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.

 

Saudi insists demands on Qatar non-negotiable

US court halts deportations of Iraqi nationals

Yemen cholera outbreak shows signs of slowing

Over 8,000 migrants rescued in Med in 48 hours

Lebanon’s grocery business booming thanks to refugees

Children in the lead as families escape Raqa

Turkey remembers Istanbul airport attack

30 civilians dead in Syria air strikes

Celebrating Eid al-Fitr, even if worries abound

Libya’s cash crisis worsens three years into civil war

Turkish army clashes with Kurdish militia in Syria

Qatar says Garcia Report 'vindicates' 2022 bid

US Supreme Court to decide on Iran artifact case

Hamas says travel documents for sick Gazans being refused

Former Syrian defence minister Mustafa Tlass dies in Paris

Iran says US reinstating travel ban 'regrettable'

GCC construction outlook to improve with oil prices recovery and implementation of reforms

57 dead in US-led strikes on IS Syria prison

Kremlin denounces US ‘threats’ against Assad

Mattis says US wants to steer clear of war in Syria

Mali activists call for referendum to be abandoned

Iraq forces battle deep into devastated Old Mosul

Iraqi forces control two thirds of Mosul Old City

Banned Bahraini newspaper fires staff

New crown prince widely welcomed in Saudi Arabia

Assad leads Eid prayers in Syria’s Hama

Lone-wolf attacks raise concern about new trend in terror

Erdogan slams Saudi demands of Qatar as illegal

Sudan making 'positive' steps on meeting US sanctions terms

Mecca suicide bombing injures six

Gulf crisis heats up as Qatar receives list of demands

Suicide attacks kill at least three people in Mosul

Civilians killed in Iraq suicide bomb attacks

UN warns Yemen cholera outbreak could infect 300,000 by September

Putin launches deep-water phase of TurkStream pipeline

Berlin warns Ankara against meddling in religious affairs

Asian states downplay 'Russia proposal' to send troops to Syria

Iran’s Salehi urges West to save historic nuclear deal

Iran, allies mark Jerusalem Day with rallies

US-led Syria strikes kill 472 civilians in one month

Morocco dismantles 'IS-linked cell plotting tourist attacks'

France sets out tough new anti-terror law

Russia warships, submarine strike IS targets in Syria

Trump-Saudi ties help pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa