Ahmed Chalabi, the former U.S. darling and deputy prime minister spurned by Iraqi voters in the 2005 elections, is back in office. He won a post created as a buffer between residents and the troops pouring into Baghdad for the new security push. Chalabi's new role involves organizing reimbursement for citizens whose property is damaged by counterinsurgency raids.
A gifted politician with a talent for reinvention, Chalabi has many critics in both the U.S. and Iraq."The question is whether he is really doing this to help, or whether he's trying to build himself a new political base in Baghdad or carry water for the Shiites," said a senior American official here.