Will MSM Cover Saddam-al-Qaida Links?
This ought to be big news. Throughout the early and mid-1990s, Saddam Hussein actively supported an influential terrorist group headed by the man who is now al Qaeda's second-in-command, according to an exhaustive study issued last week by the Pentagon. "Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared al Qaeda's stated goals and objectives." According to the Pentagon study, Egyptian Islamic Jihad was one of many jihadist groups that Iraq's former dictator funded, trained, equipped, and armed.The Weekly Standard news item is based on a report gleaned from 600,000 documents from the Saddam era, including letters, memos, computer files, audiotapes, and videotapes. From the report's abstract:
Because Saddam's security organizations and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearanceWeekly Standard gives us this summary of some key report findings:
of and, in some way, a 'de facto' link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam's use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.
In 1993, as Osama bin Laden's fighters battled Americans in Somalia, Saddam Hussein personally ordered the formation of an Iraqi terrorist group to join the battle there.So Saddam's interplay with terrorists not only included al-Qaeda, but went far beyond it, posing multiple threats to America on multiple fronts.
For more than two decades, the Iraqi regime trained non-Iraqi jihadists in training camps throughout Iraq.
According to a 1993 internal Iraqi intelligence memo, the regime was supporting a secret Islamic Palestinian organization dedicated to "armed jihad against the Americans and Western interests."
In the 1990s, Iraq's military intelligence directorate trained and equipped "Sudanese fighters."
In 1998, the Iraqi regime offered "financial and moral support" to a new group of jihadists in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.
In 2002, the year before the war began, the Iraqi regime hosted in Iraq a series of 13 conferences for non-Iraqi jihadist groups.
That same year, a branch of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) issued hundreds of Iraqi passports for known terrorists.
Will America read about this in their daily paper or see it on their nightly news? With the Weekly Standard just posting the story, it's too early to tell -- but somehow I feel that in the end, this will be passed of as just a story a neocon rag ran, discounting the report behind it in order to keep the mythology of the "war that started with a lie" intact.