Skip to comments.Saddam link to Bin Laden
Posted on 03/16/2003 10:45:03 AM PST by IowaHawk
Saddam Hussein's regime has opened talks with Osama bin Laden, bringing closer the threat of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, according to US intelligence sources and Iraqi opposition officials.
The key meeting took place in the Afghan mountains near Kandahar in late December. The Iraqi delegation was led by Farouk Hijazi, Baghdad's ambassador in Turkey and one of Saddam's most powerful secret policemen, who is thought to have offered Bin Laden asylum in Iraq.
The Saudi-born fundamentalist's response is unknown. He is thought to have rejected earlier Iraqi advances, disapproving of the Saddam Hussein's secular Baathist regime. But analysts believe that Bin Laden's bolthole in Afghanistan, where he has lived for the past three years, is now in doubt as a result of increasing US and Saudi government pressure.
News of the negotiations emerged in a week when the US attorney general, Janet Reno, warned the Senate that a terrorist attack involving weapons of mass destruction was a growing concern. "There's a threat, and it's real," Ms Reno said, adding that such weapons "are being considered for use."
US embassies around the world are on heightened alert as a result of threats believed to emanate from followers of Bin Laden, who has been indicted by a US court for orchestrating the bombing last August of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which 259 people died. US delegations in Africa and the Gulf have been shut down in recent weeks after credible threats were received.
In this year's budget, President Clinton called for an additional $2 billion to spend on counter-terrorist measures, including extra guards for US embassies around the world and funds for executive jets to fly rapid response investigative teams to terrorist incidents around the world.
Since RAF bombers took part in air raids on Iraq in December, Bin Laden declared that he considered British citizens to be justifiable targets. Vincent Cannistraro, former chief of CIA counter-terrorist operations, said: "Hijazi went to Afghanistan in December and met with Osama, with the knowledge of the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar. We are sure about that. What is the source of some speculation is what transpired."
An acting US counter-intelligence official confirmed the report. "Our understanding over what happened matches your account, but there's no one here who is going to comment on it."
Ahmed Allawi, a senior member of the opposition Iraqi National Congress (INC), based in London, said he had heard reports of the December meeting which he believed to be accurate. "There is a long history of contacts between Mukhabarat [Iraqi secret service] and Osama bin Laden," he said. Mr Hijazi, formerly director of external operations for Iraqi intelligence, was "the perfect man to send to Afghanistan".
Analysts believe that Mr Hijazi offered Mr bin Laden asylum in Iraq, most likely in return for co-operation in launching attacks on US and Saudi targets. Iraqi agents are believed to have made a similar offer to the Saudi maverick leader in the early 1990s when he was based in Sudan.
Although he rejected the offer then, Mamoun Fandy, a professor of Middle East politics at Georgetown University, said Bin Laden's position in Afghanistan is no longer secure after the Saudi monarchy cut off diplomatic relations with, and funding for, the Taleban militia movement, which controls most of the country.
Mr Fandy said senior members of the Saudi royal family told him in recent weeks that they had received assurances from the Taleban leader, Mullah Mohamed Omar, that once the radical Islamist movement secured control over Afghan territory, Bin Laden would be forced to leave. "It's a matter of time now for Osama." He said Bin Laden would have a strong ideological aversion to accepting Iraqi hospitality, but might have little choice.
Under the current circumstances that would not appear to be a really mouth-watering offer.
Yes, but it depends on what the meaning of "IS" is.
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Everyone knows that. ;-)
My guess is that bin Laden was happy to cooperate and Iraq threw him a few bucks in exchange for a bit of friendly consultation on target selection.
It's pretty suspicious that bin Laden went after the WTC, since the early 1993 attack was almost certainly Iraqi-influenced. So Iraq chose another go at the WTC, and bin Laden provided troops and motivation.
That hangs together awfully well, in my view.
USS Cole: 17 dead mourned as experts piece together attack
Special report: Israel and the Middle East Special report: Iraq
Julian Borger in Washington Thursday October 19, 2000 The Guardian
[Mr Cannistraro] argued that the sophistication of the bomb - an estimated 272kg of high explosive shaped and placed within a metal container to channel the blast and penetrate the armoured hull of the USS Cole - suggested the involvement of a state.
"The Iraqis have wanted to be able to carry out terrorism for some time now," Mr Cannistraro said. "Their military people have had liaison with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and could well have supplied the training."
He said the theory was still speculative but was consistent with the series of recent contacts between Baghdad and the Bin Laden organisation.
Steve Emerson: Emerson is a journalist (late of U.S. News &World Report and CNN) noted for his anonymous U.S. and Israeli intelligence sources (Extra!, 10-11/92, 11-12/93). These sources led him to announce, in the wake of the World Trade Center explosion, that the bomber or bombers may be from one of the former Yugoslav republics. (CNN, 3/2/93) That embarrassing error did not teach him caution: When the Murrah federal building was bombed, he immediately began insisting that all signs pointed to Muslim extremists.
Theres more than a little bigotry in Emersons obsession with Muslim terrorists. To him, the fact that many people were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing was evidence that Arabs were responsible: This was done with the intent to inflict as many casualties as possible. That is a Middle Eastern trait. (CBS News, 4/19/95)
Vincent Cannistraro: A former CIA official, Cannistraro directed covert operations for the National Security Council under the Reagan administration. His work with Nicaraguan contra rebels who routinely targeted civilians give him first-hand experience with terrorism that few analysts can boast of.
In 1991, Cannistraro told the Newhouse News Service (San Francisco Examiner, 4/21/91) that environmentalists were plotting to destroy humanity through the invention of killer viruses. There are small organized clandestine cells working on the development of technologies to diminish or even eliminate the race of man from the earth, he said, advancing a conspiracy theory as wacky as anything suggested by the militia movement.
His expert opinion was similarly off-base on the Oklahoma City Bombing. Right now it looks professional, and its got the marks of a Middle Eastern group, Cannistraro told the Washington Times (4/20/95).
Daniel Pipes: Pipes is a Middle East specialist associated with right-leaning, pro-Israeli think tanks like the Foreign Policy Research Institute and the Washington Institute on Near East Policy. In 1987 he wrote an article for The New Republic with Laurie Mylroie title, Back Iraq: Its Time for a U.S. Tilt. (4/27/87) Iraq is now the de facto protector of the regional status quo, Pipes and Mylroie wrote--a little more than three years before Saddam Hussein attempted to annex Kuwait.
Pipes showed himself to be just as much an Islamic expert in his post-Oklahoma analysis. People need to understand that this is just the beginning, he told USA Today (4/20/95). The fundamentalists are on the upsurge, and they make it clear that they are targeting us. They are absolutely obsessed with us. Whos obsessed with whom?
Neal Livingstone: Livingstone is a self-proclaimed counter-terrorism expert who heads his own Institute on Terrorism and Subnational Conflict. He offers tips to clients on how to deal with terrorism (Washington Post, 8/20/86): If you dont want to look like an American, wear tinted glasses. Dont sit in first class. If armed with a knife and desirous of dispatching a guard or sentry, slip up behind him and, if right-handed, cup your left hand over his mouth, jerk his head upward, and push forward the knife across the side of his neck below the angle of the jaw.
After breakfasting with Oliver North, Livingstone wrote in The National Review (1/20/87) that the Iran arms scandal could turn out to have been one of the [Reagan] administrations finest hours.
Livingstone was one of the most ubiquitous Oklahoma City experts. The London Daily Mail (4/21/95) reported that he was convinced that a Middle Eastern group was behind the killings, and believes more outrages could follow. Since the end of the Cold War, the biggest threat to the U.S. has come from the Middle East. Im afraid what happened in Oklahoma has proved that.
After the arrest of Timothy McVeigh, Livingstone shifted gears smoothly, instantly becoming an expert on right-wing domestic extremist groups: We didnt think they were that severe a threat until these events, he told Meet the Press (4/23/95) We dont see these people as terrorists, but there are some troublemakers.
More on terrorism.
Vincent Cannistraro, former Chief of Counterterrorism Operations for the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, has suggested a very sensible and quite clever explanation for what was going on at al-Shifa--why it turned out to be a pharmaceutical factory; why the US had compelling evidence linking it to VX; and why it can't be found now. When US officials were obliged to defend their decision to attack the al-Shifa plant, after the Aug 20 strike, they revealed an Iraqi link to al-Shifa, as reported, for example, in the NYT Aug 25. US officials also revealed the existence of other sites in Khartoum thought to be associated with Iraq and VX production. Clinton chose al-Shifa as a target, because it was the only VX-related site not near a populated area.
Although the CIA did not know al-Shifa made pharmaceuticals, the State Dept did, because al Shifa was authorized by the UN sanctions committee to ship medicines to Iraq. Cannistraro suggested that Empta, manufactured at another Khartoum site, was stored, even perhaps packaged, at al-Shifa, to be sent to Baghdad, under UNSCR 986, looking to all the world like a pharmaceutical product.
That would explain how Empta could be found in a soil sample outside the facility-a leak/spill?; but also why extensive tests in the facility subsequently, including of the septic tank, did not detect it. It would also explain why Iraqi CW personnel had contact with a pharmaceutical plant. Moreover, Iraqi intelligence would think of something like that. Indeed, Scott Ritter, in his Sept 3 Senate testimony [see "Iraq News," Sept 7], explained that Iraq was importing proscribed and dual use material under cover of UNSCR 986.
I just heard FOX News mention this very article a few minutes ago .....
The Guardian under THEIR President Clinton.
Europe before George Bush, the evil Christian.