Leading voice behind 2003 U.S.-led invasion dies

Published 10:11 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015

BAGHDAD — Ahmad Chalabi, a prominent Iraqi politician and leading advocate of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein, has died of a heart attack, Iraqi state TV reported Tuesday.

The report said he died in Baghdad but did not provide further details on the circumstances of his death. He was 71.

Chalabi, a secular Shiite politician who lived in exile for decades, was a leading proponent of the invasion to topple Saddam and provided false information indicating that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He had close ties to many in the Bush administration, who viewed him as a favorite to lead Iraq after the 2003 intervention.

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However, he had a falling out with the Pentagon following the invasion, and was largely sidelined by other Iraqi leaders, many with close ties to neighboring Iran. Chalabi had been serving as the chairman of parliament’s finance committee, and was previously a deputy prime minister.

The first deputy speaker of parliament, Sheik Humam Hamoudi, lamented Chalabi’s death as a “big loss” to Iraq, calling him “an example of perseverance and dedication.”