouble, some officials said. "They really did believe he is a Shiite leader," although he had been out of the country for 45 years, a U.S. official said. "They thought, 'We're set, we've got a Shiite -- check the box here.' "

"We're flying blind on this. It's a classic case of politics and intelligence," said Walter P. "Pat" Lang, a former Defense Intelligence Agency specialist in Middle Eastern affairs. "In this case, the policy community have absolutely whipped the intel community, or denigrated it so much."

The smartest strategy now would appear to involve diplomatic attempts to reduce any Iranian meddling (while banking that differences between Arab Shi'a and Persian Shi'a, along with residual Iraqi nationalist feeling, will help stave off Iranian influence), while hoping that a decent number of "moderate" clerics are in the offing.

Posted by Gregory at April 23, 2003 05:54 PM
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