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.
[Update]: Eli Lake broke the story this morning.
[Update II]: Goldberg e-mails:
Isn’t it still a scoop if you have no idea that Eli Lake reported it?