Ramblings of history, science, and culture

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


9-11 commission vice chairman, Lee Hamilton, stated, "There were connections between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein's government. We don't disagree on that." Commission co-chairman Thomas Kean said, "What we have found is, were there contacts between al-Qaida and Iraq? Yes, some of them were shadowy -- but they were there." Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that his government had warned Washington after 9/11 and before military operations in Iraq that Saddam's regime was preparing attacks in the United States and on its interests abroad.

Iraq/al Qaeda link confirmed

Abdul Rahman Yasin, a member of the al-Qaeda cell that detonated the 1993 World Trade Center bomb, found safe haven in Iraq. And documents recently found in Tikrit indicate Saddam provided Yasin with both a home and a salary. ABC News reported in 1999 that Saddam had offered bin Laden asylum, citing their "long relationship", and a December 1998 meeting in Afghanistan between Osama and Iraqi intelligence chief, Faruq Hijazi. Attorney General Janet Reno and US Attorney Mary Jo White, who in 1998 brought an indictment against bin Laden and a deputy, Mohammed Atef, charging that Saddam and Osama "reached an understanding ... that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al-Qaeda would work cooperatively with Iraq."

Iraq and al-Qaida: Connections, maybe even to 9/11

An al Qaeda operative now held by the U.S. confessed that in the mid-1990s, bin Laden had forged an agreement with Saddam’s men to cease all terrorist activities against the Iraqi dictator

In October 2000, another Iraqi intelligence operative, Salah Suleiman, was arrested by Pakistani authorities. Suleiman was shuttling between Iraqi intelligence and Ayman al Zawahiri.

In 1998, Abbas al-Janabi, a longtime aide to Saddam’s son Uday, defected to the West. At the time, he repeatedly told reporters that there was a direct connection between Iraq and al Qaeda

Sept. 11 conclusions: Stunningly obvious

At the same time, it makes sense that Saddam's minions would have interacted with their al-Qaeda counterparts. Saddam's regime maintained contact with a number of terrorist groups - and provided assistance and safe haven to some of them - to advance his broad objective of disrupting adversaries.

It's worth noting, too, that various officials, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, have pointed to Saddam's own terrorist ambitions, which included potential U.S. targets.

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