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Former Iraqi Defense Minister Blames Iran for Smear Campaign Against Him - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Amman, Asharq Al-Awsat- While pressures are building up against him, former Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Sha”alan accused Iran of being behind the escalating allegations campaign targeted at him. Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the Supreme Debathification Commission, Ali al-Lami, declared that he has requested that the former minister”s immunity be lifted to pave the way for his trial on two charges. The first is related to the claims of corruption in his former ministry. The second allegation is based on claims that he was a member of the intelligence service in the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

Sha”alan pointed fingers of accusation to Iran in the campaign against him, Saying, &#34the reason behind this whole campaign is that I have spoken unfavorably about the ”the black grape,” as the saying goes in Iraq.&#34

He referred to &#34the whole campaign as a matter of setting accounts because I exposed the scandals of Iranian intervention in Iraq.&#34

Sha”alan denied that he had worked or was associated with the Iraqi intelligence service. He referred to a number of &#34ill-intended&#34 parties inside Iraq who tried to associate him with the Iraqi intelligence service before the past elections. The current campaign has been staged to take place in advance of the upcoming elections with the aim of defaming his reputation.

He said, &#34I do not know a person by the name Ali al-Lami. My enemies in the National Assembly can do anything because they have a majority in the assembly.&#34

He added it is possible to raise charges against anybody in Iraq without having any evidence, because &#34Iraq has turned into a jungle now. Every day about 100 to 150 bodies are thrown in the Tigris River.&#34

On the other hand, al-Lami told the Associated Press yesterday that if his commission gets the approval to lift Sha”alan immunity, &#34an arrest warrant will be issued and will be submitted to the Jordanian Government which must turn him over to the Iraqi authorities.&#34

Sha”alan is currently in the Jordanian capital to prepare for the meeting of &#34the National Forces Parliament,&#34 which he heads.

Al-Lami claimed that Sha”alan used the pseudonym &#34Haidar Ahmad&#34 when he worked with the Iraqi intelligence service during the era of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. He explained that Sha”alan can be tried for crimes committed during the era of deposed President Saddam Hussein. He can also go on trial for allegations of &#34corruption when he was Defense Minister&#34 in the former government of Ayad Allawi.

Commenting on the allegations that he used to work for the intelligence service during the time of Saddam Hussein, Sha”alan said, &#34Recently it was discovered that one of the members of the Revolution Council used to work for the Iraqi intelligence.&#34 He refused to mention his name.

He added, &#34A large number of the present officials in the National Assembly are working for Iranian intelligence.&#34

Concerning the allegations of corruption against him, Sha”alan confirmed that he was ready to appear before any investigation committee provided it includes a number of American and British members &#34because they were responsible for importing weapons in order to clarify the truth.&#34

Sha”alan promised to provide with documents issued by the British Inspector supervising the Defense Ministry that would prove his innocence against all these charges.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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