First Published: 2005-01-24

 
Defiant Chalabi hits out at Shaalan
 

Chalabi reiterates his accusations Iraqi defense minister, other government officials have engaged in suspicious activities.

 

Middle East Online

My answer to Shaalan is that he knows nothing about law: Chalabi

BASRA, Iraq - Controversial Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi hit back Sunday at the country's defense minister Hazem Shaalan over threats to arrest him.

Chalabi, a dark horse candidate for prime minister, denied he had fled to the southern city of Basra after Shaalan threatened to jail the one-time Pentagon favourite for slandering his ministry.

"My answer to Shaalan is that he knows nothing about law or how a state is to be administered and he cannot overcome Iraqi authority and thus he cannot arrest anybody," a defiant Chalabi told reporters in the southern port of Basra.

Chalabi reiterated his accusations that Shaalan and other government officials had engaged in suspicious activities, transferring large sums of money out of the country to buy weapons for the Iraqi army.

"Hazem Shaalan illegally leaked out millions of dollars through opaque channels. This is the first time such a thing happens in that way."

Chalabi arrived at a Basra hotel under heavy security with bodyguards and 16 four-wheel drive vehicles, accompanied by Shiite political leader Abdul Kareem al-Mohammadawi, head of the fundamentalist Hezbollah party.

On Friday, Shaalan said the Baghdad government would shortly arrest Chalabi for staining his ministry's reputation.

"We will arrest him and hand him to Interpol... He sought to tarnish the image of the defense ministry and... the reputation of the defense minister," Shaalan told Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television.

Chalabi's comments put an unwanted spotlight on the financial dealings of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's government, raising questions about its conduct.

Fanning the controversy, The New York Times reported that Allawi, Shaalan and a small circle of council members sent 300 million dollars to a bank in Lebanon last week.

Iraqi officials told the Times the money had been sent out to buy tanks and other weapons from arms dealers for the Iraqi army, but the covert nature of the deal had raised eyebrows.

Chalabi, who fell out of favour in Washington over US accusations that he had been passing top-secret US intelligence assessments to neighbouring Iran, has himself long been dogged by allegations of corruption and was convicted by a Jordan court for embezzling funds from the collapsed Petra bank.

 

Turkish warplanes pound Kurdish forces in Iraq, Syria

US criticizes 1915 massacres in Armenia

Iran, major powers to review adherence to nuclear deal

Netanyahu cancels talks with German FM over NGO meetings

Young Iraqi innovator building home-made drones

Baghdad condemns Turkish airstrikes on Kurdish forces

IS executes Iraqi civilians in Mosul

Qatar World Cup workers receive random health checks

Libyan government calls for foreign intervention as fighting spreads

Tunisia parliament votes to ease harsh drug law

Nostalgia dominates Iraqi Ba’ath conference in Spain

Moroccans call on Le Pen voters to quit country

Turkey court rejects opposition challenge to referendum result

Spain arrests 4 for links to Belgium IS attacks

Iraq forces push towards UNESCO site in Hatra

Israel appoints country's first female sharia judge

Frontline clinic is window to hell of IS-held Mosul

Iraq forces retake west Mosul neighbourhood from IS

Iraqi Kurds lament ‘unacceptable’ Turkish air strikes

Khamenei urges Iran candidates to focus on home

UN chief urges donors to prevent Yemen famine

Yemen’s ‘march for bread’ protestors end week-long march

Jailed British-Iranian sees final appeal rejected in Tehran

Iran election may be pointer to race for supreme leader

US-backed forces enter key IS-held Syria town Tabqa

Israel probe clears officer who shot teen attackers

Syria ‘ready’ to halt fire for chemical attack probe

Israel charges teenager for bomb threats against Jewish institutions

Egypt sentences 20 to death over 2013 police killings

Erdogan accuses researcher of 'inciting assassination'

Qatar Airways CEO accuses US carriers of ‘bullying’

At least 15 migrants drown near Lesbos

Former employees work to salvage Mosul University

Jordan wary about jihadists wishing to return home

US fires opening shots in confrontation with Iran

Mattis sees Saudi Arabia ‘helping across the region’

Sirens, silence as Israel remembers Holocaust

Houthis intensify crackdown on dissent in Yemen

Italian reporter released in Turkey

Algiers summons Morocco envoy over Syrian migrant row

Macron, Le Pen gird for final French election duel

Iran reverses decision to ban live presidential debates

Six Israelis including two soldiers held for anti-Arab attacks

Economists, rights advocates concerned over Egypt’s state of emergency

US Defense Secretary Mattis visits strategic Djibouti