Laura Rozen reports in the current issue of the Monthly
that Washington DC is now home to yet another smiling Iraqi with a distinct agenda, a fluent command of English, and strong connections. This time it's Qubad Talabani, the son of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani:
Talabani is hardly the first cosmopolitan, culturally dexterous representative of a foreign interest to find his cause in vogue in the halls of American government. The Iraqi exile leader Ahmad Chalabi was also a charismatic, effective Washington advocate, who systematically persuaded influential constituencies, and ultimately the Bush administration, to lend the U.S. Army to his longtime struggle against Saddam Hussein. But Qubad is different. He's of a younger generation, more pragmatic than idealistic, less enmeshed in neoconservative Republican politics and with less of the seductive con-man qualities of the old master. "We have friends on the Democratic and Republican sides," Talabani says. "It is not our game to play American politics. Chalabi did that and failed. We are not taking sides."
Talabani's agenda? Keep the Americans in Iraq, ensure that the promised elections in oil-rich Kirkuk are held on time, and sell Kurdistan as Iraq's great success story to anyone who will listen. Read the whole thing for more.