The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures, and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi

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This is the true story of Ahmad Chalabi, fraudster, statesman, banker, math whiz and aesthete, whose legendary charisma and charm - and almost hypnotic powers of persuasion - helped propel the United States to war in Iraq. This extraordinary investigative biography - written by an Emmy Award-winning journalist who works for NBC's Investigative Unit - exposes massive white-collar mischief, sophisticated international espionage operations, and political intrigue spanning the globe from Tehran to Texas. Chalabi was ...

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The Man Who Pushed America to War: The Extraordinary Life, Adventures and Obsessions of Ahmad Chalabi

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Overview

This is the true story of Ahmad Chalabi, fraudster, statesman, banker, math whiz and aesthete, whose legendary charisma and charm - and almost hypnotic powers of persuasion - helped propel the United States to war in Iraq. This extraordinary investigative biography - written by an Emmy Award-winning journalist who works for NBC's Investigative Unit - exposes massive white-collar mischief, sophisticated international espionage operations, and political intrigue spanning the globe from Tehran to Texas. Chalabi was a shrewd Iraqi Arab from a family of Shiite bankers. Aram Roston tracked down forgotten Chalabi business partners and friends and dug through the records from courthouses around the world. The book reveals how this convicted felon, fugitive from justice in Jordan, and ally of the Iranian government managed to charm and influence the top leaders fo the United States, including US senators like John McCain. The book has the inside story of Chalabi's pre-war propaganda operations the exclusive details of Chalabi's financial dealings and political access.

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Editorial Reviews

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.
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.
Congressional Quarterly
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.
—The New York Times
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568583532
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/3/2008
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Aram Roston is an Emmy winning journalist who has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers. He has worked as a CNN correspondent and a New York City police reporter.
 

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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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