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Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Challenge, Chapter 2: Osama's Peace with Saddam

One of the constant themes of the anti-war media blitz was that Osama and Saddam were enemies due to Saddam's secularism (or skin-deep Islamism prior to the first Gulf War) and Osama's fanatical Islamist beliefs. Osama, they said, could not abide a secularist such as Saddam and probably was working against him. Believers in this meme -- and there were many -- argued that an American war that deposed Saddam benefited al-Qaeda rather than hinder it. Cynical essays were published during the brief war that had Osama celebrating the Americans doing his dirty work in Iraq.

However, reality was somewhat different, as even the Clinton administration knew well before the embassy bombings of 1998. After those bombings, Janet Reno's Justice Department indicted Osama bin Laden for both bombings and for conspiring to kill Americans:

According to the indictment, bin Laden and al Qaeda forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in Sudan and with representatives of the Government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah with the goal of working together against their common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.

"In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the Government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq," the indictment said. [USIA press release, 11/4/98]

That substantiates this part of the Feith memo, as has been discussed at length around the blogosphere:

5. A CIA report from a contact with good access, some of whose reporting has been corroborated, said that certain elements in the "Islamic Army" of bin Laden were against the secular regime of Saddam. Overriding the internal factional strife that was developing, bin Laden came to an "understanding" with Saddam that the Islamic Army would no longer support anti-Saddam activities. According to sensitive reporting released in U.S. court documents during the African Embassy trial, in 1993 bin Laden reached an "understanding" with Saddam under which he (bin Laden) forbade al Qaeda operations to be mounted against the Iraqi leader.

This agreement did not just comprise a non-aggression pact between Osama and Saddam; it was the basis of a working relationship, allowing al-Qaeda safe harbor from which to plot attacks against American and Western targets:

8. Reporting from a well placed source disclosed that bin Laden was receiving training on bomb making from the IIS's [Iraqi Intelligence Service] principal technical expert on making sophisticated explosives, Brigadier Salim al-Ahmed. Brigadier Salim was observed at bin Laden's farm in Khartoum in Sept.-Oct. 1995 and again in July 1996, in the company of the Director of Iraqi Intelligence, Mani abd-al-Rashid al-Tikriti.

Remember that this section of the Feith memo does not detail newly-discovered intelligence on the relationship between al-Qaeda and the Saddam regime; this was known to the Clinton administration, and presumably to the Senate Intelligence Committee, at least as far back as 1998. Why, then, have the Democrats been insisting that there was no evidence of a link between al-Qaeda, Osama, and Saddam Hussein? According to evidence available to the Clinton administration and the Senate, they knew about the link from multiple sources. In this light, the Rockefeller memo of the past month is particularly reprehensible, as is the public statements of most Democratic presidential candidates, excepting Lieberman and Gephardt.

More tomorrow. And if you're blogging on this memo daily in response to Andrew Sullivan's challenge to the blogosphere, please send a trackback ping so I can liink your posts on my site, or leave a comment with the URL of your post.

UPDATE: Power Line links to a Washington Post article and an Andrew Sullivan critique of it. The article is off-line at the moment, but here's a quote that states the thinking of the reporter, Walter Pincus:

The classified annex summarized raw intelligence reports but did not analyze them or address their accuracy, according to a senior administration official familiar with the matter.

That's a pretty lame excuse for burying the story -- just the two paragraphs I quote today mention "a well placed source" and "a contact with good access, some of whose reporting has been corroborated". That both analyzes them and addresses their accuracy. The entire Feith memo has numerous such passages. And, let's remember, that the correlation was strong enough for Justice in '98 to claim the exact same correlation as discussed in my post. This is why the blogosphere needs to stay on top of this story.

UPDATES: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit for linking to this post. If you missed the first post in this series, you can find it here. Note: The next part can be found here.

Jon at QandO has more on the WaPo article; he notes that Pincus' attitude towards investigative journalism seems a bit suspect.

Now that you have read this post, read the most recent entries at the new Captain's Quarters at http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/!

12:15 AM in War on Terror | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Challenge, Chapter 2: Osama's Peace with Saddam:

» Connecting Saddam to Osama from Third Superpower
One of the constant themes of the anti-war media blitz was that Osama and Saddam were enemies due to Saddam’s... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 18, 2003 6:31:53 AM

» Al Qaeda Connections? -- Check from Oscar Jr. Was Here
According to Kathryn Jean Lopez on The Corner, Stephen F. Hayes will be reporting some big news as soon as the Weekly Standard's site is back up. Excerpt from the article: But there can no longer be any serious argument... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 18, 2003 8:27:35 AM

» Case Closed, the Story that Must Not Die (UPDATED) from The Young Curmudgeon
It's time for a full-on media war, and the stakes are as high as they could possibly be. The Weekly Standard has published a piece by Stephen F. Hayes, aptly titled "Case Closed". The piece is based on "a top [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 18, 2003 11:27:14 AM

Comments

How does one use you Trackback URL?

Posted by: Tim at Nov 18, 2003 7:29:27 AM

How does one use your Trackback URL?

Posted by: Tim at Nov 18, 2003 7:29:34 AM

Good piece, Cap'n. Keep following it.

I linked you, and added comments.

The direction Pincus took with his story is baffling.

Posted by: Jon Henke at Nov 18, 2003 7:42:54 AM

Jon -- back at you; great post, and I updated this to link back to you.

I replied to Tim privately, but for anyone else who's interesting in sending a Trackback ping, I'll tell you how it works with Typepad:

1. Copy the trackback URL (found at the bottom of the post in single-post view, or by clicking on the Trackback link associated with the post).

2. Paste this URL into the trackback field for the post in your own blog.

3. Publish (or republish) your post. (It's customary to include a link and a reference back to the blog you're pinging, BTW.)

If your blogging software doesn't support Trackback pinging, send me an e-mail or leave a comment with the URL of your post, and I'll put them all into a post later today linking back to your blogs. Let's keep this rolling until the mainstream media finally take notice of this story.

Posted by: Captain Ed at Nov 18, 2003 7:58:01 AM

Here is the URL to my first post on the Hayes story:

http://youngcurmudgeon.typepad.com/blog/2003/11/case_closed_the.html

I'm on Typepad myself, but am too slow-witted to understand how to use trackback, even after your detailed instructions. If you want to try to explain again by comment or e-mail that would be lovely for me, but I understand if you're tired of going over this. I can try to get the information from some kind of Typepad forum or from Six Apart or something. I will link to your post later today. Let's keep this going. I applaud your initiative.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at Nov 18, 2003 10:03:23 AM

More here and here...

Posted by: HH at Nov 18, 2003 9:49:37 PM

[CARTOON] Osama Bin Laden Killed
http://bit.ly/iNv9th

Posted by: Johnny Ancich at May 6, 2011 9:38:34 PM