Jewish World Review Dec. 16, 2002 / 11 Teves, 5763
Debunker mentality: It's hard work not seeing ties between Iraq and al-Qaida
The United States hasn't proved Saddam has weapons of mass destruction...
but he'll use them against U.S. troops if we invade. Saddam has no
connections to international terror groups...but he'll launch terror attacks
inside the United States if America attacks him.
To argue credibly against war with Iraq, opponents must maintain either that
Saddam Hussein isn't a threat, or that he is so great a threat that an
attempt to oust him would produce unacceptably high casualties. These
positions contradict each other, and are contradicted by the facts.
Few besides Iraqi functionaries maintain that Saddam has no weapons of mass
destruction. UN weapons inspectors found thousands of tons of chemical and
biological weapons and their precursors, and a well-funded nuclear
development progam. At the time they were kicked out in 1998, all the
inspectors were convinced there was more to find. Presumably, Saddam would
not have run the risk of war by expelling them if he didn't have something
If a respectable case is to be made that Saddam is not a threat, it has to
be made on the basis that no matter how evil, mean, nasty and rotten Saddam
may be, there is little likelihood he would initiate the use of weapons of
mass destruction against the United States, or share such weapons with
groups like al Qaeda, which clearly would.
So debunking evidence of ties between Iraq and al Qaeda has become an urgent
task for anti-warriors. The New York Times has three times published stories
casting doubt on a report that Sept. 11 hijack leader Mohammed Atta met with
an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague last year, each time to have its
debunking debunked by the head of the Czech intelligence service, the Czech
Interior Minister, and the Czech Prime Minister at the time. All maintain to
this day that the meeting took place.
The task of the debunkers is getting more difficult. In the current issue of
Vanity Fair, David Rose reports that a special intelligence unit in the
Pentagon has found nearly 100 separate examples of Iraq-al Qaeda cooperation
going back to 1992.
A senior CIA officer told Rose that two other of the Sept. 11 hijackers -
Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah - met with Iraqi intelligence officers in
the United Arab Emirates a few months before the attack.
The Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 9 that just before the Sept. 11 attacks,
a group of al-Qaeda guerrillas left Afghanistan to set up a backup base in
northern Iraq. Abu Wael, a major in the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi intelligence
service, was sent to Afghanistan in 1995 to be Saddam's liaison to al Qaeda,
the Times said.
The Washington Post reported Dec. 12 that Islamic extremists affiliated with
al Qaeda had picked up a chemical weapon in Iraq last month and have
smuggled it into Turkey.
These new disclosures come on top of evidence of Iraqi involvement in
earlier terror plots against the United States. It is accepted by all
Western intelligence services that Iraq was behind an attempt to assassinate
former President Bush in Kuwait in 1993. James Fox, then head of the New
York office of the FBI, was convinced that Ramzi Yousef, convicted of
masterminding the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, was an Iraqi agent.
Jayna Davis, an investigative reporter in Oklahoma City, found witnesses who
placed Hussain al Hussaini, a former Iraqi soldier and a dead ringer for the
FBI sketch of John Doe Number Two, in the company of convicted bomber
Timothy McVeigh the morning of the bombing of the Murrah federal building,
and at a bar several nights before. Edward Angeles, a leader of the Abu
Sayyaf terror group, said that McVeigh's confederate, Terry Nichols, met
with Ramzi Yousef in Cebu City in the Philippines.
One of those indicted for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Abu Rahman
Yasin, took refuge in Baghdad, where he lives today. Saddam also provided a
home for Abu Nidal, the Osama bin Laden of the 1980s. Iraqi defectors say
Saddam maintained at Salman Pak, a military base near Baghdad, a Boeing 707
on which terrorists practiced hijackings.
Many liberals insinuated President Bush was to blame for the FBI's failure
to "connect the dots" prior to Sept. 11. But it is evident that it isn't
only the FBI that is having difficulty connecting dots.
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© 2002, Jack Kelly