Riza Was a Key ‘Influence’ Who Helped ‘Reinforce Wolfowitz’s Resolve’ On Iraq Invasion

rizawb.jpg Today the New York Times is reporting that World Bank president and Iraq war architect Paul Wolfowitz has repeatedly used his professional position to help his love interest, Shaha Riza. In 2003, his deputy directed a private contractor to hire Riza.

Riza has played a “crucial role” in neoconservative circles since before the U.S. invasion. An 8/3/04 report in Canada’s National Post noted:

So Mr. Wolfowitz and Ms. Riza are not just close personally, they have also both long espoused the same deeply held conviction that democracy should be spread across the Arab world. With his ear, she is one of most influential Arabs in Washington.

Paul and some others always had Saddam Hussein in their sights, but she helped reinforce that resolve,” said a friend who moves in similar conservative circles. “That was greatly helped by the fact that she is an Arab woman who is an expert on the process of democracy.” …

This agenda is being pushed by a group in which Shaha has a crucial role. She has views she holds strongly, but she is a modest, polite person,” the friend said.

A 2004 New Yorker article called Riza an “influence” on Wolfowitz’s thinking about Iraq and in 2005, she was listed on the World Bank’s website “as a media contact for Iraq reconstruction issues.”

UPDATE: Cliff Schecter has more.

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