Newly declassified documents captured in Iraq show that Saddam Hussein's regime had extensive ties with a variety of Islamist and other terrorist groups, in some cases dating back to the early 1990s. Saddam's Iraqi Intelligence Service (or Mukhabarat) established a working relationship with Egyptian Islamic Jihad, whose leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, later merged the group with al Qaeda, according to a new report by the Institute for Defense Analyses. In addition, the Mukhabarat trained scores of non-Iraqi Arabs to attack Israel. The new report contains copies of captured Iraqi documents that provide what may be the most detailed picture ever of Baghdad's support for terrorism.Just keep in mind they found no operational links to bin Laden as you glance through all the other reports in this article, such as the 1993 communique where Saddam discussed plans to overthrow Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. Ironically, four years later more than 60 tourists were killed in a terrorist attack at Luxor by a group called the Vanguards of Conquest, Ayman al-Zawahiri's group. We previously learned Saddam was helping, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Zawahiri's other group, which merged with al Qaeda in summer 2001. But don't forget--there were no formal ties to Osama bin Laden.
One document detailed plans to kill humanitarian aid workers in Kurdistan. But how? Saddam loved Doritos! And he was no threat to America. And he wasn't tied to bin Laden or 9/11.
The fact Saddam had a pre-Gulf War conversation with Nobel Prize winning peace lover Yasser Arafat contemplating ways to kill George Herbert Walker Bushco using suicide bombers is now yesterday's news. Heck, the fact he actually tried and failed in Kuwait is even older news (and we still know he wasn't behind 9/11) but today we learned some new news:
The study also reveals that on Sept. 17, 2001, Saddam gave orders to his military intelligence directorate to recruit Iraqi officers to conduct "suicide operations" against the United States.Oddly, one day later on September 18th the first anthrax letter was mailed here in the United States.
It's tempting to credit Karl Rove for leaking the pre-release of this study to the liberal press knowing they'd hype the "Saddam had no ties to al Qaeda" morsel above everything else, giving it immediate and pristine credibility. That way when the incriminating red meat began to tumble out they'd be hard-pressed to portray the same pristine report as Bush spin. It's a decent theory assuming they don't successfully bury the story under a blizzard of Obama PR releases and senior moment updates about a certain old guy.
While driving this evening I happened to catch the Savage show and his guest Michael Scheuer. The former CIA analyst has always been somewhat of an enigma. He seems to be a rare person with no ideological bent. Sometimes.
His latest book laments our demise at the hands of bin Laden, whom he believes is draining our treasury fighting the war. He may be right on that, but we may not have much of a choice if we want to avoid further attacks. He believes to some extent, like our friends the reverend Falwell, Robertson and Wright, that we've brought some of this on ourselves. Yet one minute he'll be saying Bill Clinton didn't allow CIA to blow bin Laden to hell while the next he'll be calling Bush a warmonger who is actually making things worse by blowing people to hell.
His first book proclaimed that bin Laden and Saddam were tied (he was right) but oddly, about the same time it became apparent WMDs weren't going to turn up in Iraq he returned and revised it to say he'd made a mistake. That lost him some credibility with me, yet admittedly his knowledge of the business dwarfs some internet blogger with a day job. Still, the blame America stuff gets old.
Sure the west has problems. There are moral/ethical shortcomings. We focus too much on greed, fame and power. We also have the freedom to get past shortcomings and learn from them without losing our liberty or various and sundry limbs. Both Eliot Spitzer and the mayor of Detroit are paying for their moral misdeeds right now and the left has made George Bush's life a living hell for his feeble attempts to consolidate more power to the presidency. All without shots being fired. And this is worse than the Taliban, how?
Scheuer says bin Laden Inc doesn't want our decadent western values corrupting his pristine religion, which is partly why he fights us. This describing a man with multiple wives. But seriously, if Islam is truly the great world religion then it should be able to co-exist alongside concepts such as female independence or freedom of worship. Matter of fact, if we're to survive and advance as a species, it must.