The World Today - Experts say no evidence of al-Qaeda, Hussein link
A profile of Osama bin Laden, founder and leader of al-Qaeda. sanctions imposed after the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. When did the "war against terror" become a campaign against Saddam Hussein rather than Osama bin Laden? Less than a month after the. Saddam Hussein (file photo)/ Osama bin Laden (Rahimullah The United States did cultivate a relationship with Hussein for more than a.
Knowing how badly Bush and other Western leaders want them dead, both men maintain a rigid security pattern aimed at confusing those who may be watching. Before meeting Saddam for rare private talks last week, British parliamentarian George Galloway was driven around Baghdad for an hour, in a car with blacked out windows. He then met the Iraqi leader in a bunker that was so deep underground, his ears popped on the way down. Miller recalled traveling for hours through rocky wastelands in Afghanistan, in a truck with darkly tinted windows — "It was clear they didn't want us to see where we were going," he said.
Both bin Laden and Saddam are also rumored to use body-doubles to stymie would-be assassins. And with good reason, too. Both men have learned that the United States apparently has no compunctions about their murders.
President Clinton launched missile strikes at Afghanistan inhoping, at least in part, to kill bin Laden. The order allowed teams to kill him if they were acting in self-defense. Both men are known to have made claims that they have outlasted the American leaders who began the charge for them.
The Mythic Self While Bin Laden and Saddam have their doppelgangers, both men are proudly originals — having built for themselves massive cults of personality. Portraits of Saddam cover walls and billboards across Iraq. School children memorize poems and songs extolling him. Bin Laden, meanwhile, has become the face of the global movement for fundamentalist Islam. Both have adopted the image of a great military leader, despite emerging from distinctly non-military backgrounds.
Both men are also fond of presenting themselves as modern-day versions of Saladin, a Muslim hero who famously drove the crusaders out of the Middle East. Before Saddam gained power, he had hardly any military experience — he was a revolutionary party cadre and a law student.
Now he often appears in the uniform of an Iraqi Field Marshal, and fires rifles during his country's frequent military parades. Part of the bin Laden legend is that he fought with the mujahideen, who drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan.
In videotaped appearances, bin Laden has been shown firing a Kalashnikov assault rifle, and a carrying traditional knife. But experts say bin Laden was largely a supply officer in the war against the Soviets.
Their cults of personality have also extended to their families. Saddam is believed to be grooming his sons Uday and Qusay to take over after his death. Earlier this month, U. A Network of Ironies Both Saddam and bin Laden also have a certain resonance in the American leaders they have become bogeymen for. While Saddam personified evil for former President Bush, bin Laden personifies evil for his son, the current president.
Accordingly, both Saddam and bin Laden have both become rallying points for certain populations in the Middle East, and therefore U. The American hunt for them both also incorporates Saudi Arabia, another major oil producer — whose proximity to Iraq will affect any move on Saddam, and whose powerful clerics can affect the fight against al Qaeda. Saddam and bin Laden were also the patrons of U. During the s, the United States made covert arms transactions with the mujahideen in Afghanistan for their fight against the Soviets, and with Iraq, during its eight year conflict with Iran.
In Opposite Directions However, while Saddam and bin Laden are similar in their means, they differ in the ends. Bin Laden is a religious fundamentalist who has said his greatest ambition is to establish a pan-Islamic state.
Clarke writes, [t]he simple fact is that lots of people, particularly in the Middle East, pass along many rumors and they end up being recorded and filed by U. That does not make them 'intelligence'. Intelligence involves analysis of raw reports, not merely their enumeration or weighing them by the pound. Analysis, in turn, involves finding independent means of corroborating the reports. Did al-Qaeda agents ever talk to Iraqi agents?
I would be startled if they had not. I would also be startled if American, Israeli, Iranian, British, or Jordanian agents had somehow failed to talk to al-Qaeda or Iraqi agents. Talking to each other is what intelligence agents do, often under assumed identities or 'false flags,' looking for information or possible defectors. Saddam Hussein had his agenda and al-Qaida had its agenda, and those two agendas were incompatible.
And so if there was any contact between them, it was a contact that was rebuffed rather than a contact that led to meaningful relationships between them. In fact, the FBI had evidence that Atta was in Florida at the time, taking aircraft flight training; and the Iraqi officer in question, Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al Anihas been captured and maintains he has never met Atta.
In Junean unnamed US intelligence official told 60 Minutes that Iraq had attached "extreme conditions" to the handing over of Yasin. According to the official, the Iraqis wanted the U. We had to draw up a plan to enter Iraq through the north that was not under the control of his regime. We would then spread south to the areas of our fraternal Sunni brothers. The fraternal brothers of the Ansar al-Islam expressed their willingness to offer assistance to help us achieve this goal.
The argument had the obvious virtue of playing to the public's desire to see the war on terrorism prosecuted aggressively and conclusively. Yet, scant proof of these links was presented. The record showed a small number of contacts between jihadists and Iraqi officials.
This was treated as the tip of an unseen iceberg of cooperation, even though it fell far short of anything that resembled significant cooperation in the eyes of the counterterrorism community—as it always had. No persuasive proof was given of money, weaponry, or training being provided. Wilkersonhas since revealed that "as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May —well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion—its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.
After Saddam lost the Gulf War and facing widespread rebellions from the Shia majorityhe identified more closely with Islam by hosting international conferences and broadcasting Islamic sermons on national radio. Many in the intelligence community are skeptical about whether such meetings, if they took place at all, ever resulted in any meaningful relationship. Many of the claims of actual collaboration seem to have originated with people associated with the Iraqi National Congress whose credibility has been impeached and who have been accused of manipulating the evidence in order to lure the United States into war on false pretenses.
In addition, many of the raw intelligence reports came to the awareness of the public through the leaking of a memo sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence,  the conclusions of which have been disputed by intelligence agencies including the CIA. Feith's view of the relationship between Saddam and Osama differed from the official view of the intelligence community. The memo was subsequently leaked to the media.
The Pentagon issued a statement cautioning that the memo was "a classified annex containing a list and description of the requested reports, so that the committee could obtain the reports from the relevant members of the intelligence community The classified annex was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, and it drew no conclusions.
Patrick Lang told the Washington Post that the Weekly Standard article which published Feith's memo "is a listing of a mass of unconfirmed reports, many of which themselves indicate that the two groups continued to try to establish some sort of relationship.
If they had such a productive relationship, why did they have to keep trying? No evidence of such an understanding has ever been produced. Some reports claim that Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence operative in Prague, but intelligence officials have concluded that no such meeting took place.
A training camp in Salman Paksouth of Baghdad, was said by a number of defectors to have been used to train international terrorists assumed to be al-Qaeda members in hijacking techniques using a real airplane as a prop. The defectors were inconsistent about a number of details. The camp has been examined by U.
Marines, and intelligence analysts do not believe it was used by al-Qaeda. Some of these analysts believe it was actually used for counterterrorism training, while others believe it was used to train foreign fighters overtly aligned with Iraq. There have been no credible reports since the war that Iraq trained al-Qa'ida operatives at Salman Pak to conduct or support transnational terrorist operations.
They were asked whether there was any possible connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaedaand laughed stating that Bin Laden hated the dictator who he believed was a "Scotch-drinking, woman-chasing apostate. Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda timeline Much of the evidence of alleged links between Iraq and al-Qaeda is based on speculation about meetings that may have taken place between Iraqi officials and al-Qaeda members. The idea that a meeting could have happened has been taken as evidence of substantial collaboration.
As terrorism analyst Evan Kohlman points out, "While there have been a number of promising intelligence leads hinting at possible meetings between al-Qaeda members and elements of the former Baghdad regime, nothing has been yet shown demonstrating that these potential contacts were historically any more significant than the same level of communication maintained between Osama bin Laden and ruling elements in a number of Iraq's Persian Gulf neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Qatar, and Kuwait.
Security Council on the issue of Iraq. Powell acknowledged in January that the speech presented no hard evidence of collaboration between Saddam and al-Qaeda; he told reporters at a State Department press conference that "I have not seen smoking gun, concrete evidence about the connection, but I do believe the connections existed. He told Barbara Walters in an interview that he considered the speech a "blot" on his record and that he feels "terrible" about assertions that he made in the speech that turned out to be false.
He said, "There were some people in the intelligence community who knew at that time that some of these sources were not good, and shouldn't be relied upon, and they didn't speak up. I can't think otherwise because I'd never seen evidence to suggest there was one. The following are quotations from the speech: Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawian associated in collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaida lieutenants.
When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp.
Saddam and Osama: The Match-up
And this camp is located in northeastern Iraq. He traveled to Baghdad in May for medical treatment, staying in the capital of Iraq for two months while he recuperated to fight another day. During this stay, nearly two dozen extremists converged on Baghdad and established a base of operations there. These Al Qaida affiliates, based in Baghdad, now coordinate the movement of people, money and supplies into and throughout Iraq for his network, and they've now been operating freely in the capital for more than eight months.
We asked a friendly security service to approach Baghdad about extraditing Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and providing information about him and his close associates.
This service contacted Iraqi officials twice, and we passed details that should have made it easy to find Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. The network remains in Baghdad. Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi still remains at large to come and go.
Since last year, members of this network have been apprehended in France, BritainSpain and Italy. By our last count, operatives connected to this global web have been arrested. Going back to the early and mids, when bin Laden was based in Sudan, an Al Qaida source tells us that Saddam and bin Laden reached an understanding that Al Qaida would no longer support activities against Baghdad. Saddam became more interested as he saw Al Qaida's appalling attacks.
A detained Al Qaida member tells us that Saddam was more willing to assist Al Qaida after the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Iraqis continued to visit bin Laden in his new home in Afghanistan. A senior defector, one of Saddam's former intelligence chiefs in Europe, says Saddam sent his agents to Afghanistan sometime in the mids to provide training to Al Qaida members on document forgery. From the late s untilthe Iraqi embassy in Pakistan played the role of liaison to the Al Qaida organization.
The support that inaudible describes included Iraq offering chemical or biological weapons training for two Al Qaida associates beginning in December He says that a militant known as Abu Abdula Al-Iraqi ph had been sent to Iraq several times between and for help in acquiring poisons and gases.
Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda link allegations
Abdula Al-Iraqi ph characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful. As I said at the outset, none of this should come as a surprise to any of us.
Terrorism has been a tool used by Saddam for decades. Saddam was a supporter of terrorism long before these terrorist networks had a name. And this support continues. The nexus of poisons and terror is new.
Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda link allegations - Wikipedia
The nexus of Iraq and terror is old. The combination is lethal. The major claims set forth in Powell's speech—that Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi constitutes a link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, and that Saddam's government provided training and assistance to al-Qaeda terrorists in Baghdad—have since been disputed by the intelligence community and terrorism experts.
A former Israeli intelligence official described the meeting between Zarqawi and bin Laden as "loathing at first sight. According to the New York Timesal-Libi provided some accurate intelligence on al Qaeda and made some statements about Iraq and al Qaeda while in American custody, but it wasn't until being after he was handed over to Egypt that he made more specific assertions about Iraq training al Qaeda members in biological and chemical weapons.
A DIA report issued in February expressed skepticism about al-Libi's claims due to this, noting that he may have been subjected to harsh treatment while in Egyptian custody. In Februarythe CIA reissued the debriefing reports from al-Libi to note that he had recanted information. A government official told the New York Times that al Libi's claims of harsh treatment had not been corroborated and the CIA has refused to comment specifically on al-Libi's case as much of the information remains classified; however, current and former government officials agreed to discuss the case on condition of anonymity.
Official investigations and reports[ edit ] Several official investigations by U. Every single investigation has resulted in the conclusion that the data examined did not provide compelling evidence of a cooperative relationship between the two entities. In that part of the America-hating universe, contacts happen.
But that's still a long way from suggesting that they were really working together. According to the National Journal"Much of the contents of the PDB were later incorporated, albeit in a slightly different form, into a lengthier CIA analysis examining not only Al Qaeda's contacts with Iraq, but also Iraq's support for international terrorism.
All of them concluded that all known evidence suggested that such a meeting was unlikely at best. The January CIA report Iraqi Support for Terrorism noted that "the most reliable reporting to date casts doubt on this possibility" that such a meeting occurred. Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet released "the most complete public assessment by the agency on the issue" in a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee in Julystating that the CIA was "increasingly skeptical" any such meeting took place.
We looked at it from every conceivable angle.
Saddam link to Bin Laden | World news | The Guardian
We peeled open the source, examined the chain of acquisition. We looked at photographs. We looked at timetables. We looked at who was where and when.