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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Iraq/Al-Qaeda Connection

At FrontPage Magazine, Jamie Glazov interviews terrorism expert Thomas Joscelyn on Mukhabarat (Iraqi Intelligence Service) documents exposing the ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. Here's a snippet:

One IIS document, in particular, has received significant attention. The document was apparently authored in early 1997 and summarizes a number of contacts between Iraqi Intelligence and Saudi oppositionist groups, including al Qaeda, during the mid 1990's. The document says that in early 1995 bin Laden requested Iraqi assistance in two ways. First, bin Laden wanted Iraqi television to carry al Qaeda's anti-Saudi propaganda. Saddam agreed. Second, bin Laden requested Iraqi assistance in performing "joint operations against the foreign forces in the land of Hijaz." That is, bin Laden wanted Iraq's assistance in attacking U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia.

We do not know what, exactly, came of bin Laden's second request. But the document indicates that Saddam's operatives "were left to develop the relationship and the cooperation between the two sides to see what other doors of cooperation and agreement open up." Thus, it appears that both sides saw value in working with each other. It is also worth noting that in the months following bin Laden's request, al Qaeda was tied to a series of bombings in Saudi Arabia.

The same document also indicates that Iraq was in contact with Dr. Muhammad al-Massari, the head of the Committee for Defense of Legitimate Rights (CDLR). The CDLR is a known al Qaeda propaganda organ based in London. The document indicates that the IIS was seeking to "establish a nucleus of Saudi opposition in Iraq” and to “use our relationship with [al-Massari] to serve our intelligence goals." The document also notes that Iraq was attempting to arrange a visit for the al Qaeda ideologue to Baghdad. Again, we can't be certain what came of these contacts.

Gee, how do you think the press would have reacted to such news?

Interestingly enough, the existence of this document was first reported by The New York Times in the summer of 2004, several weeks after the 9-11 Commission proclaimed that there was no operational relationship between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda. For some reason, the Times decided to sit on the document while splashing the 9-11 Commission's conclusion on the front page.

Read the whole thing.

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