Skip to comments.Iran, Saddam and Osama: A Continued Report
Posted on 10/26/2003 9:01:39 AM PST by Blindboy16
Iran, Saddam, & Osama: A Continued Report
Compiled By: Ryan Mauro
This is the second continuation of my original report on Irans alliance with Osama Bin Laden, which was titled, Iran and Bin Laden: A Match Made in Hell. My follow-up report simply listed the names of high-level Al-Qaeda leadership congregating in Iran with complete safety. It was named Al-Qaeda Leadership in Iran. Readers should look at those two articles before viewing this report.
A new detail about Irans potential links to 9-11 was brought to my attention after these reports. Credible intelligence shows that in the year 2000, two of the 9-11 hijackers (involved in the attack on the Pentagon), Khalid Almidhar and Nawaf Alhazmi had attended a meeting in Malaysia with other high-ranking Al-Qaeda officials. This is believed to have been the place where final details of their part of the plot were finalized. The two hijackers, though, stayed at a very suspicious place for the meeting. Where were they harbored and housed? In Kuala Lumpur at the home of the Iranian ambassador to Malaysia. Of course, there is no way to prove if this means the interaction was government-sanctioned, or the result of independent decision.
The State Department also declassified a memo made in 1997. The memo says that the Taliban told US officials that Iran and Iraq were both trying to contact Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, but that the Taliban had blocked these attempts (unlikely in my opinion).
Considering Irans past sponsorship of Al-Qaeda, and continued harboring of the core of Al-Qaedas operational leadership, Iran can now be called the primary force supporting Al-Qaeda. To this day, Iran is refusing to extradite any Al-Qaeda members, allow Western interrogation of any detainees held by their government, and is ignoring continued demands to stop allowing the infiltration of Al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Islam forces and foreign militants into Iraq where they kill American soldiers and Iraqis.
Iran is a major force behind the war in Iraq. In late August or early September, it is believed that a dozen Iranian intelligence agents were captured in Iraq preparing bomb attacks in Baghdad. Over the same two-week period, about 1,200 Al-Qaeda-linked militants traveled through or from Afghanistan into Iran where they werent stopped on their way to northern Iraq. Not surprisingly, the highest officials in the Bush Administration suddenly turned the heat up on Iran. Paul Bremer even spoke to the British press confirming that Iran was actively involved in destabilizing Iraq by various methodsincluding shootings, bomb attacks, and allowing foreign militants to flow in. The same article wrote that Iran had dispatched hundreds, possibly thousands of agents posing as pilgrims and traders into Iraq to conduct anti-Coalition operations. To this day, there is no evidence that Iran has stopped these activities, or even decreased their volume.
Saddam Husseins Former Iraqi Regime
This is a continuation of my in-depth investigation into the links between Osama Bin Ladens Al-Qaeda terrorist organization and Saddam Husseins Iraqi regime titled Saddam and Bin Laden: A Match Made in Propaganda? I thought that my work had uncovered most evidence of the connection that would ever be established. After all, it wasnt an unreasonable connection. Logic alone was enough to convince most Americans69% believed Saddam had a role in September 11th. I was surely wrong as there has been a flood of new information that has been found, or that I simply missed. First, let me just admit that I missed a major detail that I am embarrassed to have not caught. The 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya were on the anniversary of when sanctions were put on Iraq. The weeks before the attacks, the Iraqi media had warned that those pushing the sanctions were evil, and would learn the consequences. The day after the attacks, Iraq announced it would cease any cooperation with UN inspectors. I dont think further analysis of those details is needed.
Before I go any further, I would like to have you read two quotes that may indicate the Bush Administration is holding back on some of the links between Saddam and Osama:
We know for example, in connection with the original World Trade Center bombing in 93, that one of the bombers was Iraqi, returned to Iraq after the attack of 93. And weve learned subsequent to that, since we went into Baghdad and got into the intelligence files, that this individual probably also received financing from the Iraqi government as well as safe haven.
--Vice President Dick Cheney speaking to Tim Russert.
Was Saddam Hussein involved in September 11? Was Saddam Hussein involved directly with Al-Qaeda in that? The real issue is, Saddam Hussein was involved in this loosely put together terrorist movement and was a big player in it. And would help them with regard to raising funds and would help them with regard to training assistance...Its a much more loosely connected group who have a common ideology. Or maybe you could call it a common hatred of America, the modern world and countries that represent that. And then they find ways of cooperating with each other.
--Rudy Giuliani speaking to a radio host.
It is surprising to me that evidence linking Iraq to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing is still being found. Laurie Mylroie, the top expert in making the case against Iraq, has shown that the mastermind of the attack, Ramzi Yousef, was probably an Iraqi intelligence agent. She also shows that Abdul Rahman Yasin, who was in charge of making the sophisticated bomb in the attack (in her book, Study of Revenge, she shows that the bomb expertise had Iraqi fingerprints) was either an Iraqi intelligence agent or at the least, was assisted by Iraqi intelligence. I am now convinced that Yasin was an agent. Documents uncovered in Tikrit recently showed that Yasin came from Iraq, fled back to Iraq after the attack and was protected, and ever since received monthly payments from Saddams regime.
Accusations about Saddams ties to terrorists other than Al-Qaeda also keep being reinforced by new findings. It was leaked to the press that the CIA had found documents from 1993 which stated how Iraqi intelligence was directed to expand assistance to militants like the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and especially holy warriors based in Afghanistan that planned to attack US occupation forces in Somalia. Other memos revealed that in 1998 Iraq paid Ayman Al-Zawahiri, head of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (which was merging with Al-Qaeda at the time, which put Zawahiri in spot #2 just under Bin Laden) about $300,000. Four days after the memo was written, Zawahiri issued a fatwa urging Muslims to revenge the blood of Iraqis. Almost the entire fatwa related to Iraq.
Intelligence discovered also confirmed what CIA director George Tenet had stated. There was high-level contact; agreements on safe haven, non-aggression, and training of militants in poisons, gases, and explosives. Al-Qaeda truly did seek contacts in Baghdad that could assist them in their programs for weapons of mass destruction, and Iraq was regularly increasing support to Palestinian terrorists. It was also leaked to the press that Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi, a chief WMD specialist for Al-Qaeda, was dispatched by Osama bin Laden to negotiate training in such weapons and possible weapons transfers from Iraq. A related meeting also occurred in Baghdad between Uday Hussein and Al-Qaeda officials in April 1998 around Saddam Husseins birthday. For Saddams birthday, Uday had created Unit 999, an elite special forces unit to help militants carry out terrorist attacks against enemies (this was reported previously in Yossef Bodanskys book, Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America).
In my previous report, Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden: A Match Made Up in Propaganda?, I wrote how the Philippines believed Iraq was sponsoring Abu Sayyaf, a branch of Al-Qaeda in the region, and was directly behind terrorist incidents in February. More information has come out to support the allegation. On February 13, 2002, as I reported, the Philippines expelled Hisham al-Hussein, a suspected Iraqi intelligence officer posted at the Iraqi embassy. The Filipinos had monitored his activities, and saw he was in frequent contact with two Abu Sayyaf leaders just before and after a bomb attack in Zambuanga City, which killed two Filipinos and an American special forces officer. The Christian Science Monitor has reported that the Abu Sayyaf leader that masterminded the attack bragged on television a month later that Iraq had contacted him regarding joint operations in the past (unclear how long ago). The investigation into the incident did show that the telephone records of the terrorist leader indicated such contact took place.
After much silence, the information began to flow over recent months about Saddams ties to terrorism. A popular Lebanese writer, Ali Ballout whom had close relations to Saddam Hussein for 30 years revealed that Iraq was a safe harbor for thousands of terrorists. The writer says that after the UK/US bombing of Iraq in 1998 Saddam Hussein began secretly creating a terrorist army consisting of foreign militants for many purposes, primarily to defend Iraq from invasion and to form a new regime should his be overthrown. According to Ballout, there were three militant networks put in place:
A) Mujahideen: This consisted of mostly Iraqis without membership in the Baath Party as well as Islamic militants who had fought in Chechnya and Afghanistan. By January of 2003, approximately 6,000 Arabs and Moslems with training were integrated into this network. Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the leader of the network, is still missing.
B) Ansar al-Islam: This consisted of radical Kurdish forces in the north that had allied with foreign terrorist organizations. This network works alongside Iraqi special forces units specifically chosen by Saddam Hussein. Personnel involved in this network in the north acted with top secrecy, and were forbidden to use any electronics. The network was led by Taha Yassin Ramadan, who was captured in August.
C) Al-Muhajiroun: Baathist resistance forces including trained doctors, engineers and military strategists. They would form the new regime once the invaders were defeated.
The Iraqis themselves have also been confirming links. Judge Gilbert Merritt of Nashville is in Iraq to help reconstruct a judicial system. Over the summer, he reported that a lawyer handed him a copy of a newspaper (that was later completely confiscated by the government) which on the front-cover had a picture of Osama Bin Laden next to a separate picture of Saddam Hussein with his Revolutionary Council. On the back was a List of Honor which named the 600 closest people to Saddam Hussein. The newspaper, dated November 1, 2002 listed an Iraqi intelligence officer named Abid al-Karim Muhamed Aswod among the 600. The paper said he was assigned to the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan and was responsible for the coordination of activities with the Osama bin Laden group.
As time goes on, more and more information is coming from Iraqis themselves about the connections. A new Iraqi paper, Al-Yawm al-Aakher, described the testimony of a former Iraqi officer. Memri.org translated the paper and put it on their website. The anonymous Iraqi officer explains that a senior officer and bodyguard of Saddam from the Presidential Palace arrived at the Special Forces School (where the officer worked) with the protection of the Personal Security Force. He told the officers running the school that dear guests were arriving, and they were to be trained in secretthey were forbidden to speak to anyone but the officers. Not long after, about 100 Al-Qaeda terrorists arrived. They were a mixture of Arabs, Arabs from the Peninsula [Saudi Arabia], Muslim Afghans and other Muslims from various parts of the world. They were divided into two groups, the first one went to Al-Nahrawan and the second to Salman Pak, and this was the group that was trained to hijack airplanes. This occurred two months before 9-11.
The anonymous officer explains that the Fedayeen Saddam (directed by Uday Hussein) supervised the 100 Al-Qaeda terrorists, meeting with them daily. Towards the end of their training, Fedayeen officers escorted them to a secret location. The officer continues to testify that in the days before the Iraq War in 2003, many of those Al-Qaeda forces they trained returned, along with 100 more militants. They had been recruited to fight the invading Coalition forces once war began. As you read in my previous report, Saddam and Bin Laden: A Match Made in Propaganda?, it was less than two months before 911 that references to the coming terrorist attack on Americas Pentagon and World Trade Center appeared in Udays newspaper. This occurred not long after these Al-Qaeda forces arrived for training, some in hijacking airliners. They were supervised by the Fedayeen, also run by Uday. At the very least, it appears that these fighters told Udays senior officers of the plot, and Uday had it mentioned in his newspaper, Babil. However, as the information in these two reports show, it is likely that Iraqi complicity in 911 was much deeper than that.
Insight Magazine has revealed all-new evidence that Iraq was tied to Bin Laden and possibly September 11th. The investigation concluded that senior investigators and analysts concluded Iraq sponsored 9-11 logistically. Saddam may have not known the exact details of the plot, but in the words of one of their sources, gave assistance for whatever Al-Qaeda came up with. The investigation goes on to explain that financial support to Al-Qaeda came through a system of financial institutions in the region and in Western Europe. The discovery was made when soon after 9-11; the United States discovered a money-laundering operation after breaking into the offices of two Arab bankers, Youssef Nada and Ali Himat, the directors of the Nada Management, which is part of the al-Taqwa Management. The Management is listed as a specially designated global terrorist, and seized documents showed the Management had deep ties with the Saddam Hussein regime.
Al-Taqwa was formed by Youssef Nada, Ali Himat, Ahmed Huber, and Mohamed Mansour in the late 1980s under the supervision of Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Taqwa received money from Iraq under the guise of participation in Iraqs Oil-For-Food Program, and the money was then transferred to Al-Qaeda. Youssef Nada is, Insight claims, known to be an associate of Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaedas #2-ranking leader, and Saddam Hussein. Nada had met Saddam previously, and had an active business partnership with him. Nada also had a friendship with Al-Zawahiri through his connections to Egyptian Islamic Jihad. From the raids, Nada was discovered to (along with other people on al-Taqwas governing board) have received Saddams money, and then have transferred a portion to Al-Qaeda. The investigation also mentions that the Syrian branch of Muslim Brotherhood, which supervised the forming of al-Taqwa, had a relationship with Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the 9-11 hijackers. Atta frequently met with members of the group, which has long been sponsored by Saddam Hussein. The investigation then explained that nearly all active Al-Qaeda operatives in Germany and Spain are members of Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, and thus have received financing from Saddam Hussein.
The most interesting piece in my opinion is that a memo dated May 22, 2002 was found, signed by the former Minister of Information authorizing permanent assistance to Al-Jazeera, the common propaganda station for Al-Qaeda. The station is so trusted that it is usually the first to receive Osama Bin Ladens video and audiotapes. In the past, Al-Jazeera has been accused of being directly linked to Al-Qaedas propaganda, recruitment and media branch.
Iraqi assistance to the station has long been known, even prior to September 11th. Considering both Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were involved in exporting Islamic radicalism, this seems like it should have been expected. But considering the links between the two, it appears that their common link to Al-Jazeera may have been a form of liaison.
During and after the war in Iraq, at least two people on the governing board of Al-Jazeera were arrested for ties to Iraqi intelligence. A bit more recently, Spanish authorities arrested a war correspondent for being linked to Al-Qaeda. He relayed messages to the Al-Qaeda cells in Europe, including the ones involved in 911. Is it a coincidence that this correspondent worked under Iraqi intelligence agents? Even more recently, a cameraman and at least one other were arrested for pre-knowledge of guerilla attacks led by members of Saddams former regime. They were on-spot, waiting to videotape the guerilla attack (which they did) and broadcast it later.
These same suspicions Ive had about Al-Jazeeras common links to Iraq and Al-Qaeda were confirmed by new evidence presented in a lawsuit in September. The family of John ONeill, a 9-11 victim and former FBI counter-terrorism analyst is suing Iraq for involvement in 9-11. Among the evidence gathered by the lawyers is that Saddams regime funded Al-Jazeera employees (at least three of them) to act as liaison between the regime and Osama Bin Laden. Captured documents reveal that Osama Bin Laden sent letters to Saddam Hussein using the station to deliver them. The lawsuit goes even deeper into the connections.
According to the lawyers, documentation uncovered in Iraq and Afghanistan, intelligence information and interrogation of both Iraqis and terrorists confirm the deadly alliance. The article I am citing can be quoted as saying,
The lawsuit says, without citing a source, that two of bin Laden's senior military commanders, Muhammed abu-Islam and Abdullah Qassim, visited Baghdad in April and May 1998 to meet with Qusay Hussein, one of Saddam's sons.
The suit also claims that bin Laden then sent al-Zawahri, his top deputy, to meet with Iraqi officials, including then-Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan. During his stay, al-Zawahri went to an Iraqi military base and a suspected nuclear and chemical weapons facility near al-Fallujah, Iraq, the suit alleges.... An Iraqi serving with the Taliban who fled Afghanistan in fall of 2001 was captured in Kurdistan and has corroborated this meeting and confirmed that Iraqi contacts with al Qaeda began in 1992, the suit states. It identifies the captive as Abu Iman al-Maliki.
The lawsuit also mentions a sharp spike in contact between Iraq and Bin Laden in 1996 (and a second, much more dramatic spike in 1998). The State Department has recently declassified a memo describing how the Taliban, then the rulers of Afghanistan, told US officials that both Iran and Iraq were trying to contact Bin Laden but that the attempts were blocked by the authorities. I do not believe for a second that the Taliban would block these attempts. But nevertheless, the memo, written in 1997, confirms that both countries we discussed here were indeed at least making an effort to establish the contact we see evidence of today.
The Wall Street Journal ran an article in September about how the media was ignoring links between Saddam and Al-Qaeda. It mentioned how an article in the New York Times by James Risen (June 9, 2003) mentioned how Abu Zubaydah, the former #4-ranking leader of Al-Qaeda, told his interrogators that Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden did not run joint operations. But what Risen did not mention was that the next sentence in the interrogation stated there he believed Osama would cooperate, and both sides would agree to cooperation due to the theory of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Zubaydah said he personally did not know of any alliance, but admitted it was entirely possible he would not know of such links.
The article in the Wall Street Journal cited a lot of information from The Weekly Standard of October 20, 2003, written by Stephen F. Hayes. The article describes a very interesting man named Ahmad Hikmat Shakir, an Iraqi who worked for the government. He is believed to have been involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. This is believed because one of the safe-houses that directed the attack called him right before the attack. In August 1999, he was hired at an airport at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He got the job with the help of someone at the Iraqi embassy in Malaysia, who also controlled his working hours. On January 5, 2000 Shakir was ordered to escort two Al-Qaeda members through the airport. They were Khalid al-Midhar and Nawaz al-Hamzi, two terrorists that would later become known as the 9-11 hijackers that destroyed part of the Pentagon. They had arrived in Malaysia to meet with other high-ranking Al-Qaeda officials and to finalize plans for the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen and 911. Shakir not only escorted them, but also accompanied them on the trip to the hotel. US intelligence believes that Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the operational chief of 911 and Tawfiz al-Atash, the mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole also were at the high-level meeting. It is unknown if he actually took part in the meeting, but the connection that an Iraqi employee would escort them alone is cause for suspicion. The day the meeting ended, Shakir never worked at the airport again. He was arrested in Qatar on the 6th day after 911, where authorities found documents showing his involvement in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the 1995 Bojinka Plot which would later develop into the plan for 911, and his involvement with Khalid Sheikh Mohammeds brother, and Musab Yasin, the brother of Abdul Rahman Yasin (assisted by Iraq before, during and after the 1993 attack).
After Shakirs arrest and subsequent release, even more suspicious things happened. The Weekly Standard article writes, On October 21, 2001, Shakir flew to Amman, Jordan where he hoped to board a plane to Baghdad. But authorities in Jordan arrested him for questioning...The CIA questioned Shakir and concluded that he had received extensive training in counter-interrogation techniques. About the same time, the Iraqi government began to pressure Jordanian intelligence to release Shakir. They got their wish on January 28, 2002. He is believed to have returned promptly to Baghdad.
On a final note, I think the notion that the secularist, mostly Sunni Iraqi government would not work with the Wahhabist group of Al-Qaeda has been blown away. It is generally understood now that the Baathist resistance is working alongside foreign militants of all kinds, especially Al-Qaeda and its Ansar al-Islam branch. Just to make the point a bit clearer, I submit this fact to you: A bombing in September in Najaf is confirmed to be conducted by a Baathist-Terrorist alliance. One of the Iraqis involved in the attack was a senior Baath Party member. He worked alongside at least two Saudi Wahhabists, one of which was tied to Al-Qaeda whom he supplied with his experience as an engineer.
As time goes on, we can expect more and more evidence to be piled up. Indeed today there is enough proof of the allegations of ties between Saddam and Bin Laden, and between Iran and Bin Laden to make any lawyers job easy. But the media ignores it, or ridicules it. And so I warn you, dont be over-optimistic that the media will one day understand the connections and accept the Administrations allegations. No matter how much evidence piles up regarding these connections, the medias ignorance will always be the best friend of the state sponsors of terrorismand an enemy of Americas leadership in the War on Terror.
 Washington Times, February 15, 2003.
 UPI, September 12, 2003.
 Geostrategy-Direct.com, week of September 9, 2003. Citing Al-Ahd al-JadidThe New Era issue of August 21.
 Geostrategy-Direct.com, week of September 9, 2003. Cites the Egyptian Middle East News Agency.
 London Telegraph, September 29, 2003.
 Washington Post, September 6, 2003.
 Newsmax.com, September 15, 2003.
 Newsmax.com, September 14, 2003.
 USA Today, September 19, 2003.
 Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2003.
 Weekly Standard, September 10, 2003.
 The Mercury, September 22, 2003.
 Tennessean.com, June 25, 2003.
 Al-Yawm Al-Aakher, October 16, 2003. Memri.org translated and posted the article the next day.
 Insight Magazine, September 29, 2003.
 Iraqgate.net, September 4, 2003.
 Yahoo! News, September 5, 2003.
 CBS News, September 16, 2003.
 UPI, September 12, 2003.
 Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2003.
 Geostrategy-Direct.com, week of September 16, 2003. Cites Al-Watan.
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