Are Iran’s Bags of Euros for Daudzai Bigger than CIA’s Bags of Dollars for Karzai’s Brother?

The outage of the day is the report that Hamid Karzai’s chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, receives a steady stream of bags of Euros from Iran.

One evening last August, as President Hamid Karzai wrapped up an official visit to Iran, his personal plane sat on the airport tarmac, waiting for a late-running passenger: Iran’s ambassador to Afghanistan.

The ambassador, Feda Hussein Maliki, finally appeared, taking a seat next to Umar Daudzai, Mr. Karzai’s chief of staff and his most trusted confidant. According to an Afghan official on the plane, Mr. Maliki handed Mr. Daudzai a large plastic bag bulging with packets of euro bills. A second Afghan official confirmed that Mr. Daudzai carried home a large bag of cash.

“This is the Iranian money,” said an Afghan official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Many of us noticed this.”

The bag of money is part of a secret, steady stream of Iranian cash intended to buy the loyalty of Mr. Daudzai and promote Iran’s interests in the presidential palace, according to Afghan and Western officials here. Iran uses its influence to help drive a wedge between the Afghans and their American and NATO benefactors, they say.

Mind you, Karzai claims he has told the US about his Iranian gravy train.

But I think the real question to ask is whether the bags of Euros Daudzai gets from Iran are bigger than the bags of dollars Ahmed Wali Karzai–Hamid’s brother–receive from the CIA?

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the brother of the Afghan president and a suspected player in the country’s booming illegal opium trade, gets regular payments from the Central Intelligence Agency, and has for much of the past eight years, according to current and former American officials.

The agency pays Mr. Karzai for a variety of services, including helping to recruit an Afghan paramilitary force that operates at the C.I.A.’s direction in and around the southern city of Kandahar, Mr. Karzai’s home.

And whether the money all ends up in the same place: in the Karzai clique’s private bank accounts in Dubai?

While we’re clutching pearls about monetary influence, we probably ought to ask how all the bags of money flowing to Karzai compare to the truck-loads of foreign money being spent to influence our elections. Granted, the $885,000 we know about is probably smaller than the total directly benefiting Karzai. But after Citizens United, we’re just getting started.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. qweryous says:

    So is our foreign policy reduced to a twisted version of that old gameshow
    “The Price Is Right”?. Because if it is- then someone really sharp had better be making the offers.

  2. Frank33 says:

    It is really nice to get bagfuls of money from Iran and the CIA. This must mean that Iran is also an ally in the Global War Against Terror And Leftists. This shows we can work together and we will win these wars. Hillary Clinton is giving away TRUCKLOADS of money. Guess who gets $2 billion more from generous taxpayers? Pakistan!

    Those relentless, Jihadists have been fighting the other Jihadists, with about $10 billion US taxpayer dollars since 9-11. Another ten years and we can win these wars. Or go bankrupt trying.

    But the offer of new military aid came with a privately issued warning – the stick in the equation – that Pakistan risks losing this and other aid the US offers if the government does not adopt a more aggressive stance toward militants.

  3. Frank33 says:

    No “edit” (my friend) time for my link.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2010/1022/Pakistan-aid-US-offers-2-billion-more-but-attaches-conditions
    This is also interesting. Military units that commit torture will not be supported. That does not include the Pentagon torturers. Those brilliant neo-con minds at the warmonger Cato Institute are also frustrated.

    Announcement of the new military aid package coincided with confirmation from Obama administration officials that existing US military assistance is to be cut off from a number of Pakistani Army units suspected of having committed abuses including torture and summary executions. The suspension of funding was issued in accordance with the so-called Leahy Amendment (after Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) of Vermont), which bars US military assistance to units committing abuses.

    “This will turn into a very, very messy fight in Congress,” says Innocent of the Cato Institute. “After a decade, there is just a lot of frustration with the effort Pakistan has put forward.”

  4. bobschacht says:

    The outage of the day…

    Did you mean “outRage”? Although I suppose “outage” makes sense, in a way…

    I can imagine the conversations between Karzai and Ahmad Chalabi–
    Chalabi would sniff haughtily at Karzai and say, “you only got *bags* of money? We had to use a front end loader, because we got ours by the pallet load.”

    When you hand out money like that, the accounting back home gets a little tricky…

    Bob in AZ