Two sources, one in Iraq, the other in Washington, told me that Ahmed Chalabi was key in Maliki's decision to rather ostentatiously endorse Barack Obama's Iraq withdrawal time-line. Chalabi, of course, has been in and out -- mostly out -- of favor with the Bush Administration, but it's not merely revenge that motivated his advice to Maliki. "Chalabi knows American politics better than nearly every other Iraqi politician, and he knows it's time to line up with the candidate who has the better-than-even shot of becoming President," one source told me.

I can't imagine that Obama will be adding Chalabi anytime soon to his roster of 300 foreign policy advisers, despite the favor Chalabi has apparently done on his behalf.

UPDATE: My paisan Eli Lake had this story before I did, though I didn't know. This happened mainly because I'm so slow to blog, of course. Though he's a hell of a reporter.