Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Bound together by a common hatred
scotsman ^ | 2/18/03

Posted on 02/17/2003 5:55:04 PM PST by knak

THE missing piece in the Iraq jigsaw is not weapons of mass destruction. The hunt which occupies the United States is for the bigger prize: linking Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

George Bush, the US president, claims to know "for sure" the two are linked - yet even Tony Blair dares not join him. So far, he says, the evidence just isn’t there. But since the 11 September attacks, the evidence has been fast accumulating, from the first sketchy reports of the lead hijacker meeting an Iraqi agent in Prague.

The interview transcript of an al-Qaeda terrorist, intercepted by German police before his attack, shows what level of detail is now becoming known. Al-Qaeda code words are just the start of the new data.

Within weeks, the US may well be able to release its dream dossier - one explaining that Saddam has been supporting, sheltering and encouraging the Islamic fundamentalists with whom the world is now at war.

In April last year, a Jordanian named Shadi Abdullah was arrested by German police after receiving instructions to launch a terrorist attack using "Russian apples" - al-Qaeda code for grenades.

The files, now made public, give an example of how much intelligence the West has gathered. Abdullah was able to provide names and descriptions of al-Qaeda cells in Germany, Italy and the UK, as well as half a dozen code words.

But the picture being assembled in the US centres on four people whose movements and affiliations suggest that Saddam and bin Laden are not the sworn enemies they both make out, and which last week’s bin Laden video release suggested.

The first building block is a non-aggression pact which al-Qaeda and Saddam are understood to have reached in 1993. It was an extension of the deal which bin Laden reached with the House of Saud - he would stay out of their hair and they paid him to focus on the "far enemy" instead.

The first key player is Abu Abdullah al-Iraqi, who, in 1995 was dispatched by bin Laden to ask Saddam for help in poison gas training.

His mission is understood to have been successful - and he returned home with a deal which the CIA is now desperate to prove.

Saddam is suspected of sending a number of trainers from an organisation called Unit 999, one of his secret-police operations, who flew into Kabul and spent months in bin Laden’s terrorist camps in Afghanistan.

This deal in itself would be the "smoking gun" which, if demonstrable, would allow Saddam to face the damning charge-sheet levied against the Taleban in Afghanistan.

The next link is Abu Hajer al-Iraqi, an Iraqi who is understood to have served as al-Qaeda’s chief weapons procurer during the 1990s and as a liaison officer with Iraqi intelligence in the run-up to Operation Desert Fox in 1998.

He moved on to Iraq after working on Sudan’s chemical weapons programme. He is now in a New York jail, awaiting trial for the 1998 East Africa embassy bombing.

Little information has been released about his story - it could well be up the US’s sleeve.

Several pieces of evidence already incriminate Mussa’ab al-Zarqawi, whose crimes include the suspected assassination of a CIA official in Jordan last year. He controls an organisation called Jund al-Shams, or the Soldiers of the Levant, which has been hiding out in northern Iraq.

He was wounded fighting for the Taleban in Afghanistan, but rather than return to his hideout, he was flown back to Baghdad itself to have his leg amputated. It was the only place, it seems, where he could be sure of good healthcare and political security.

The operation took place last May and al-Zarqawi stayed in Baghdad for two months. During that time, the CIA believes, nearly two dozen Islamic extremists - several with links to bin Laden - converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there. The Jordanian government got wind of al-Zarqawi’s stay in Baghdad and asked Iraq to extradite him. Not long after the request was received, he vanished - to the northern enclave of Iraq.

It is northern Iraq which is home to a terrorist group named Ansar al-Islam, created just before the 11 September attacks by the merger of two Kurdish groups in the area.

They are Islamic extremists who control a string of villages on the Iraq-Iran border. Last August, CIA records show they tested ricin on live animals and one Kurd, who was infected with it at a marketplace, then died at home.

The question is whether they defy Saddam or have a pact with his regime. For organisations deemed to be at war with each other, there are several suspicious overlaps.

An Iraqi agent captured by Ansar al-Islam last year claimed to have served as a secret bodyguard to bin Laden’s deputy, when he was dispatched to Baghdad on business in 1992. He has been interviewed by Western experts, who say his story holds water.

Intelligence from both the US and the UK centres on such people - where they go, who they saw and where they secured funding. But a trio of terrorists do not make for the hard evidence needed to prove a link.

One place where there is photographic proof is Iraq’s centre for hijack training in Salman Pak, a camp 20 miles south of Baghdad on the Tigris river. The last set of United Nations inspectors found the fuselage of an old Tupolev 154 airliner there - and were astonished to see people being trained.

"We were told it was for counter-terrorist training," said Charles Duelfer, the deputy head of the first UN inspections team. "We automatically knocked off the word ‘counter’." Spy photographs backed this up - Saddam seemed to be training people how to seize control of a cockpit.

There could be a perfectly excusable explanation for the Tupolev. But James Woolsey, who was CIA director from 1993 to 1995, said the West has spent too long waiting for solid proof.

"We now know there were Islamist terrorists training to hijack aircraft in groups of four or five with short knives," he said last week.

"I mean, hello? If we had seen a fake American battleship in a lake in northern Italy in 1941 and a group of Asian pilots training there, would we have said, ‘Well, you can’t prove that they were Japanese’?"

Saddam has nothing ideologically in common with al-Qaeda, as British terrorism experts have stressed. However, the same was true of Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi and the IRA - yet he still sent the terrorists arms and funding.

Saddam runs an atheist form of dictatorship, more in common with the Nazis’ Aryan ideal. But this did not stop him doubling the bounty paid to the families of suicide-bombers to £30,000 from £15,000.

Saddam, bin Laden, the Kurdish terrorists and the Hamas in Palestine have one thing in common: an enemy - that is, the US and its allies. This is often all terrorist groups need to bind them together.

Ambiguous evidence is an occupational hazard of intelligence work. But the link between Iraq and al-Qaeda is becoming clearer as more pieces of the jigsaw emerge.

Soon, the picture may be complete.

Al-Qaeda's deadly code

IN April last year, Shadi Abdullah, 26, a Jordanian, was arrested after German police recorded him accepting instructions to carry out a terrorist attack.

The transcript of his police interview, now made public in Berlin, says that he told police the following al-Qaeda codewords:

RUSSIAN APPLE - A hand grenade manufactured in Russia.

SEVEN SEAS - Seven European countries which have abolished internal border controls, thus making undetected passage easier.

MUTE - A gun with a silencer

TOY - Pistol

HONEY - A CD-ROM containing recipes for making explosives

LITTLE GIRL - A forged driver’s licence

TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
Sorry I'm posting so much today, I read fast and find things that I think may interest you guys; so I post them. Sorry if it's to many.
1 posted on 02/17/2003 5:55:04 PM PST by knak
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Dog; Miss Marple
2 posted on 02/17/2003 6:22:24 PM PST by knak
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: knak
No apologies necessary. Good read.

The noose tightens.

3 posted on 02/17/2003 6:23:28 PM PST by What Is Ain't
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: knak
It will be interesting if the follow scenario occurs...

France threatens to veto the next proposed UN resolution.
America says, okay, we won't draft a resolution. We'll go into Iraq, alone.
Thus making France and the UN irrelevant. They are not partners for peace.
And then, we connect all of the dots, once and for all, show the al Qaeda- Iraq connection and prove our case to the world.
A nice daydream, for sure.
4 posted on 02/17/2003 6:24:33 PM PST by Pan_Yans Wife (Lurking since 2000.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: What Is Ain't
Good read

I thought so too. But very long.

5 posted on 02/17/2003 6:25:32 PM PST by knak
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Pan_Yans Wife
We'll prove it afterward.
6 posted on 02/17/2003 6:31:51 PM PST by ScholarWarrior
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: knak
Good post. I suspect that Al Qaeda, Ansar al-Islam, Jemaah Islamiya (Indonesia) and Abu Sayaaf (Philippines) are all separate terrorist commands operating with support from Iraq.
7 posted on 02/17/2003 6:44:21 PM PST by Ben Hecks (Support a Democrat-free America/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: knak
NEVER think you post to much NECESSARY info. It is appreciated. Our media is NOT reporting these things.
8 posted on 02/17/2003 6:53:35 PM PST by GailA (stop PAROLING killers Throw Away the Keys
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: knak
9 posted on 02/17/2003 7:35:03 PM PST by redbaiter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: knak
No apologies for doing the heavy lifting. I truly appreciate your efforts. This is a stunning article.
10 posted on 02/17/2003 7:42:14 PM PST by harpo11 (The United Nations is NOT united with America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: knak
I personally believe that anger in America is very slow. I'm not talking about the jabbering animals in the 'protests', but in the public in general.

September 11, 2001 opened one eye of the sleeping giant. Woe to the folks 'bound by hatred' if that other eye opens and the American public truly turns its attention on the antagonizers.

11 posted on 02/17/2003 7:44:50 PM PST by Tench_Coxe
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: knak
Its just like those who said Hitler and Stalin would never ally. They did, for a short while, joined by a single cause, and looked the other way regarding tensions between their ideologies.
12 posted on 02/17/2003 9:05:40 PM PST by yonif
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson