July 20, 2005

Another In A Series

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am again posting and promoting the ongoing series of articles at The Daily Standard dealing with Saddam's connections to Al Qaeda and to Osama bin Laden. I can think of no issue more important at this moment than trying to make more people aware of the evidence, new and old, which refutes the commonly held misperception that the invasion of Iraq was based on a lie, and that Saddam had nothing to do with Al Qaeda or Islamist terror.

The Standard has been out front on this, with Stephen Hayes leading the way, for over two years. I was glad to hear Hayes on Michael Medved's radio show on the way home from work tonight, with Medved stressing the importance of Hayes' recent article with Thomas Joscelyn, and plugging Hayes book, "The Connection". I know too that my modest traffic here won't put a dent in the monumental project of spreading the word, but one does what one can, I suppose.

Tuesday Joscelyn was back with The Four Day War, a discussion of the Clinton administration's bombing raid on Iraq in December of 1998, and the fact that back then, there was fairly broad understanding if not consensus in world media, including the U.S., that a substantive relationship existed between Saddam and bin Laden. Here's a taste of Joscelyn's piece:

...as the current war in Iraq approached many forgot or ignored Saddam's response to the four-day war of December 1998. It is a shame because his response to that four-day bombing campaign--the largest since the first Gulf War--was telling. In his quest for revenge he had few options, but one of those was Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda.

Just days after Operation Desert Fox concluded one of Saddam's most loyal and trusted intelligence operatives, Faruq Hijazi, was dispatched to Afghanistan. He met with senior leaders from the Taliban and then with bin Laden and his cohorts on December 21.

While we cannot be sure what transpired at this meeting, we can be sure that it was not some benign event. In fact, within days of the meeting bin Laden loudly declared his opposition to the U.S.-led missile strikes on Iraq and called on all Muslims to strike U.S. and British targets, including civilians, around the world. According to press accounts at the time, bin Laden explained, "The British and the American people loudly declared their support for their leaders' decision to attack Iraq." He added that the citizens' support for their governments made it "the duty of Muslims to confront, fight, and kill" them.

Bin Laden's words sounded alarm bells around the world. Countless media outlets scurried to uncover the details of the relationship between Saddam's regime and al Qaeda. Dozens of news outlets--foreign and domestic--reported on the growing relationship and its ominous implications. When assessing any news account the reader must take all of the information with a grain of salt. But the sheer weight of the evidence reported from so many different sources paints a disturbing picture.

The meeting between Hijazi and bin Laden, it turned out, was not the first meeting between Saddam's envoys and al Qaeda. Nor were their conversations or cooperation limited to a few inconsequential contacts, as many in the U.S. intelligence community now claim. There were numerous reports that Saddam was training hundreds of al Qaeda operatives, that al Qaeda was receiving assistance in making chemical weapons in Sudan, that scores of Iraqi military officers had relocated to Afghanistan, and that Saddam might even use al Qaeda agents in a "false flag" operation against western targets.

The first alarm was rung by Milan's Corriere Della Sera on December 28. In the bluntest manner, the newspaper reported, "Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin have sealed a pact." Saddam's regime and bin Laden's global terrorist network had united against the common enemy, the U.S. and her allies. In preparation for the coming terrorist war, Saddam had even offered bin Laden safehaven.

And I was delighted to see blogfriend Dan Darling (of Regnum Crucis and Winds of Change fame) writing at The Standard with an article entitled "The Al-Douri Factor". I have long admired Dan's encyclopedic command of the names, places, factions and relationships among the Islamists, and his analysis is always fact-based and interesting. His article cites yet another example of Iraqi outreach to, and consultation with Al Qaeda, this time in the person of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri.

It all makes for fascinating reading. That is, if your worldview isn't assaulted too heavily by consumption of the information.

Note: Does anyone under the age of thirty have any idea what the expression "sounding like a broken record" really means?

Posted by dan at July 20, 2005 2:09 AM