No Iraqi tears for Chalabi's downfall

Iraqis are not exactly sympathising with embattled Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi after Iraqi police, backed by US forces, raided his home and office.

    Occupation-backed police have raided Ahmad Chalabi's home

    A day after an enraged Chalabi decried the raid and renounced his relations with the US-led occupying authority, Sunni and Shia Iraqis were indifferent and scornful toward's Washington's former political 'darling'.

    "Chalabi represents nothing for Iraqis. He only thinks of himself and seeks to secure himself a good political position. Everything that happens to him serves him right," said driver Mahmud Ali.

    "It is the same for other members of the Governing Council. They only work for the interests of the USA and foreigners," he said.

    "Ahmed Chalabi is only one among others," said Ali al-Mayahi, a 35-year-old worker who considers the whole of the Iraqi executive "completely cut off from the Iraqi population."

    Some support

    Only Abd al-Zarah and Najar al-Kutbi, two shopkeepers, criticised the raids at Chalabi's house in which computers and files were confiscated.

    "This guy deserves what is happening to him, he is a thief" 

    Qussai al-Obaidi

    "He is an Iraqi who worked for Iraq during years," said al-Kutbi.

    Chalabi, once a strong advocate of the US invasion of Iraq, spoke like a champion of Iraqi independence on Thursday as he blasted the coalition for allegedly cooperating with members of the former ruling party of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

    But the Sunni neighbourhood of Adhamiya, north of Baghdad, many remember Chalabi as a long-time Washington lackey.

    "It is more honourable to be Baathist than to serve the interests of the Americans and the Israelis," said Riad Jamil, a 40-year-old businessman.

    'US agents'

    Mustapha Hamdi accused Chalabi and the Iraqi Governing Council of being "agents of the Americans."

    "It is more honourable to be Baathist than to serve the interests of the Americans and the Israelis" 

    Riad Jamil,

    The chequered past of the Iraqi National Congress president - he was sentenced in 1992 by a Jordanian military tribunal to 22 years in prison for fraud - does not speak in his favour.

    "This guy deserves what is happening to him, he is a thief," said Qussai al-Obaidi.

    Another resident, Riad Jamil, wondered why Chalabi was outraged over the raid and pointed out that "this is the Iraqis' daily life."

    Some did not hesitate to predict he would suffer the same fate as Izz al-din Salim, the council president killed in a car bomb attack on Monday.

    But Chalabi does have some supporters. A few hundred people demonstrated against the raid near the coalition headquarters on Friday.

    "We have something in common with Chalabi: we favour de-baathification," one of the demonstrators, theology student Sayyid Husayn, said.



    FGM: The last cutting season

    FGM: The last cutting season

    Maasai women are spearheading an alternative rite of passage that excludes female genital mutilation.

    'No girl is safe': The mothers ironing their daughters' breasts

    Victims of breast ironing: It felt like 'fire'

    Cameroonian girls are enduring a painful daily procedure with long lasting physical and psychological consequences.

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    For Ethiopia, a new dam holds the promise of much-needed electricity; for Egypt, the fear of a devastating water crisis.