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Iraqi Politician Ahmad Chalabi Dies

Ahmed Chalabi speaks to the media in Baghdad, Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

Ahmed Chalabi speaks to the media in Baghdad, Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi, 71, has died in Baghdad.

Chalabi influenced American lawmakers and presidential advisers to invade Iraq and overthrow the Saddam Hussein government in 1998.

Chalabi lived in exile until the end of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. Officials said he died of heart failure.

Chalabi influenced the U.S. Congress to pass the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. That law stated military action in Iraq that former President George W. Bush said would bring democracy to Iraq and the region.

He was friends with former Vice President Dick Cheney and many top Pentagon officials, according to the New York Times.

Chalabi said he believed Saddam Hussein held weapons of mass destruction, the Times reported in his obituary. He survived an assassination attempt in 2008. In that attack, he was targeted by a suicide bomber. After that, Chalabi allied himself with Moktada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite leader and Iran ally.

In 2014, he was named as a possible prime minister candidate.

He was born in Baghdad in 1944. His family went into exile in 1958 – the year Iraqi army officers overthrew the monarchy. Chalabi studied in America and taught at American University in Beirut, Lebanon.

In 1992, Chalabi co-formed the Iraqi National Congress to oust Hussein. For the next 12 years, Ahmad had an on-again, off-again relationship with American presidential administrators and intelligence agencies. By 2004, he had been cut off from all aid by the U.S.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Jim Dresbach adapted this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.


Words in This Story

lawmakers – n. people who make the laws

assassination – n. the killing of a famous person usually for political reasons

obituary – n. an article in a newspaper about the life of someone who has died recently

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