Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bush finally recognizes his great results

Good news from the Wall Street Journal:
A year ago the Bush administration tried to destroy Ahmed Chalabi's chances of ever leading a free Iraq. This week the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister has meetings scheduled with Bush Cabinet members Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and John Snow, as well as National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. What gives?
Let's hope it's a sign of maturity from a Bush foreign policy team that realizes it erred badly last year. Mr. Chalabi's political success in Iraq since that fiasco is impossible to ignore. The same man once derided as an "exile" with "no support" in Iraq brokered the Shiite alliance that dominated the country's free elections in January. Though a secular Shiite who believes in separation of mosque and state, Mr. Chalabi may be the Iraqi politician most trusted by Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. He gets along well with Kurdish leaders and has influential Sunni allies as well, including Iraqi Defense Minister Saddoun Dulaimi.
In his current role, Mr. Chalabi was a central figure in drafting Iraq's new constitution, where he successfully pushed for language to create an Alaska-style trust to share oil revenues equally among Iraqi citizens. And he assumed special responsibility for oil and infrastructure protection, resulting in what one observer called "the highest crude oil exports in anyone's memory."
After being villified by one and all, Chalabi has managed to expertly navigate Iraq's fraught political waters. It is gratifying that a believer in Western democratic values and a friend of Israel has democratically reached such a position of influence in an Arab and Muslim country. I'm pleased the Bush administration is recognizing the fruit of its own efforts.
Plus I am a big fan of the oil trust idea for the Iraqi people. Keep up the good work!

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