Responding to American attempts to buy Iraq, not Cuba

Eli Stephens elishastephens at
Fri May 2 15:15:43 MDT 2003

WASHINGTON -- The United States suffered a major blow in its campaign
to recruit friendly Shia clerics inside Iraq last month when it lost
an influential religious ally to an angry mob - and up to $13 million
the CIA had given him to cultivate supporters.

While he was widely perceived to be pro-American, Iraqis were unaware
that the cleric, Abdel Majid al-Khoei, had agreed to use the CIA cash
in a covert program to enlist support within the splintered Shia
community, according to knowledgeable U.S. sources.


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