Head of the Iraqi National Congress Ahmad Chalabi has ruled out the withdrawal of US and any multinational forces from Iraq
at the present.
Speaking to Aljazeera on Sunday, Chalabi has said that Iraq needs these forces to be present until it is able to establish its own army and defend itself.
"Iraq now needs international support in the context of the United Nations, to defend itself and protect its land internally and externally," Chalabi said.
Chalabi is a controversial figure in Iraqi politics, currently the interim minister for oil and a deputy prime minister in Iraq, as of 28 April 2005.
He is also the head of the Iraqi National Council (INC), and has been at the helm of the organisation since 1992. The INC had provided much of the so-called evidence regarding Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction to the US.
The information which the US used as the basis for its invasion of Iraq in 2003 and which the then secretary of state used to try to garner support at the United Nations, was codenamed Curveball.
German intelligence had, however, warned that Curveball was fabricated and proved to be true since no WMDs were found in Iraq. The information Chalabi provided did, however, point to the people who were his personal enemies and to Saddam's aides in Iraq, according to wikipedia.org.
Since then, the CIA has admitted that Chalabi made up the story, and Colin Powell was forced to make an embarrassing apology for using the information.
In an attempt to have the matter brushed under the carpet, Chalabi told British newspaper The Daily Telegraph in February 2004: "We are heroes in error. As far as we're concerned, we've been entirely successful.
Chalabi was quoted as saying the
US was using him as a scapegoat
"Saddam is gone and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important. The Bush administration is looking for a scapegoat."
Throughout the period, Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress was paid $335,000 a month by the Pentagon for the intelligence provided. In addition, the US State Department paid more than $33 million, according to a US General Accounting office report in 2004.
Chalabi was given a position in the US appointed interim government after the invasion and was appointed president of Iraq's interim governing council in September 2003.
"Iraq is surrounded by six countries that have 3 million soldiers in total, at least 10,000 tanks and 2000 fighters, while Iraq has nothing of this sort to defend itself with," he told Aljazeera.
"The Iraqi army has collapsed following the fall of Saddam Hussain's government.
"Now, we are building the Iraqi Armed Forces, and until we finish doing so, we need international assistance to maintain security and defend Iraq," he added.