Whatever happened to Ahmed Chalabi? (the man whose lies about WMDs took us to war)

 

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Whatever happened to Ahmed Chalabi? (the man whose lies about WMDs took us to war)

He is the great survivor of Iraqi politics, still flexing his muscles in the wreckage of Baghdad despite the infamous part he played in the ill-fated US invasion. Patrick Cockburn caught up with him

Published: 16 May 2007

 

 

Ahmed Chalabi stands on the bank of the Tigris river within easy sniper range of the opposite side and surveys the twisted steel girders of the al-Sarafiyah bridge in Baghdad, its central spans torn apart by a massive truck bomb last month. The force of the blast impresses him. “I am surprised that the explosion managed to bring down three spans,” he says as he looks at the wreckage.

It is a placid enough scene but nothing in Baghdad is truly safe. I supposed that Mr Chalabi’s numerous and heavily armed police and army guards knew their business but I was hoping that we would not dawdle too long. The al-Sarafiyah bridge, once one of the sights of Baghdad, connected the Shia district where we were standing with Wazzariyah, where there had been clashes with Sunni insurgents. I selected a reassuringly vast concrete plinth of the bridge to dodge behind if there was any shooting.

Conspicuous in a dark business suit, Mr Chalabi seemed uncaring about our possible vulnerability to hostile fire and was talking with some of the men in charge of rebuilding the bridge. There were no signs of reconstruction. He stepped into a small, dark, river police patrol boat which circled below the bridge for a few moments. Returning to the bank he remarked that one of the policemen on the boat had told him that “five out of 16 river policemen in his unit had been killed”. “Snipers at Taji,” one of his aides commented. As for the bridge, Mr Chalabi said reconstruction was “very slow – they should be working now”.
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