THE MAN WHO PUSHED AMERICA TO WAR: THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE, ADVENTURES, AND OBESSIONS OF AHMAD CHALABI


book-chalabi

by Aram Roston

Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group

 

From an Emmy award-winning investigative reporter-an explosive biography that tells the untold story of the man most responsible for the war in Iraq

 

The citic of Congressional Quarterly - Jeff Stein:

The Man Who Pushed America to War” is a fascinating study of how the oleaginous former Iraqi exile leader separated the CIA and the Pentagon from hundreds of millions of dollars and conned credulous officials and reporters into believing that Saddam Hussein was not just armed with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, but bankrolling al Qaeda. Not to be missed is a fascinating chapter on the secret relationship of Chalabi, the Bush administration’s weapon of mass deception, with Iran, whom he is suspected of warning that the United States was eavesdropping on its communications. But there’s much, much more. Not to be missed.

 

Biography :

 

Aram Roston is an Emmy Award-winning investigative reporter who has worked as a producer at the NBC Nightly News investigative unit, a correspondent for CNN, and a New York City police reporter. He specializes in covering national security, law enforcement, and white collar crime and corruption. He has reported from around the world. His work has been published in Maclean’s, The Nation, the London Observer, GQ, Mother Jones, and Washington Monthly.

 

PRESS REVIEW :

 

From the Publisher:

This is the story of Ahmad Chalabi-fraudster, statesman, banker, math whiz, gourmand, and esthete. Emmy award winner Aram Roston’s extraordinary investigative biography exposes massive white-collar mischief, sophisticated international espionage operations, and political intrigue spanning the globe. Having tracked down forgotten Chalabi business partners and dug through courthouse records, Roston reveals how this convicted felon, Iran ally, and fugitive from justice in Jordan managed to influence the top leaders of the United States.

 

Congressional Quarterly - Jeff Stein:

The Man Who Pushed America to War” is a fascinating study of how the oleaginous former Iraqi exile leader separated the CIA and the Pentagon from hundreds of millions of dollars and conned credulous officials and reporters into believing that Saddam Hussein was not just armed with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, but bankrolling al Qaeda. Not to be missed is a fascinating chapter on the secret relationship of Chalabi, the Bush administration’s weapon of mass deception, with Iran, whom he is suspected of warning that the United States was eavesdropping on its communications. But there’s much, much more. Not to be missed.

 

Booklist:

Roston pored through legal documents and interviewed a multitude of political figures in the U.S. and the Middle East to detail Chalabi’s incredible machinations.[An] amazing look at the con man, or hero, who changed the course of Iraqi and American history.

 

The New York Times - Leslie H. Gelb:

Roston bases his account on interviews with Chalabi’s family, friends, intimates and enemies, and on a range of books and articles. Chalabi did not give Roston an interview. The overall result is a book with some new details on key events, but no headlines. Its main contribution is to consolidate all the Chalabi anecdotes into one coherent and fair-minded account. Roston does very little speculating or searching for larger meanings, but he provides a solid foundation to analyze what this brilliant, charming rogue led us to do to ourselves.

 

Kirkus Reviews:

What do you get when you cross a felonious royalist bearing a long agenda and list of grudges with the world’s sole superpower? An endless war in a faraway land, that’s what. Though NBC Nightly News correspondent Roston doesn’t quite say so, Iraqi dissident and would-be empire-builder Ahmad Chalabi is an analog to an Omega 7 anti-Castroite living in Miami but longing for glory days in Havana. Routed from Iraq when the royal government fell to a military coup, events that later would bring Saddam Hussein to power, the Chalabi family, royalists all, went into exile. “If you are trying to find ‘Rosebud,’ ” one Chalabi relative tells Roston, “look for the 1958 revolution . . . that disempowered our family.” Chalabi himself went to MIT, where he fell under the tutelage of mathematician Warren Ambrose and might have become an Iraqi analog to . . . well, strangely, Noam Chomsky, who traveled in similar circles. Chalabi, writes Roston, claims to have worked in cryptography there and crossed paths with federal spooks who warned him away from the research, though his classmates discount the assertion. That moment comes early on in the book, which proceeds to unfold a skein of misdirection and curious bedfellowing on the part of Chalabi, who was early on, it seems, in the employ of the Iranians, on the enemy-of-my-enemy model. Given the Iranian connection and Chalabi’s business relationships with known crooks (notably a “disbarred Florida lawyer and failed brothel owner”), why would the Bush administration-specifically, Donald Rumsfeld-have hitched its wagon to that particular star? Mostly, Roston’s account makes clear, because at least for a time Chalabi told the neocons what they wanted to hearabout WMDs, terrorist connections, secret plots and so forth. Bush got a war out of the deal, while Chalabi got his longed-for countercoup. Another tenpenny nail in the Bush administration’s coffin, insofar as the historical record is concerned.

 

What People Are Saying - James Bamford:

During the next presidential election, voters should have to show proof they have read Aram Roston’s fascinating book before being allowed into the booths so we never get into a war like this again. (James Bamford, bestselling author of Body of Secrets and A Pretext for War)

 

 

Table of Contents:

 

Prologue     ix

Part I

Golden Age, 1944-1958     3

Chalabi in America, 1962-1968     16

Beirut, 1971-1977     22

Petra Bank, 1977     30

Iran and Shiism, 1978-1988     36

Business with Saddam, 1980-1989     41

The Collapse of the Chalabi Empire, 1989-1990     43

The Fall of Ahmad Chalabi, 1989     52

Part II

Desert Storm, 1990-1991     67

Recruitment, 1991     74

Going After Jordan, 1992     80

The Founding of the Iraqi National Congress: Audit by Burglary and Little Coffins, 1991-1992     85

IBC Communications: The Funding, 1992     93

Conviction, 1992     95

Guerrilla Warrior, 1993-1995     101

Victory in Hong Kong, 1995     114

Tossed Out in the Cold, 1996     116

Part III

Rising Again: Ahmad Chalabi’s Allies, 1997     123

Wooing the Neocons, 1997-1998     134

Frozen Assets and the Iraq Trust     142

Forming INDICT     146

Ahmad Chalabi’s Law, 1998     149

The Money Returns     158

BKSH: Representing Chalabi     168

Part IV

The Uses of September 11, 2001     173

September 11-A New Direction     181

Saddam’s Airline Hijacking School     184

The Case of the Underground Wells     193

David Rose, 2001-2003     200

The Man Who Invented the Mobile Labs, March 2002     206

Saddam’s Mistress, September 2002     212

The Run-up to War, Summer 2002-Winter 2003     222

The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, Autumn 2002     229

The Free Iraqi Forces and the End of the Iraq Liberation Act, Summer 2003-Winter 2003     232

The Birth of De-Baathification, Summer 2002     237

There Is Oil in Iraq     240

Getting Ready, Winter 2003     243

Entering Iraq, April 2003     252

The Dossiers, 2003     259

An Armored Truck and {dollar}250 Million, April 2003     267

De-Baathification, Part II, 2003-2004     270

Chalabi vs. Bremer, May 2003-April 2004     273

The UN Gets a Warning, Summer 2003     276

The State of the Union, January 2004     282

BKSH at War, 2003-2004     287

Banking in Iraq, Summer-Fall 2003     298

Chalabi Under Seige, May 2003     302

The Iran Connection     313

Weapons of Mass Destruction      318

Almost at the Top     321

Inside Deal, 2005     325

The Vote, 2005-2006     329

The Rescue of the Journalist, 2005     334

Epilogue     337

Acknowledgments     345

Notes     350

Index     361

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