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Wednesday, September 01, 2004


This AP report (via the NY Times) tells of an assassination attempt on Ahmed Chalabi. There's no speculation as to who may be behind it, but I have my suspicions (see last night's post on the Sadr City truce breakdown, for a hint).

Gunmen opened fire Wednesday on a convoy carrying former Iraqi Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi in an apparent assassination attempt that wounded two of his bodyguards, Chalabi's spokesman said.

Chalabi's convoy was attacked in southern Baghdad at about 7:30 a.m. as he returned from the holy city of Najaf, said spokesman Mithal al-Alusi.

``The doctor (Chalabi) is in good health. He is safe but two of his bodyguards were injured, `` al-Alusi said.

Chalabi, a one-time Pentagon favorite who fell out of favor with the United States, returned to Iraq from Iran earlier this month to face counterfeiting charges.

A warrant issued by an Iraqi court accused him of counterfeiting old Iraqi dinars, which were removed from circulation after the ouster of Saddam Hussein last year. Chalabi denies the allegations, saying he collected the fake currency in his role as chairman of the Governing Council's finance committee.

Despite the warrant, the Iraqi Interior Ministry has said it won't arrest Chalabi until unspecified legal issues are cleared up, leaving him free to move around the country.

Chalabi's nephew, Salem Chalabi -- who heads the special tribunal in charge of trying ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein -- faces separate murder charges.

Of course he hasn't been arrested. If he had been, how on earth could he be so accidentally and unfortunately gunned down in the street by terrorists?

{UPDATE} Laura Rozen adds that Chalabi was returning from a meeting with Sistani when attacked by the gunmen.

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