New revelations on the Saddam/Osama connection

Jamie Glazov at FrontPage magazine has a must-read interview posted that he did with Thomas Joscelyn on some new revelations that are emerging from the recently released intelligence documents that were discovered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Joscelyn in the past has teamed up with the tenacious Stephen Hayes regarding the connections between Saddam and Osama. From the interview (emphasis added):

FP: Do we have any idea what is in the Iraqi Intelligence documents regarding Saddam’s ties to al Qaeda and global terrorism?

Joscelyn: Yes, we do. But first, a caveat. Since so few of the documents have been reviewed, it is difficult to say what the complete picture of Saddam’s activities will look like. We also know that a large number of documents and other pieces of media were destroyed as U.S. forces entered the country. Furthermore, the majority of the documents have not been authenticated. Great care should be exercised in analyzing these documents and we should always be wary of forgeries.

However, the Iraqi intelligence documents that have been authenticated by the U.S. intelligence community offer a startling view of Saddam’s ties to global terrorism, including al Qaeda.

One IIS document, in particular, has received significant attention. The document was apparently authored in early 1997 and summarizes a number of contacts between Iraqi Intelligence and Saudi oppositionist groups, including al Qaeda, during the mid 1990’s. The document says that in early 1995 bin Laden requested Iraqi assistance in two ways. First, bin Laden wanted Iraqi television to carry al Qaeda’s anti-Saudi propaganda. Saddam agreed. Second, bin Laden requested Iraqi assistance in performing “joint operations against the foreign forces in the land of Hijaz.” That is, bin Laden wanted Iraq’s assistance in attacking U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia.

We do not know what, exactly, came of bin Laden’s second request. But the document indicates that Saddam’s operatives “were left to develop the relationship and the cooperation between the two sides to see what other doors of cooperation and agreement open up.” Thus, it appears that both sides saw value in working with each other. It is also worth noting that in the months following bin Laden’s request, al Qaeda was tied to a series of bombings in Saudi Arabia.

The same document also indicates that Iraq was in contact with Dr. Muhammad al-Massari, the head of the Committee for Defense of Legitimate Rights (CDLR). The CDLR is a known al Qaeda propaganda organ based in London. The document indicates that the IIS was seeking to “establish a nucleus of Saudi opposition in Iraq” and to “use our relationship with [al-Massari] to serve our intelligence goals.” The document also notes that Iraq was attempting to arrange a visit for the al Qaeda ideologue to Baghdad. Again, we can’t be certain what came of these contacts.

Just recently, however, al-Massari confirmed that Saddam had joined forces with al Qaeda prior to the war. Al-Massari says that Saddam established contact with the “Arab Afghans” who fled Afghanistan to northern Iraq in 2001 and that he funded their relocation to Iraq under the condition that they would not seek to undermine his regime. Upon their arrival, these al Qaeda terrorists were put in contact with Iraqi army personnel, who armed and funded them.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip: All Things Beautiful

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