Chalabi, Ahmad

(1944- )
   Chalabi was an exiled Iraqi Shia banker who became the leader of the opposition Iraqi National Congress (INC) at its creation in 1992. From this position he became a very controversial figure associated with the neoconservatives in the United States. His organization received millions of dollars from the U.S. government up to 2004.
   Chalabi was educated in the United States, where he earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1969, and he is fluent in English; his sympathies toward the Kurds date to the time of Mulla Mustafa Barzani, whom he helped obtain arms.
   He had only limited success as the leader of the INC and, after the United States overthrew the Saddam Hussein regime, his following within Iraq proved minimal. In addition, many blamed him for feeding false information to the United States about the former Iraqi regime as a way to entice the United States to go to war in the first place. In 2004, he had a temporary falling out with the U.S. government over various criminal charges involving theft. His enemies also have accused him of financial irregularities dating back to the collapse in 1990 of his Petra Bank, which he had established in Jordan in 1977.
   Despite these problems, Chalabi has exhibited an uncanny ability to survive and remains a secondary player in postwar Iraqi politics. For example, he served as president of the interim Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) in September 2003 and was interim oil minister in postwar Iraq in April-May 2005 and again in December 2005-Jan-uary 2006. He also served as the deputy prime minister from May 2005 to May 2006. However, he failed to win a seat in parliament in the national elections of December 2005. He was not asked to join the new government of Nouri al-Maliki that was formed in May 2006, but al-Maliki did appoint him in October 2007 to head the Iraqi Services Committee that sought to restore local services to Baghdad.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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