Skip to comments.Bin Ladin and Iraq
Posted on 06/23/2004 4:34:36 AM PDT by Huck
I. OSAMA BIN LADIN URGES REVENGE FOR IRAQ STRIKES, AP, DEC 26 II. CORRIERE DELLA SERA, BIN LADIN AND IRAQ, DEC 28 III. AL WATAN AL ARABI, BIN LADIN AND IRAQ, JAN 1 IV. AL MAJALLAH, BIN LADIN AND IRAQ, JAN 10 V. DAILY TELEGRAPH, THE KIDNAPPINGS IN YEMEN AND IRAQ, JAN 3 VI. AL ITTIHAD, KUWAIT ARRESTS IRAQ-TRAINED FUNDAMENTALISTS, JAN 12 VII. AL MAJALLAH, BIN LADIN AND IRAQ, JAN 22
At 9 PM EST tonight CBS' new program "60 Minutes II" will feature a report on Iraq's continuing nuclear threat and on inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Iraq. The Nuclear Control Institute participated in the preparation of the report and urges all to tune in.
The Iraqi Nat'l Assembly will conclude its two-day extraordinary session tomorrow. The next "Iraq News" will provide an update on the ongoing, vituperative exchanges between Iraq and other Arabs.
Meanwhile, it seemed useful to review an issue that arose following last month's US/UK air strikes-Iraq, Osama bin Ladin, and Muslim Fundamentalists. That question received far more attention in the Arabic press, than it did in the US press, where Newsweek, Jan 11 [see "Iraq News," Jan 6] seemed alone in addressing the issue.
On Dec 26, as AP reported, Al Sharq Al Awsat published an interview with bin Ladin in which he said, "'The British and the American people loudly declared their support for their leaders' decision to attack Iraq. ' . . . This made it 'the duty of Muslims to confront, fight and kill' Britons and Americans."
A series of articles followed in the international, particularly Arabic, press about links between Iraq and bin Ladin. Some party/ies wanted to put the story out, it seems. Some information in the articles is known and reliable, like the role of Hassan Turabi, head of Sudan's Islamic movement, in putting Osama bin Ladin in contact with Iraqi intelligence, during bin Ladin's residence in Khartoum. But other information would not likely be known to outsiders and seems invented.
That said, on Dec 28, the Italian paper, Corriere della Sera, reported "Saddam Husayn and Osama Bin Ladin have sealed a pact. Faruq Hijazi, the former director of the Iraqi secret services and now the country's ambassador to Turkey, held a secret meeting with the extremist leader on 21 December. . . . Hijazi reiterated Iraq's amenability to offering shelter to Osama and to his mujahedin, 'You will always be a welcome guest. . . We cannot forget our debt of gratitude. This was a reference to the establishment last February of the 'International Islamic Front against the Crusaders and the Jews,' announced by Osama in the midst of one of the periodic crises between Iraq and the United Nations. . . The same ritual was reenacted during the most recent crisis. The day after the air strikes, Osama called an international news conference and issued a new statement, including threats that neither Washington nor London are taking lightly. . . . "
On Jan 1, the Paris-based, Al Watan Al Arabi, reported that in late Oct, 98, an Iraqi and Sudanese visited bin Ladin in Afghanistan. "Informed intelligence sources . . . were convinced that it was part of a new plan for cooperation and coordination, or more accurately a renewed one, between Iraq, bin Ladin and Sudan. Information available to these sources confirmed that bin-Ladin began to establish close ties with Iraq at least five years ago, specifically when the leader of Muslim extremists chose to reside in Sudan with the blessing and protection of Dr. Hassan al-Turabi, leader of the National Islamic Movement. These sources asserted that they received in the past few years confirmed and detailed information that cooperation between bin Ladin and Iraq entered 'an important and grave stage' through their cooperation in the field of producing chemical and biological weapons. "Al Watan al-Arabi's information indicated that several western diplomatic and security sources, including European ones, which have good relations with Sudan, warned in secret reports they sent at the end of last year that Iraq, Sudan, and bin Ladin were cooperating and coordinating in the field of chemical weapons. These reports said that several chemical factories were built in Sudan. They were financed by bin Ladin and supervised by Iraqi experts and technicians following a deal between Baghdad, Khartoum, and bin-Ladin. . . . "Informed sources asserted that the meeting was extremely serious. The two sides laid down the details of the biggest act of cooperation and coordination between the extremist Islamic organizations and Baghdad for confronting the United States, the common enemy. This information indicated that the meeting focused on the ways with which Iraq could help the germ and chemical weapons laboratories. A second meeting was held later in which "Bin Ladin stressed to the Iraqi envoys that he could reach areas, which the Iraqi intelligence could not reach. He referred to the spread of his cells in the Arab countries and the world and focused on his ability to penetrate Arab and Islamic countries through fundamentalist groups."
On Jan 10, the Saudi-financed, London-based, weekly, Al-Majallah, reported that in Oct 98, an Iraqi intelligence official met with the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, Osama bin Ladin, and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of Egypt's Jihad movement. In Dec, according to Al-Majllah, the Iraqi embassy in Islamabad held a series of meetings with "leaders of a number of Pakistani fundamentalist movements and elements from the Taleban, with the knowledge of Pakistani military intelligence . . . On 21 December a high-ranking Iraqi diplomat normally based in Turkey visited Taleban leader Mullah Omar's residence in Kandahar, then headed for Khowat where he met with bin Ladin and al-Zawahiri. . . . [He] affirmed to his Afghan and Arab audience Iraq's willingness to provide financial, logistic, political and informational support for the Taleban and the Afghan Arabs."
On Jan 3, the Daily Telegraph, reported on the UK/US investigation into the Dec 29 kidnapping of 16 UK, US, and Australian tourists and fatal shooting of four, by fundamentalists in Yemen. The Telegraph said that authorities suspected that the Anglo-Saxons "were kidnapped as 'direct retribution' for last month's air strikes on Iraq, and not to achieve the release of local Islamic militants as Yemeni authorities claimed originally. The detectives suspect that the tourists may have been kidnapped to 'shield' Saddam Hussein from further bombing raids, with a warning that they would die if Iraq was attacked again."
On Jan 12, Al-Ittihad (Abu Dhabi) reported, "Kuwaiti security authorities have received an important report indicating that there are hundreds of 'Arab Afghans' receiving advanced military training at al-Nasiriyah District in the south of Iraq. . . . The 'Arab Afghans' are being trained within the context of 'an alliance' struck recently between the Iraqi Government and an international network of militants. Kuwaiti security authorities are said to have been able to dent that alliance when they smashed a 'subversive cell' made up of 25 Egyptians, which operated on Kuwaiti territory. . . It emerged from investigations that there is an agreement in place between Iraq's intelligence services and a front comprising six militant organizations whose ranks included former fighters in the Afghan war effort. . . . "'Al-Ra'y al-Amm,' a Kuwaiti daily newspaper, said yesterday that the country's security police had rounded up 25 people . . . The daily said that the 25 were working on behalf of Iraq and that along with them were seized leaflets urging that the Arabs rise against the Americans. The fliers also featured words of incitement against the regime in Kuwait. The arrested suspects confessed to being members of a cell that had been organized by the Iraqi regime to engage in activity designed to hurt the stability and security of the state of Kuwait. . . "'Al-Ittihad' has come by a copy of the leaflets that were caught with the 25 Egyptians. One of them led with this sentence: 'A statement from the Liberation Party-the Province of Kuwait.' The leaflet urged the population of Kuwait to drop their arms and refrain from fighting against the Iraqis considering that 'your taking up arms against your fellow Muslims who come from other nations in point of fact has nothing to do with jihad because it is a sin for a Muslim to do battle against other Muslims. . . ."
Finally, Al Watan Al Arabi, Jan 22, suggested that Saddam's Jan 6 Army Day speech, calling on Arabs to overthrow their governments, "was made in the context of a grand and well-thought-out plan designed so as to turn the clock back to a climate not unlike the run-up to operation 'Desert Storm.' . . . The Iraqi president is said to have huddled with his sons Uday and Qusay in late November, with the private session ending in the three making up their mind to fight their last battle that would see the Iraqi leader join a common cause and join forces with all extremist groups, Islamic and otherwise, who are known for their hostility to the United States. The scenario drawn up by President Saddam Husayn and his sons calls for that alliance to launch a global terrorist war against the great Satan, the United States, and its allies. The campaign would pursue, in the words of the Iraqi president, an uncompromising and scorched earth policy. . . . "It is said that the contribution made by Iraqi Army soldiers and security personnel in the war in southern Sudan and in south Yemen has had the effect of fostering Baghdad's relations with the extremists who happened to be there in Sudan and Yemen, both of which are 'allies' of Iraq. In fact, Hasan al-Turabi and Ali Abdallah Salih, the president of Yemen, have continued to play a role on behalf of Iraq, winning over Islamic groups for the Baghdad government. Yemen had been regarded as a rearguard base for those extremists who came from various nationalities. Yemen had been using them as much to advance its own national interests as to help Iraq, which viewed the presence of those militants on Yemen's soil as leverage with which it could bring pressure to bear on Gulf states. The abduction of 16 Western hostages a few weeks ago by the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army was to retaliate for the US-UK air strikes against Iraq. . . . "The intelligence sources saw in the arrest of 25 Islamists in Kuwait for their involvement in the distribution of leaflets hostile to the Americans a fresh warning that this new front had actually begun to activate its cells in concert with Islamic groups based in a number of countries. . . . Finally, al Watan al Arabi described events of the first half of 1993. "In the month of June of that year, the Iraqi President Saddam Husayn surprised the world when he made the threat in response to the military strike carried out against Iraq then [the US cruise missile attack on Iraqi intelligence headquarters] that he would unleash 'terrorist attacks against the United States and its allies. . . . The threats made by Iraq to lead terror attacks against US and Zionist and other interests coincided with the investigation into the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in the month of February 1993. Several months later, the investigation led to the discovery of a threat linking Islamic extremists with the Iraqi regime. That was confirmed when it emerged that the key suspect, Ramzi Yusuf, had sought refuge in Iraq after the New York blast and remained in Iraq for a number of months."
Indeed, some Arab governments suspect/are aware that Iraq was behind the Trade Center bombing. One of those involved in the bombing, Mahmud Abu Halima, an Egyptian fundamentalist, fled to his family home in the Nile delta, where he was quickly found and arrested by Egyptian authorities. Under harsh interrotgation, Abu Halima told them that two Iraqis had participated in the bombing, one of whom had been the mastermind, (Abu Halima knew Ramzi Yousef as an Iraqi.) It was only two years after the Gulf war and the Egyptians understood that Iraq was behind the bomb. As one official Egyptian source told Newsweek's Chris Dickey, they didn't understand why the US did nothing about it. But the Clinton administration did, or thought it did, although its response to the suspected Iraqi role in the Trade Center bombing was related to events elsewhere, including in NYC. The Trade Center bombing was followed by an FBI undercover operation, carried out in the spring of 93, aimed at the local fundamentalists. A Sudanese emigre picked up the bait to make jihad. His original target was a Manhattan armory. But he had two "friends" at Sudan's UN mission--intelligence officers. They suggested he target the UN instead and offered to provide diplomatic plates to get a bomb laden van into the UN parking garage. They also suggested adding another target, New York's federal building. Two tunnels were added as well. When the FBI had the evidence it needed--the conspirators on videotape, mixing what they thought was a bomb--the FBI arrested them, on Jun 24. Two days later, Clinton attacked Iraqi intelligence headquarters. Publicly, he said the attack was retaliation for Saddam's attempt to kill George Bush. But Clinton also meant it for the two New York bombing conspiracies. NY FBI, like the Egyptians, suspected Iraq was behind the Trade Center bomb. And US authorities knew of Sudan's involvement in the second plot, as the FBI was running it. The White House recognized that Sudan alone didn't make sense. US-Sudanese relations were not that hostile. The White House thought in terms of fundamentalism and thought Sudan was fronting for Iran. But Iran had no reason to attack the UN. After all, the 1988 UNSC cease-fire that ended the Iraq-Iran war determined that Iraq was the aggressor in that war and declared that Iraq owed Iran large reparations. But who hates the UN more than anyone else? And also has good relations with Sudan? Of course, Iraq. But the White House did not understand that. When Clinton struck Iraqi intelligence headquarters, Jun 26, he believed that the attack would stop Saddam from carrying out any more terrorist attacks, while it would serve as warning to Sudan and Iran. Thus, Tom Friedman reported, in an article dated Jun 27, that appeared in the NYT, Jun 28, "White House officials said today that their only regret about the missile attack on the Iraqi intelligence headquarters was that there was no CNN crew there to broadcast the event live so it could be watched in the Sudan, Iran and other countries suspected of involvement in terorism. Administration officials say they have no conclusive evidence that the Sudanese or Iranian intelligence services were involved with the Muslims recently arrested in the New York area and accused of plotting to bomb the United Nations and other sites. But they said that when the White House was planning the strike in Baghdad, it had not only the Iraqi audience in mind, but also the intelligence services of countries suspected of sponsoring terrorism, like the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York." Thus, as the prominent Iraqi journalist, Salah Mukhtar, wrote in Al Jumhuriyah, Jul 3, "It is . . . a wrong conclusion on Clinton's part that striking the intelligence headquarters will ease the Iraqis' anger. [ED: ie stop Iraq's terrorism, which is driven by anger]. This also confirms Clinton's weakness and naivete." Or as "Iraq News" told then NSC adviser on the Middle East, Martin Indyk, in Dec 94, "One strike on an empty building at night is not going to stop Saddam forever."
You seen this stuff? The world press has amnesia (workers of the world unite!)
Don't know if you've got this or not.
The FAS is a pretty liberal group, but its content is excellent and presented without the usual lefty packaging.If you're looking for info on the F-22, th3e Bradley IFV, or the Crusader artillery piece they've got it.Much of their international compendiums are equally inclusive and often without commercial (liberal) interruption. Global Security.org picks up a lot of FAS material.
I did not have that one; thank you so much. It's been added to my links.
Thanks...yeah, they sound like they'd be peacenik, but they provide a lot of info, and I didn't see any lefty crap in it.