Iraq war liar Chalabi dies


Ahmed Chalabi and Iraqi oil, cartoon

From Reuters news agency:

Tue Nov 3, 2015 10:56am GMT

Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi who pushed Bush to invade Iraq dies

BAGHDAD | By Stephen Kalin and Saif Hameed

Ahmed Chalabi, the smooth-talking Iraqi politician who pushed Washington to invade Iraq in 2003 with discredited information on Saddam Hussein’s military capabilities, died on Tuesday of an apparent heart attack.

Haitham al-Jabouri, secretary of parliament’s financial panel that Chalabi had chaired, said attendants had found him dead in his bed in his Baghdad home. A news flash on Iraqi state television said the cause was a heart attack.

A secular Shi’ite, Chalabi rose to prominence as leader of the then-exiled Iraqi National Congress, which played a major role in encouraging the U.S. administration of former President George W. Bush to invade Iraq and oust Saddam. …

Chalabi, born in 1944 into a wealthy Baghdad family, returned to Iraq shortly after Saddam’s fall, the culmination of years of work abroad pressing and charming Washington to oust the man who ruled Iraq with an iron fist for decades.

He ultimately succeeded by persuading the United States that Saddam Hussein had links to al Qaeda and possessed weapons of mass destruction in the wake of the September 11 attacks, claims that later proved unfounded.

After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, he could often be seen in Baghdad flanked by dozens of bodyguards as he forged ties with political figures and powerful clerics.

CHEQUERED CAREER

Once viewed in Washington as its preferred future Iraqi leader, he lost favour among his American benefactors amid accusations that he had passed information to arch-foe Iran. …

Chalabi was later charged with leading the purge of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, a move that would prove costly.

Al Qaeda capitalised on the security vacuum that followed, triggering a sectarian civil war with attacks on the majority Shi’ite population that would plunge Iraq into chaos for years. …

“Everyone was against him and accused him of being an agent, but they all secretly approached him and sought for him to be their bridge to the Americans,” said Alusi.

Chalabi’s career was chequered. A former top banker, he was convicted of embezzlement by a court in Jordan and sentenced in absentia to more than 20 years in prison.

His tainted reputation never curbed his ambitions.

Iraq warmonger Ahmad Chalabi dies: here.

See also here.

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