Iraq-al-Qaida links go back decade

By WND Staff

CIA reports of Iraqi-al-Qaida cooperation number nearly 100 and extend back to 1992, according to a reporter for Vanity Fair whose sources include senior Pentagon officials.

David Rose, writing for the magazine and the United Kingdom’s Evening Standard, says he is convinced of the links between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad regime.

“My own doubts emerged more than a year ago, when a very senior CIA man told me that, contrary to the line his own colleagues were assiduously disseminating, there was evidence of an Iraq-al-Qaida link,” Rose writes. “He confirmed a story I had been told by members of the anti-Saddam Iraqi National Congress – that two of the hijackers, Marwan Al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah, had met Mukhabarat officers in the months before 9-11 in the United Arab Emirates. This, he said, was a pattern of contact between Iraq and al-Qaida which went back years.”

Rose reveals in the new issue of Vanity Fair that the Pentagon established a special intelligence unit to re-examine evidence of an Iraq-al-Qaida connection earlier this year. The CIA cooperated by supplying the unit with copies of its reports going back a decade.

“I have spoken to three senior officials who have seen its conclusions, which are striking,” he writes. “‘In the Cold War,’ says one of them, ‘often you’d draw firm conclusions and make policy on the basis of just four or five reports. Here there are almost 100 separate examples of Iraq-al-Qaida cooperation going back to 1992.'”

Assertions that Iraq is cooperating and supporting al-Qaida are supported by the findings of a new book by a top terrorism expert.

Yossef Bodansky, author of “The High Cost of Peace,” says joint preparations by Hussein, Yasser Arafat and al-Qaida for a new wave of anti-U.S. terror began last spring. The model for the terrorism campaign is Arafat’s Black September Organization of the 1970s.

The initiative for the alliance came from Palestinian Islamists based in Lebanon and Syria, according to Bodansky, the U.S. Congress’ top terrorism adviser. The response from al-Qaida came April 2, says Bodansky.

“A group calling itself the bin Laden Brigades-Palestine issued a statement formally integrating the Islamist and Fatah wave of anti-Israel terrorism into bin Laden’s global jihad,” he writes in his new book. “The bin Laden Brigades announced that their forces were now at the disposal of ‘Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and fighter commander Marwan al-Barghouti’ to fight ‘alongside the Brigades’ fighters and the Islamic factions.’ The statement emphasized that numerous Palestinian factions, specifically including al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, ‘[had] become part of the International Front for Fighting Jews and Christians, led by Osama bin Laden.’ They now ‘[had] found the path of Islam and adopted the line of genuine resistance of the jihad movement and Islamic resistance, that is the path of jihad and martyrdom for the sake of God, and discarded forever the lies of the alleged peace and the myths of negotiations.'”

The anti-U.S. coalition also includes Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

A communique issued on April 2 from the Unified Leadership of the Intifadah – an umbrella organization representing Arafat’s Fatah groups, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other members of the Palestine Liberation Organization – called for attacks on U.S. interests.

“The United States is backing the Israeli assault on the Palestinians,” it said. “Therefore, U.S. facilities, targets and interests throughout the world should be harmed.”

Unit 999 of Iraqi intelligence has helped train both Arafat’s shock troops and bin Laden’s Islamists for suicide operations utilizing weapons of mass destruction. According to Bodansky’s book, some of these terrorists have already “succeeded in infiltrating several Arab countries. They are provided with instructions, secret codes and advanced weapons.”

According to Israeli sources, the Iraqis permitted the terrorist trainees to test chemical weapons in southern Kurdistan.

Related story:

Iraq, Arafat, bin Laden coalition formed

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