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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Iraq-Al Qaeda Connection

Last week I was taken to task for the following statement I made while expressing my thoughts in the wake of the London bombings:
Though Saddam Hussien [sic] did not himself plan the attacks on 9/11, they are connected nonthelesss.

A commenter exhorted me that what was stated above was purely my opinion, as there were no facts to support the statement. I admit that my own shortcomings as a journalist failed to adequately express the point I was trying to make, which was that the events of 9/11 awoke this nation to a war that was already being conducted against us, and that both Al-Qaeda and Hussein's regime are among our adversaries in this global war on terror.

However, it is important to point out that, despite the left's assertions to the contrary, there is indeed a great deal of evidence connecting Hussein's regime with Al-Qaeda operatives. Indeed, in today's Wall Street Journal, Claudia Rosett makes that very case quite soundly. Specifically, she relies on an article by Stephen Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn in this week's Weekly Standard that examines documents from both the U.S. and Iraqi governments to clearly establish a long-term working relationship between Saddam's regime and Al-Qaeda. As Ms. Rosett states:
Messrs. Hayes and Joscelyn raise, with good reason, the question of why Saddam gave haven to Abdul Rahman Yasin, one of the men who in 1993 helped make the bomb that ripped through the parking garage of the World Trade Center. They detail a contact between Iraqi intelligence and several of the Sept. 11 hijackers in Malaysia, the year before al Qaeda destroyed the twin towers. They recount the intersection of Iraqi and al Qaeda business interests in Sudan, via, among other things, an Oil for Food contract negotiated by Saddam's regime with the al-Shifa facility that President Clinton targeted for a missile attack following the African embassy bombings because of its apparent connection to al Qaeda. And there is plenty more.
The Weekly Standard article is a must-read, though it is quite long. It is available here.

The bottom line is that to say that there was no connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda is a falsehood, though that has not stopped the media from perpetuating it relentlesly. Likewise, I have little doubt that the existence of these facts will do little to thwart the efforts of those on the left as they continue to engage in their great crusade against everything Bush. But we can hope.


Anonymous The Jaded JD said...

A "connection" does not "causation" or "participation" or even "alliance," "affiliation," or "association" make.

I was in Greater Portland, Me., one month before the 9/11 attacks, roughly a week before Mohammad Attah was captured on a bank's surveillance tape there. I was also at the WTC almost a year to the day before the first bombing. The FBI seems unconcerned. (At least until this comment. But, somehow, I suspect my key to the office is still going to work later this morning.) Probably because, although I have "a connection" to both events doesn't make me a terrorist.

12:33 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that there are many "connections" between the old regime in Iraq and elements of the jihadist terrorist movement, but I have yet to see or hear anything that convinces me that SH would have been pleased at the 9/11 or subsequent attacks. I imagine his reaction when he flicked on CNN on 9/11 was the Iraqi equivalent of "Oh S !" Absolutely no Arab or Middle Eastern regime, of which Saddam's was the most despotic, benefitted from the unleashing of open warfare by non-state actors of Mid-Eastern origin against the United States. Events since then have been predictably negative for these regimes. They all knew before the sun set over the Arabian Gulf that night that the US would no longer give them a free hand domestically as long as they kept pumping oil. The "connections" between the old Iraqi regime and Osama's boys are geographic and matters of short-term convenience and contact, not a common strategic or even tactical design. Where it gets a bit blurry in the man-on-the-street's perception is Saddam's overt financial support for operations by Palestinian groups against the Israelis, but that is functionally and motivationally quite different from a direct operation against the U.S. and its civilian population. While a few Administration spokesmen, in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, seemed to try out the spin that there was a meaningful unity of purpose between AlQuaeda and SH, you could almost tell they didn't believe it, were just going for the public opinion elements who don't read and don't know the area, and were content to fall back from it after a few forays. The primary (and virtually sole)contemporary justication for the War was the WMD threat. Other justifications were being used as Hamburger Helper for the sales pitch (the implied 9/11 link) or are after the fact rationalizations. (the profoundly murderous tyranny of the regime). The WMD issue (if factually correct) was, in my mind, a persuasive rationale for use of the warmaking powers of the United States. But, drat the luck, it turns out we were largely (maybe even completely) wrong about Iraqi WMD. By "we", I mean virtually all elements of the government that touched this issue.

2:30 PM


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