Chalabi, key lobbyist for US invasion of Iraq, dies
Ahmed Chalabi, a key lobbyist for the US invasion of Iraq who was blamed for providing false intelligence on weapons of mass destruction to justify it, died of a heart attack yesterday.
Chalabi, a 71-year-old lawmaker who headed the finance committee, "died this morning... of a heart attack," parliament said in a statement offering condolences for his death.
Living in exile as head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which opposed Saddam Hussein, Chalabi became a White House favourite for information he provided which supported the US justification for attacking Iraq in 2003.
But because of its long years abroad, his group was little known and little liked inside Iraq and American plans for a smooth and easy political transition fell apart.
Disastrous US moves such as disbanding the Iraqi army, an insufficient number of coalition troops to secure the country against insurgency and rising sectarian tensions instead led to years of bloodshed that continue to this day.
The darling of lost favour after the invasion when information he provided regarding Saddam's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaeda turned out to be false.
He was also accused of providing information to US foe Iran.
Iraqi police and US forces raided his home in 2004 and seized documents and computers. The only formal charge was putting forged banknotes into circulation after the raid turned up a small number in his home.
Chalabi has also long been dogged by allegations of corruption and was convicted by a Jordanian court of embezzling funds from the collapsed Petra bank in 1992, a case he claims was politically motivated.
He organised a Kurdish uprising in northern Iraq in the mid-1990s but hundreds of people were killed and he later fled, returning only when US-led invading forces took control.