Ahmed Chalabi


Iraqi politician invented by America Less a cause of the Iraq war than a convenient enabler of it, Ahmed Chalabi was an answer to America's problems and if he had not existed, his backers would probably have conjured up a replacement to serve the same function. Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi politician who, from his 45-year exile from his homeland, helped persuade the US to invade Iraq in 2003, then unsuccessfully tried to attain power as his country was torn apart by the invasion that went horribly wrong. Ahmed Chalabi was perhaps the single Iraqi most associated with helped President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq and topple its long-time dictator, Saddam Hussein. A mathematician with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Ahmed Chalabi, the son of a prominent Shiite family, cultivated close ties with journalists in Washington and London; the neoconservative advisers who helped shape George W Bush's foreign policy; and a wide network of Iraqi exiles, many of whom were paid for intelligence about Saddam Hussein's government. The darling of the US neo-cons, Ahmed Chalabi's relationship with the Americans was not a simple one. He took millions of dollars from the C.I.A. As it became clear that the evidence he promoted as proving that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction was, if not fabricated, then manipulated and exaggerated, the Bush administration distanced itself from him. In 1977, Ahmed Chalabi launched a new bank in Jordan but his career in finance ended in 1989 when the bank collapsed. He fled to Syria. Jordan military tribunal convicted him in absentia of embezzlement and fraud, and sentenced him to 22 years' imprisonment with hard labour. Born Ahmed Abdul Hadi Chalabi, a masterful manipulator, he never managed to rise to the top of Iraq's stormy, sectarian-driven politics, the urbane, westernised and secular Ahmed Chalabi died of a heart attack. He watched the bloody disintegration of his country, but expressed few regrets.

Compiler: M. Nauman Khan

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