VP Biden to Iraq
Vice President Joseph Biden is headed to Iraq over concerns at more than 500 candidates barred from running in the March elections, the Washington Post reports:
Alarmed that the disqualification of hundreds of candidates from upcoming parliamentary elections threatens to derail Iraq's fledgling democracy, the Obama administration is dispatching Vice President Biden in hopes of defusing the looming political crisis.
The expected visit showcases U.S. concerns that the decision to bar 511 candidates -- the most prominent of whom are Sunni Arabs -- could stoke sectarian violence and undermine elections as the U.S. military prepares to significantly reduce its presence here. The removal of candidates purportedly adhering to the ideals of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party could reverse efforts to bring disenfranchised Sunni communities into the fold and inflame old divisions, wiping out the security gains of the U.S. surge. [...]
U.S. officials have said rooting out Baathists from public office should be done in a transparent way, and they have raised concerns about the scope and timing of the disqualification effort in meetings with Iraqi officials. ...
Who's in charge of the de-Baathification commission that barred many of the candidates? Washington's erstwhile BFF, Ahmad Chalabi:
But a new commission was never formally appointed, and the chairman of the de-Baathification commission, Ahmed Chalabi, has remained in charge. ...
In an e-mail to journalists, Entifadh Qanbar, a Chalabi confidant, slammed the United States for defending "terrorists."
"If you are a Terrorists, Corrupt, Thug, Killer, Baathist then the US will love you and give tons of money and the VP may make calls on your behalf," his e-mail said. "If you are a Patriotic, Honest, Fight Terror then you are Iranian agent and the US will hate you