Iraq leaders attend funeral of U.S. invasion backer Chalabi
Top Iraqi officials attended a funeral Wednesday for politician Ahmed Chalabi, a controversial champion of the US-led invasion of his country.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, President Fuad Masum, parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi and other officials were among the large crowd of mourners at the ceremony held in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone, where the government is headquartered.
Chalabi, the head of parliament’s finance committee, died of a heart attack aged 71 the day before.
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 U.S. justification for attacking Iraq in 2003.
But he lost favour after the invasion when information 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 U.S. foe Iran.
Chalabi held the rotating presidency of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council after the invasion, served as deputy prime minister and also temporarily held the key oil portfolio, but he never reached the political heights to which he aspired.