Morning Report: May 24, 2004

- The three tribes fight over Iraq. (Safire/NYT) William Safire analyzes the power play behind the Chalabi raid.
- How do you tell when spies are lying? (Ledeen/NRO) Stealing a page from Safire’s script, Michael Ledeen consults with a departed counterterrorism expert on the question of Chalabi’s alleged duplicity.
- Do all roads lead to Tehran? (Ackerman/TNR) The New Republic’s Spencer Ackerman maintains that Chalabi bit off more than he could chew by courting the Iranian regime, alienating even his former supporters in Washington.
- Beyond Chalabi. (Ali / Iraq the Model) In perhaps the most sensible response to the Chalabi debacle, Ali argues that the whole affair has been given too much prominence. Chalabi’s legitimacy derived from his support for the cause of freedom; having abandoned that cause, he lost his base of support both in Iraq and in Washington. He was “just a man who had some chance to play a role in the future of Iraq and blew it away,” Ali writes. “Chalabi was not really pro-American because he was not pro-Iraqi in the first place. He was just pro-Chalabi.”