Skip to comments.Was Saddam Regime a Broker for Terror Alliances?
Posted on 06/25/2006 5:55:24 PM PDT by Names Ash Housewares
Newly declassified documents captured by U.S. forces indicate that Saddam Hussein's inner circle not only actively reached out to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan and terror-based jihadists in the region, but also hosted discussions with a known Al Qaeda operative about creating jihad training "centers," possibly in Baghdad.
Ray Robison, a former member of the CIA-directed Iraq Survey Group (ISG), supervised a group of linguists to analyze, archive and exploit the hundreds of captured documents and materials of Saddam's regime.
This is the final installment in a three-part series concerning a notebook kept by an Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) agent called Khaled Abd El Majid, and covers events taking place in 1999. The translation is provided by Robison's associate, known here as Sammi.
The first two translations from this notebook detailed an agreement between members of the Saddam regime and the Taliban to establish diplomatic and intelligence based cooperation. This final translation further advances the link between the Saddam regime and world-wide Islamic Jihad terrorism.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Context for 1999 meetings mentioned between IIS agents and a Taliban/al Qaeda representative as written about in Ray Robinsons FOXNews.com piece.
To better judge the context and validity of the IIS documents translated for Ray Robinson's FOXNews.com piece, a review of open source information relating to both Iraqs and al Qaedas situations in 1998 and 1999 is helpful. Particularly, was there a need for cooperation between the two sides and what other geopolitical concerns did al Qaeda and Iraq have at the time?
Although the most recent document deals with events in 1999, it is necessary to go back to 1998 to review events leading up that point.
In early 1998, Iraqs state sponsored terror proxies were still weak from being dismantled in many countries during the Gulf War and Clinton-ordered U.S. air strikes on IIS headquarters in retaliation for the attempted assassination of George H.W. Bush in 1993. David E. Kaplan, Bruce B. Auster and Douglas Pasternak, USNews & World Report, 3-2-98
Simultaneously, Iraqs terror proxies such as Abu Nidals group and others had been weakened by infighting and some had become inactive since the first Gulf war. (David E. Kaplan, Bruce B. Auster and Douglas Pasternak, USNews & World Report, 3-2-98) Despite these setbacks the State Departments annual report on State Sponsors of terrorism still noted that Iraq was actively seeking to rebuild that terrorist infrastructure ("What did Iraq's State Sponsored Terrorism look like during the 1990's?"). But with their previous means of sponsoring terror visibly weakened, might they seek new avenues and new means of rebuilding that infrastructure, as the State reports indicated.
In August, 1998, U.S. embassies were attacked by al Qaeda killing hundreds. U.S. air strikes target Osama bin Ladens position in Afghanistan and put pressure on Taliban. CNN, August 20,1998 At a time when al Qaeda was successfully attacking American interests and Iraq was seeking help rebuilding its international terrorist infrastructure, its appears that a common interest was in place between the two sides (if it hadnt existed already).
The middle of 1998 also saw reports of Osama bin Laden asking Saddam Hussein for asylum through his Sudanese contacts. This may have been related to differences with the Taliban and international pressures on the Taliban at the time for hosting terrorists. (Its later reported that Saddam Hussein had offered Osama bin Laden asylum in Iraq through Farouk Hijazi. Osama bin Laden apparently overcame any differences with the Taliban and thus never needed to boogie to Baghdad.) ABC News, 1-14-99
December 16, 1998 - Operation Desert Fox Iraq bombed for not complying with UN resolutions regarding WMD inspections CNN, 12-16-1998
December 17th or 18th, 1998 Ayman al-Zawahiri condemns U.S. attacks on Iraq Scott Malensek, Accuracy in Media, 3-9-06
December 21, 1998 - Iraq offers asylum to bin Laden during meeting with Farouk Hijazi TIME, NEWSWEEK, 9-11 COMMISSION, ABC News and others report that Iraq invited bin Laden to move his headquarters to Iraq. Scott Malensek, Accuracy in Media, 3-9-06
December 1998 Bin Laden/Farouk Hijazi meetings includes agreement by both sides to unleash anti-American terror war, this story is reported years before the Uday Hussein Heroes attack document, regarding terror attacks in Europe, is made public (more on this below) Yossef Bodansky, "Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War On America", p.361
December 22, 26 - 1998 Osama bin Laden condemns U.S. air strikes on Iraq in interview with Peter Arnett Scott Malensek, Accuracy in Media, 3-9-06 Stephen Hayes & Thomas Joscelyn, Weekly Standard, 7-18-05
February 1999 - Newsweek reports that Saddam Hussein was working to enlist Osama bin Laden to help rebuild his terrorist infrastructure, which had been badly damaged during the Gulf War and Clinton air strikes (more details on the damage and rebuilding efforts of Saddam Husseins international terrorist infrastructure during the 90s is available here, per State Dept. reports)
"Newsweek also reported that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has been making new overtures to bin Laden in an attempt to rebuild his intelligence network and to create his own terror network." - United Press International (3 Jan 1999)
February 17, 1999 - AFP reports that Saddam Hussein is hoping to use bin Laden to carry out terrorist attacks against Western interests, particularly in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia FrontPage Magazine, July 14, 2003
February 1999 - U.S. intelligence community receives report that Iraq has formed a suicide pilot unit that it planned to use against British and U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf. (this report was disregarded as disinformation though by this time the 9-11 plot, involving suicide pilots, was now well in the works by al Qaeda) Eleanor Hill Staff Director, Joint Inquiry Staff Statement to Joint House/Senate Intelligence Committees, Part I, 9-18-02
Rays story details documents from a March, 1999 meeting between an al Qaeda/Taliban representative and Iraqi officials. (Ray Robinson, FOXNews.com, 6-26-06)
This story fits into a time period in which mainstream media reports indicate numerous terror plots were in motion (9-11, Millenium plot, etc.), meetings between Iraqi officials and al Qaeda members were taking place and an apparent convergence of anti-Western interests was taking place.
A May, 1999 IIS document reveals that Uday Hussein had documented plans for martyrdom terror attacks in Europe, this document was recovered post-war Iraq. Whether or not these planned attacks had anything to do with the reported meetings with al Qaeda remains to be seen. Kevin Woods, James Lacey, Williamson Murray, Foreign Affairs, May/June 2006
Other postwar Iraqi documents suggest that Algerian/Sudanese terrorists were being trained in Samarra, Ramadi and Salman Pak terror camps in 1999. If these documents are accurate, were these Sudanese terrorists al Qaeda affiliates? The answer of who these men were likely lies in the mountain of still classified postwar documents. Stephen Hayes, Weekly Standard,1-11-06 Dan Darling, Weekly Standard, 1-11-06
In August, 1999, al Qaeda affiliate Ahmed Ressam began working out the details of his plan to bomb the Los Angeles airport
(Incidentally, Iraqi agents had attempted a similar attack during the first Gulf War, details of which were reported in the following Washington Post article regarding a heightened Security threat to airliners during military action against Iraq) Rick Atkinson and David Broder, Washington Post, 1-17-91
In September of 1999, further meetings between high ranking Iraqi officials and high ranking al Qaeda members in Iraq are reported to have taken place.
AKI, May, 23, 2005 This may have been related to Ayman al Zawahiri (Osama bin Laden's top deputy) attending a Jihadi conference in Iraq that NEWSWEEK Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, "Mother of All Connections"
Also in September 1999, Izzat al-Douri (now a major figure in insurgency and has been working with Ansar and al Qaeda since outset of war as reported by Dan Darling for the Weekly Standard) and Ayman al-Zawahiri (who the 9-11 Commission cited as having ties of his own with Iraq) reportedly also met to discuss terror camps and joint training ADNKRONOS International 5-23-05
November 22, 1999 An internal Iraqi memo shows plans to build and perfect IEDs, The memo also mentions training of Arab fedayeen. Was building and perfecting IEDs something that Iraq was doing throughout the 1990s or was it unique to this year? If it was unique, it indicates an anticipation of some sort of guerilla warfare (possibly anticipating a U.S. led invasion). "Captains Quarters, Joseph Shahda, April 20, 2006
Without making any conclusions as to what happened at the meetings, because the picture still remains incomplete, it appears that both al Qaeda and Iraq viewed themselves at war with the U.S, particularly in light of the recent air strikes on both.
With Iraq looking to rebuild its weakened terror infrastructure and al Qaeda openly at war with the United States (as evidenced by repeated by anti-U.S. fatwas from Osama bin Laden) the two sides had a common interest to overcome ideological differences and build a relationship upon.
To what extent, if any, these two sides actually agreed to work together will not be fully known until the remaining documents from both Iraq and Afghanistan are made public and translated.
The struggle between those pushing for the documents to be released (politicians like Sen. Santorum, Sen. Pat Roberts, Congressmen Hoekstra and others as well as media figures such as Stephen Hayes, Thomas Joscelyn, Ray Robinson and others) and intelligence bureaucrats who continue to maintain control over the recovered documents will ultimately decide how much of this story is going to be allowed to be made available for public consumption.
Members of Saddam's inner circle are now being promoted to al Qaeda leadership positions in Iraq. This has actually been going on for quite some time.
I wish more people were aware of this.
Very true. I think the documentation is solid going all the way back to 2002.
This deserves its own stand-alone thread, my FRiend. I can't do it today, but if you'd like, remind me and I'll do it tomorrow.
Feel free Peach. I am moving my site to a .com fairly soon so I may be able to reprint posts right into the news section here.
I'll post it tomorrow, ikez. It may get moved to the blog section of FR so I'll be happy when you have a .com site.
Thanks for the ping, your work. BTTT!
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