Wednesday, February 02, 2005

It's About Freedom!

I haven't been this emotional since September 11th, 1991.
This time however I am bursting with excitement, pride and hope for the Iraqi people. For two years now I have been reading the Iraqi blogs, first only one then for a long time only about five or six.
Then more and more Iraqis discovered the internet and now there are maybe 20 or 30 Iraqi blogs. It is getting difficult to keep up with all of them (what a wonderful dilemma)!
Today I just want to post some excerpts from some of those blogs on their impressions of their historical election on Sunday January 30th, 2005.

An appropriate sentiment:
"The worth of a state, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals
composing it." --John Stuart Mill

The Iraqis are Worthy!

I have believed this from the start. The lame stream media has diffinently discourged this very sucessfully for those who believe they can rely on the MSM for unbaised truth, I think the average Joe and Jane is smarter than they give us credit for however, because the MSM is now ranked in trustworthiness somewhere in between used car salesmen and lawyers.

But this is about the heroic Iraqis and their courage in the face of the worst scum on earth and all that they could throw at them. They turned out in droves and thumbed their collective noses at the saddamists, ba'athist and terrorists.

Sam at Hammorabi says
"Thanks to all our friends in the USA and on the top of them is George W Bush and we hope they continue to help us to rebuild our country and the structure of our democracy which passed its first step and more yet to come."

href="">Alaa The Mesopotamian
to me a poet titles this post:

Omar and Mohammed at Iraq The Model relay a scene on the way to the pole:
"The first thing we saw this morning on our way to the voting center was a convoy of the Iraqi army vehicles patrolling the street, the soldiers were cheering the people marching towards their voting centers then one of the soldiers chanted "vote for Allawi" less than a hundred meters, the convoy stopped and the captain in charge yelled at the soldier who did that and said:
"You're a member of the military institution and you have absolutely no right to support any political entity or interfere with the people's choice. This is Iraq's army, not Allawi's."'

Alaa The Mesopotamian
adds this impression:
"There were acts of heroism. Abdul Amir Kadhim, saw a man whom he suspected to be a suicide bomber, he threw himself on the man before he could get to the waiting line of people; and sure there was an explosion and this young man gave his life to save the others. Prime Minister Allawi paid tribute to this heroism. At one station there was a suicide attack and several people fell; when people of the neighborhood heard of this, the waiting line suddenly swelled to three times in size; people rushed out of their homes and came running to wait in line; it was their way to express their defiance and anger at this crime. The examples of bravery and courage are too numerous to recount. People took courage from each other, as people came out others watched and did not want to be left out. It was something incredible to watch. Yes this was a historic day, a day to remember until our dying day. With one stroke, in a single day, the silent majority spoke and answered all the pundits and doubters, and those who spoke on their behalf. Yet we have been telling you this all along; we have been telling you ever since this blogging movement started. Do you now see that we were not representing minority views, that we were not some CIA agents trying to make propaganda?"

And more from Alaa: (Yes he is one of my very favorites - such a way with words, has stolen my heart).
"Finally, we heard the speech of President Bush Loud and clear. He, and the American people and their British and other valiant allies have much to do with this event. All I can say is that this man has all the essential traits of character that distinguishes the great men of history; the insistence and utter conviction and the perseverance and steadfastness in the face of all doubters and detractors. This was no ordinary election, and it was not simply to elect a constituent assembly. It was the answer of the people, what they really thought about the liberation, what they really thought of the ideas preached by the president. This was a message by the Iraqi people to the American people and their great president. It was the heart of Iraq answering the heart of America that voted to give the President the mandate to finish the task; it was the answer that the common people of Iraq gave by braving danger and exposing their life and that of their children and families to death, this was their way to make their voice heard.

Well, thank you Mr. President, we heard you; and I am sure you also heard us."

Firas Georges at Iraq & Iraqi's says this:
"On one time in Baghdad today terrorists used a Mongoloid boy (a boy with a mental illness) to trap him and send him to a voting center and it worked he died and killed few people, which confirms one thing, that we have a terrorist gang no more in Baghdad must be caught and punished. Things went alright in many parts and people went to vote in huge numbers even in Falluja. No body expected that number of voters, I felt afraid in the morning when I went to vote, now things are changed and I feel strong and ready to fight terrorists because I know for sure that the number of Iraqis who will stand behind me will terrify the terrorists and lead this country to prosperity."

Alaasmary at Sun of Iraq
Gives his opinion and posts some pictures.
"A suicide explosion in Al-Mansor city, Al-Sader city and in New Baghdad city near election center , but the Iraqis still insistent to vote.
We will crush the terrorists.
The democracy will win."

Kurdo at Kurdo's World posts some great pictures and says:
"Historic Day For Democracy"

"All these fingers are up for you terrorist, anti-democracy, pro-beheading, suicide-bombers, Baathiest, Saddamist and anti-peace people."

"In Kurdistan and Iraq now, people check each others index finger, "Oh you have a normal finger ?!! How come it is not blue ?! You are NOT democratic at all"

Omar and Mohammed at Iraq The Model on the day after:
"There were so many misconceptions about Iraq and these were the reasons why viewers from outside as well as many Iraqis were surprised. In the past few months, the media have played a big role in reflecting a blurred image about the will and preparations of Iraqis to hold the elections, not to mention exaggerating the size of the "militant groups" and their capabilities."

Saleem at free iraq says:
"I wish you were here in Iraq in the election day to see the future of Iraq hold by the courageous of those people and I was sure that the good days are very near and the Iraqi people decide their futre and defeat all the evil power that are work to stop the heifer of progress in Iraq but they were in fault because they choose the wrong country and wrong people ,I'm very glad because I was having the chance to participate in these elections and vote to build a new Iraq and amke a new future for this country that have witness many troubles since hundreds of years ."

Dr. Saif at Iraqi Humanity says:
"The Happiest Day of My Life is 30th of January"
"Hello Cheerfully"

"Today Iraqis did a very nice job & proved that whatever happens, they will stay standing against the evil force."

Bilind and Hamza at Salam reports on some Kurdish reactions:
"Hosniya Jabbar, an 83-year-old woman, also made the effort to reach the polling station. "My husband is dead and my children live abroad but I am voting for the children of Kurdistan, to give them a better future," she said. Kamiran Ahmed, 19, was equally enthusiastic. "Democracy is great. We have deprived of it for so long and now we can finally choose the people who represent us," he said. "I hope that that our lives will be changed that those who made our parents suffer will never come back to power."

Ali at Free Iraqi
bears his heart (and what a heart!) before going to vote.
"I hope I'll be able to post after voting and I'll keep you updated. Thanks again for your care and may God bless you all and give you a hundred times what you have gave Iraq. I know it seems impossible when it comes to those who lost their beloved ones but I hope they know that their sacrifices were not in vain and that they gave humanity the most precious thing a man has, his life."

More from Ali
" "The best Eid I ever had."
"Last night I couldn't sleep well. I was so excited and I wanted to be at the voting center before it even opens its door. I was afraid that I was going to be among a minority who are going to vote, but I was still very happy for rather a different reason. It's that just as I care about the outcome of this election and that democracy would work in Iraq, I cared no less about voting on a personal level. This was my way to stand against those who humiliated me, my family and my friends. It was my way of saying," You're history and you don't scare me anymore". It was my way to scream in the face of all tyrants, not just Saddam and his Ba'athists and tell them, "I don't want to be your, or anyone's slave. You have kept me in your jail all my life but you never owned my soul". It was my way of finally facing my fears and finding my courage and my humanity again."

More snips from Ali:
"The voting center that was chosen in our district is a high school in the middle of the Neighborhood . This was the same place I went in 1996 to cast my vote in a poll asking if we wanted to have Saddam as a president for life or not. I had to go at that time. The threats for anyone who refused to take that poll were no less than the death penalty. Still our district was one of the places were one could vote secretly, occasionally though. They trusted our neighborhood because it's mainly Sunni military officers who live here with their families. I and some of my friends chose "NO" but we were scared to death as we marked the paper and remained so for days.

This time we went by choice and the threat was exactly the opposite. As I was walking with many people towards the center explosion hit and gun fire were heard but most were not that close. People didn't seem to pay attention to that. Some of them even brought their little kids with them! It's like the Eid but only a thousand times better.

I entered the school and the supervisors showed me the way to were I should vote. They and the ING guys were so polite and gentle. I cast my vote and got out, not in a rush at all. This is my Eid and I felt like a king walking in his own kingdom. I saw the same look of confidence and satisfaction in the eyes of all people I met. As I left one of the gurads said to me as he handed me back my cellular phone,"God bless you and your beloved ones. We don't know how to thank you. Please excuse any inconvinience on our part. We wish we didn't have to search you or limit your freedom. You are heroes" I was struck with surprise and felt ashamed. This man was risking his life all these hours in what has become the utmost target for all terrorists in Iraq and yet he's apologizing and calling us heroes. I thanked him back and told him that he and his comrads are the true heroes and that we can never be grateful enough for their services."

Zeyad at Healing Iraq went with his family to Jordan to vote had these impressions:
"The turnout in Iraq was really like nothing that I had expected. I was glued in front of tv for most of the day. My mother was in tears watching the scenes from all over the country. Iraqis had voted for peace and for a better future, despite the surrounding madness. I sincerely hope this small step would be the start of much bolder ones, and that the minority which insists on enslaving the majority of Iraqis would soon realise that all that they have accomplished till now is in vain.

Another surprise was to see some Iraqis who had fled the country in fear of reprisals, such as the families of ex-regime figures and ex-Ba'athists, actually voting and encouraging others to vote! I know some of those from school and college and I imagined they would be bitter about the whole process, but many were not."

A young woman who calls herselve Rose on her blog "Diary from Baghdad" can be just as pround as she sounds to declare:
"I did it, I voted
YES,YES, I did it. I have the courage to do it."

Here Husayn at "Democracy in Iraq" a fairly new blogger (to me anyway) leaves one of my favorite posts:
"Dear Al-Qaeda"
"Go to hell you pathetic bastards."

After being unable to stop our elections, the cavemen are now whining and screaming, and telling us they are going to pursue a holy war against us! The election was not only a triumph for our freedom, for our rebirth, but it was a nail in the coffin of Al-Qaeda. They had tried hard to stop us, to scare us, and to convince non-Iraqis that the election would be a failure...but we proved them wrong.

People voted, it is seen across the world as a sucess, and Al-Qaeda was unable to damage the election. Now, like an irritated baby, it is going in the media and screaming that it is going to get us now. The failure of Al-Qaeda to do anything to the elections has turned more Iraqis against them, the few who sympathized with the terrorists are now disheartened at the failure of their pathetic allies.

I hope that the world takes note of the impact of our elections on the future of Al-Qaeda. By encouraging democracy in other countries, terrorism will be slowly extinguished. The next target should be Saudi Arabia, our neighbor that is badly in need of reforms and a breeding ground for all these terrorists who cause trouble in not only Iraq, but across the world, and who were responsible for 9/11.

It is simple in my mind, terrorism is the result of autocracy. If you confine people, they find strange outlets, and lash out against others. If you give them freedom, then they are content, and abandon terrorism. I promise you that this will be the result of our election, and if this model is implimented in other nations it will shrink.

Let us not forget Afghanistan, which had its own election months ago, and has become much more stable then it ever was before.

Let me also take this time out to condem non-Iraqis who continue to deny what has happened in Iraq. I have read all over the internet comments by idiots who insist that the elections were false, that Iraqis are opressed, and that the future is Civil War.


You are not here, you are not living as we are, you do not get an accurate picture. The election was a resounding success, Iraqis are hungry for freedom, and we are building the future together. All this gloomy talk is nothing more than lies and evil vitriol by people who want to see our nation in trouble, and wish to deny us freedom and liberty.

Shame on you people. If you do not know what is happening in Iraq, then do not open your mouth, it will only make you look dumber than you already do when Iraq is a strong, democratic and free country.

I also want to say to my fellow Iraqis that we have made great progress in the last few months, but let us not be content. There is a lot still to be done, we have just began on the path, but we have shown that we have the resolve to finish the job. Let us continue working towards a unified Iraq, let us put the past behind us, and look to the bright future, one that will only be forged if we all combine our strengths!"

For the most complete roundup of good news from Iraq. This is part 20 of good news reports from Irag, it is a long read but worth every minute. Arthur Chrenkoff is your man. Thank you for all the hard work Arthur.

All those colors are ugly, ugly, ugly. Sorry about that but too hard to change it now. I will try to not repeat that mistake in future.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The Diplomad: More UNhonesty

"We warned you; some of you didn't believe us. We told you that on or about January 26, UN Undersecretary General and Disaster Relief Coordinator Jan "Stingy" Egeland would hold a press event to boast of what the UN has done on tsunami relief over the past month since the December 26 disaster. He did."

The backbiting, corrupt, bloviating, mendacious skin on scum UNocrats (UNocrats - I love that epithet {stolen from the Diplomad}) did just as expected ... took credit for all the hard work of the Aussies and US and others.

The Diplomad in usual high style blows through the smoke and mirrors of the UN.

Go read it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Pakistan gives US 'key militant'

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Pakistan gives US 'key militant'

This guy is pretty important in the terrorism scheme of things, one of Al Qaeda's finest. But wait a minute we know that Bin hidin wouldn't work with an infidel
"The paper said the operation ran into trouble in June 2001, when reports reached al-Qaeda that Mr Ghailani and Mr Mohammed were lavishing money on women, presents and alcohol."

at least not according to the left or the Sept. 10th people.

He is also one of those heavily involved in the conflict blood diamond trade.

Presumed death toll tops 280,000

"Elsewhere, a top World Health Organization (news - web sites) official said a major epidemic in the areas hit by the disaster is 'very, very unlikely' thanks to the work of governments and aid agencies."

I'm sure that tomorrow (later today) the UN will take the credit. But there are those who (Diplomad) know better.

Terrorist-linked Islamic Charities Responsible for Funneling More than $1 Million in Aid to Central Iraq

pdf file

Two Muslim terrorist supporting charities working in Iraq, The Egyptian Human Relief Agency (EHRA) and the Istanbul-based Foundation for Human Rights, Liberties, and Humanitarian Relief (IHH).

IHH was even responsible for a large part of protests in Turkey before the war against the Americian invasion.

Knowingly or unknowingly they have been co-sponsered by at least one U.S. based Islamic charity The Zakat Foundation of America.

Some good reading in the article. You need Adobe Acrobat to read it.

Sulayman Khalid Darwish - Syrian Financier for Zarqawi

Douglas Farah

One of Zarqawi's financiers is Syrian Sulayman Khalid Darwish so designated by the U.S. Treasury Department. Douglas Farah says that Zarqawi may have even given financial aid to Saddam's Ba'athist remnants when Ba'athists money shipments were delayed.


"Darwish was responsible for sending $10,000 to $12,000 to Zarqawi every 20 to 25 days. He also is responsible for recruiting combatants for Iraq, and is an expert in forging documents. Replacing him in the latter operation may be the most difficult and most crucial for the network. While there are numerous replacements for bagmen and recruiters, a good document forger is hard to find."

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Secret Unit Expands Rumsfeld's Domain - (requires reg. - free)

Secret Unit Expands Rumsfeld's Domain ( Requires registration (free).

"The Pentagon, expanding into the CIA's historic bailiwick, has created a new espionage arm and is reinterpreting U.S. law to give Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld broad authority over clandestine operations abroad, according to interviews with participants and documents obtained by The Washington Post."

More leaking of information critical to our national security.
The Pentagon denies there is a unit that is directly reportable to the Secretary of Defense for clandestine operations as is described in the Washington Post article of January 23, 2005, entitled "Secret Unit Expands Rumsfeld's Domain".

I must say I have to parse the statement "as is described..."

I want people punished who put our nation's security at risk, can we get back to that?
The public does not have the right to know everything, when exposing those details also means the enemy knows all our activities as well. Clandestine operations should stay well clandestine.

Second UN official 'linked to Saddam pay-off'

Telegraph | News | Second UN official 'linked to Saddam pay-off'

I wonder how many UN officals will end up implicated in the "blood money for France, Germany, Russia etc. program".

Americans too, Jack Kemp's name keeps coming up. He was early on concerned about the sanctions affects on the Iraqi people. So it is possible that was exploited by Vincent. He championed easing sanctions, he pitched to Jimmy Carter, Dick Chaney and Colin Powell (Chaney and Powell rebuffed the effort).

Saturday, January 22, 2005


New York Post Online Edition:
"Virginia-based oilman Samir Vincent earlier this week became the first person to plead guilty in the U.N. oil-for-food scandal. He had several contacts with the former Democratic president in a bid to weaken and eventually repeal sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime, investigators said."

Friday, January 21, 2005

Never has liberty been so championed

The above title and the following quote come from Alec Rawls over at Error Theory.

I wanted to blog about President Bush's ininaugural speech, but after reading Alec's blogging on the subject, the best thing I can do is insist that you get over to his blog and read it. While your there check out some of his other posts, it is a very good blog.


"If President Bush was an unrealistic utopian, he would have championed, not liberty, but democracy. That is careless standard: just assume that if people have a chance to vote, they will favor liberty. G.W. did mention democracy once, but he insisted on liberty fifteen times. This is the republican ideal, ensconced in our own Constitution. If majority rule overruns liberty, it is just another form of tyranny: tyranny of the majority."

Just in case you don't make it over there right now here's another teaser:

"Both in domestic policy and foreign policy, G.W. is championing liberty over democracy. In what may be the ultimate small "r" republicanism speech, the president is misunderestimated again, by friend and foe alike. That's okay. G.W. likes it that way. His closing line perfectly captures the realism of idealism, and the irrelevance of the naysayers: "Renewed in our strength--tested, but not weary--we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." Our "nuanced" elites can cringe all they want. Oppressed people everywhere will hear the call, and think to dream big. From such dreams do the greatest achievements in the history of freedom spring."

In Iraq for 365: Collection of memories (final Iraq post)

In Iraq for 365: Collection of memories (final Iraq post):
"But probably the most painful of moments were when we lost people. I'll never forget the smiles on my friends' faces, T & Mitts. They were both strong characters who represented the army values. There are thousands just like them, and each soldier killed had a story. We tried to tell that story to the world. Rather than focusing on how they died, we described how the person lived, the difference they made to the world. Nobody ever saw these memorial stories but the families and the few small town newspapers who were interested. We learned our lesson of spamming a memorial story to the larger outlets like AP. The editors deleted the story and used the photo of a crying soldier hugging the memorial display of an M-16 bayoneted into a box with the soldier's helmet on the buttstock and dog tags on the hand grip. The photo cutline read: A soldier mourns the loss of a fellow comrade. Elsewhere in Iraq, 14 killed in a large explosion outside... you get the point. Just a single sentence. No name. No family. Just a sentence and then elsewhere in Iraq. That's hardly justice for a soldier who gave that reporter the freedom of press."

"When the Iraqis die, it's just as hard to swallow as when it's an American soldier. My good friend and interpreter, Samir, was killed on the very day I went home for leave - back in September. He was captured by terrorists when he was on his way to the palace. He managed to escape; had he not, they probably would have beheaded him. As he ran through the market, trying to get away, asking for help, the people said "get away from us; you work for the Americans." His back was sprayed with bullets and he died on the concrete sidewalk. He was there for hours before anybody notified us or moved his body. "Don't touch him, let him rot, he worked for Americans." We had this saying, "we're here for Samir." He was a great guy."

Thank you for your service Sminklemeyer. And thank you for sharing these stories of your brave friends who paid the ultimate price of freedom in Iraq. God bless them and may he comfort their loved ones.

Welcome home soldier!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Saddam - Al-Qaeda Links

The lie that there were no connections to terrorists including Al-Quaeda and other terrorists before the invasion of Iraq does not hold, even though it is still a favorite meme of the left and the anti-war crowd.

We all know that Saddam supported and paid rewards to Palestian suicide murderers. We aren't going to discuss that as it is well documented.

Stephen F. Hayes the foremost investigative reporter staff writer at The Weekly Standard has published many links:

"The Saddam-al Qaeda relationship began in the early 1990s and was brokered by Sudanese strongman Hassan al Turabi. By 1993, Saddam and bin Laden reached an informal non-aggression pact -- you don't mess with me, I won't mess with you. There is some evidence that they cooperated throughout the mid-1990s, perhaps on chemical and biological weapons -- while al Qaeda was based in the Sudan."

The above statement and the next snippet came from a
Frontpage Interview with Jamie Glazov

"We have learned some interesting things since the end of the war, not least of which is the support of the Iraqi regime for Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi native who mixed the chemicals for the 1993 World Trade Center building. Coalition forces found a document in Tikrit several months ago that indicates the former Iraqi regime has provided Yasin housing and a monthly stipend for nearly a decade."

"It doesn't prove Iraqi complicity in the bombing -- we have not yet found any paperwork that suggests the regime was supporting Yasin before the bombing. But it certainly raises interesting questions. The Iraqis have said for years that they either didn't know where Yasin was or, at times, that he had been imprisoned in Iraq. We now know with reasonable certainty that they were lying. In any case, it demonstrates that Iraq was not only harboring, but supporting, a dangerous terrorist who has attacked America."


Case Closed

"OSAMA BIN LADEN and Saddam Hussein had an operational relationship from the early 1990s to 2003 that involved training in explosives and weapons of mass destruction, logistical support for terrorist attacks, al Qaeda training camps and safe haven in Iraq, and Iraqi financial support for al Qaeda--perhaps even for Mohamed Atta--according to a top secret U.S. government memorandum obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD."

"The memo, dated October 27, 2003, was sent from Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith to Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was written in response to a request from the committee as part of its investigation into prewar intelligence claims made by the administration. Intelligence reporting included in the 16-page memo comes from a variety of domestic and foreign agencies, including the FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Much of the evidence is detailed, conclusive, and corroborated by multiple sources. Some of it is new information obtained in custodial interviews with high-level al Qaeda terrorists and Iraqi officials, and some of it is more than a decade old. The picture that emerges is one of a history of collaboration between two of America's most determined and dangerous enemies."

"The relationship began shortly before the first Gulf War. According to reporting in the memo, bin Laden sent "emissaries to Jordan in 1990 to meet with Iraqi government officials." At some unspecified point in 1991, according to a CIA analysis, "Iraq sought Sudan's assistance to establish links to al Qaeda." The outreach went in both directions. According to 1993 CIA reporting cited in the memo, "bin Laden wanted to expand his organization's capabilities through ties with Iraq."

This blows out of the water the notion that Saddam a secularist and bin Laden a fanatical Wahabi islamofacist would never collaborate. They will and they did.

"The primary go-between throughout these early stages was Sudanese strongman Hassan al-Turabi, a leader of the al Qaeda-affiliated National Islamic Front. Numerous sources have confirmed this. One defector reported that "al-Turabi was instrumental in arranging the Iraqi-al Qaeda relationship. The defector said Iraq sought al Qaeda influence through its connections with Afghanistan, to facilitate the transshipment of proscribed weapons and equipment to Iraq. In return, Iraq provided al Qaeda with training and instructors."

One such confirmation came in a postwar interview with one of Saddam Hussein's henchmen. As the memo details:

4. According to a May 2003 debriefing of a senior Iraqi intelligence officer, Iraqi intelligence established a highly secretive relationship with Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and later with al Qaeda. The first meeting in 1992 between the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) and al Qaeda was brokered by al-Turabi. Former IIS deputy director Faruq Hijazi and senior al Qaeda leader [Ayman al] Zawahiri were at the meeting--the first of several between 1992 and 1995 in Sudan. Additional meetings between Iraqi intelligence and al Qaeda were held in Pakistan. Members of al Qaeda would sometimes visit Baghdad where they would meet the Iraqi intelligence chief in a safe house. The report claimed that Saddam insisted the relationship with al Qaeda be kept secret. After 9-11, the source said Saddam made a personnel change in the IIS for fear the relationship would come under scrutiny from foreign probes.

A decisive moment in the budding relationship came in 1993, when bin Laden faced internal resistance to his cooperation with Saddam.

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.

"Another facilitator of the relationship during the mid-1990s was Mahmdouh Mahmud Salim (a.k.a. Abu Hajer al-Iraqi). Abu Hajer, now in a New York prison, was described in court proceedings related to the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as bin Laden's "best friend." According to CIA reporting dating back to the Clinton administration, bin Laden trusted him to serve as a liaison with Saddam's regime and tasked him with procurement of weapons of mass destruction for al Qaeda. FBI reporting in the memo reveals that Abu Hajer "visited Iraq in early 1995" and "had a good relationship with Iraqi intelligence. Sometime before mid-1995 he went on an al Qaeda mission to discuss unspecified cooperation with the Iraqi government."

"Some of the reporting about the relationship throughout the mid-1990s comes from
a source who had intimate knowledge of bin Laden and his dealings. This source, according to CIA analysis, offered "the most credible information" on cooperation between bin Laden and Iraq."

"This source's reports read almost like a diary. Specific dates of when bin Laden flew to various cities are included, as well as names of individuals he met. The source did not offer information on the substantive talks during the meetings. . . . There are not a great many reports in general on the relationship between bin Laden and Iraq because of the secrecy surrounding it. But when this source with close access provided a "window" into bin Laden's activities, bin Laden is seen as heavily involved with Iraq (and Iran).

Reporting from the early 1990s remains somewhat sketchy, though multiple sources place Hassan al-Turabi and Ayman al Zawahiri, bin Laden's current No. 2, at the center of the relationship. The reporting gets much more specific in the mid-1990s:

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.

9 . . . Bin Laden visited Doha, Qatar (17-19 Jan. 1996), staying at the residence of a member of the Qatari ruling family. He discussed the successful movement of explosives into Saudi Arabia, and operations targeted against U.S. and U.K. interests in Dammam, Dharan, and Khobar, using clandestine al Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia. Upon his return, bin Laden met with Hijazi and Turabi, among others.

And later more reporting, from the same "well placed" source:

"10. The Director of Iraqi Intelligence, Mani abd-al-Rashid al-Tikriti, met privately with bin Laden at his farm in Sudan in July 1996. Tikriti used an Iraqi delegation traveling to Khartoum to discuss bilateral cooperation as his "cover" for his own entry into Sudan to meet with bin Laden and Hassan al-Turabi. The Iraqi intelligence chief and two other IIS officers met at bin Laden's farm and discussed bin Laden's request for IIS technical assistance in: a) making letter and parcel bombs; b) making bombs which could be placed on aircraft and detonated by changes in barometric pressure; and c) making false passport [sic]. Bin Laden specifically requested that [Brigadier Salim al-Ahmed], Iraqi intelligence's premier explosives maker--especially skilled in making car bombs--remain with him in Sudan. The Iraqi intelligence chief instructed Salim to remain in Sudan with bin Laden as long as required."

The analysis of those events follows:

"The time of the visit from the IIS director was a few weeks after the Khobar Towers bombing. The bombing came on the third anniversary of a U.S. [Tomahawk missile] strike on IIS HQ (retaliation for the attempted assassination of former President Bush in Kuwait) for which Iraqi officials explicitly threatened retaliation."

IN ADDITION TO THE CONTACTS CLUSTERED in the mid-1990s, intelligence reports detail a flurry of activities in early 1998 and again in December 1998. A "former senior Iraqi intelligence officer" reported that "the Iraqi intelligence service station in Pakistan was Baghdad's point of contact with al Qaeda. He also said bin Laden visited Baghdad in Jan. 1998 and met with Tariq Aziz."

11. According to sensitive reporting, Saddam personally sent Faruq Hijazi, IIS deputy director and later Iraqi ambassador to Turkey, to meet with bin Laden at least twice, first in Sudan and later in Afghanistan in 1999. . . .

14. According to a sensitive reporting [from] a "regular and reliable source," [Ayman al] Zawahiri, a senior al Qaeda operative, visited Baghdad and met with the Iraqi Vice President on 3 February 1998. The goal of the visit was to arrange for coordination between Iraq and bin Laden and establish camps in an-Nasiriyah and Iraqi Kurdistan under the leadership of Abdul Aziz.

"That visit came as the Iraqis intensified their defiance of the U.N. inspection regime, known as UNSCOM, created by the cease-fire agreement following the Gulf War. UNSCOM demanded access to Saddam's presidential palaces that he refused to provide. As the tensions mounted, President Bill Clinton went to the Pentagon on February 18, 1998, and prepared the nation for war. He warned of "an unholy axis of terrorists, drug traffickers, and organized international criminals" and said "there is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein."

"The day after this speech, according to documents unearthed in April 2003 in the Iraqi Intelligence headquarters by journalists Mitch Potter and Inigo Gilmore, Hussein's intelligence service wrote a memo detailing coming meetings with a bin Laden representative traveling to Baghdad. Each reference to bin Laden had been covered by liquid paper that, when revealed, exposed a plan to increase cooperation between Iraq and al Qaeda. According to that memo, the IIS agreed to pay for "all the travel and hotel costs inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden." The document set as the goal for the meeting a discussion of "the future of our relationship with him, bin Laden, and to achieve a direct meeting with him." The al Qaeda representative, the document went on to suggest, might provide "a way to maintain contacts with bin Laden."

"Four days later, on February 23, 1998, bin Laden issued his now-famous fatwa on the plight of Iraq, published in the Arabic-language daily, al Quds al-Arabi: "For over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples." Bin Laden urged his followers to act: "The ruling to kill all Americans and their allies--civilians and military--is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it."

"Although war was temporarily averted by a last-minute deal brokered by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, tensions soon rose again. The standoff with Iraq came to a head in December 1998, when President Clinton launched Operation Desert Fox, a 70-hour bombing campaign that began on December 16 and ended three days later, on December 19, 1998."

"According to press reports at the time, Faruq Hijazi, deputy director of Iraqi Intelligence, met with bin Laden in Afghanistan on December 21, 1998, to offer bin Laden safe haven in Iraq. CIA reporting in the memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee seems to confirm this meeting and relates two others."

15. A foreign government service reported that an Iraqi delegation, including at least two Iraqi intelligence officers formerly assigned to the Iraqi Embassy in Pakistan, met in late 1998 with bin Laden in Afghanistan.

16. According to CIA reporting, bin Laden and Zawahiri met with two Iraqi intelligence officers in Afghanistan in Dec. 1998.

17. . . . Iraq sent an intelligence officer to Afghanistan to seek closer ties to bin Laden and the Taliban in late 1998. The source reported that the Iraqi regime was trying to broaden its cooperation with al Qaeda. Iraq was looking to recruit Muslim "elements" to sabotage U.S. and U.K. interests. After a senior Iraqi intelligence officer met with Taliban leader [Mullah] Omar, arrangements were made for a series of meetings between the Iraqi intelligence officer and bin Laden in Pakistan. The source noted Faruq Hijazi was in Afghanistan in late 1998.

18. . . . Faruq Hijazi went to Afghanistan in 1999 along with several other Iraqi officials to meet with bin Laden. The source claimed that Hijazi would have met bin Laden only at Saddam's explicit direction.

An analysis that follows No. 18 provides additional context and an explanation of these reports:

"Reporting entries #4, #11, #15, #16, #17, and #18, from different sources, corroborate each other and provide confirmation of meetings between al Qaeda operatives and Iraqi intelligence in Afghanistan and Pakistan. None of the reports have information on operational details or the purpose of such meetings. The covert nature of the relationship would indicate strict compartmentation [sic] of operations."

"Information about connections between al Qaeda and Iraq was so widespread by early 1999 that it made its way into the mainstream press. A January 11, 1999, Newsweek story ran under this headline: "Saddam + Bin Laden?" The story cited an "Arab intelligence source" with knowledge of contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. "According to this source, Saddam expected last month's American and British bombing campaign to go on much longer than it did. The dictator believed that as the attacks continued, indignation would grow in the Muslim world, making his terrorism offensive both harder to trace and more effective. With acts of terror contributing to chaos in the region, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait might feel less inclined to support Washington. Saddam's long-term strategy, according to several sources, is to bully or cajole Muslim countries into breaking the embargo against Iraq, without waiting for the United Nations to lift if formally."

"INTELLIGENCE REPORTS about the nature of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda from mid-1999 through 2003 are conflicting. One senior Iraqi intelligence officer in U.S. custody, Khalil Ibrahim Abdallah, "said that the last contact between the IIS and al Qaeda was in July 1999. Bin Laden wanted to meet with Saddam, he said. The guidance sent back from Saddam's office reportedly ordered Iraqi intelligence to refrain from any further contact with bin Laden and al Qaeda. The source opined that Saddam wanted to distance himself from al Qaeda."

"The bulk of reporting on the relationship contradicts this claim. One report states that "in late 1999" al Qaeda set up a training camp in northern Iraq that "was operational as of 1999." Other reports suggest that the Iraqi regime contemplated several offers of safe haven to bin Laden throughout 1999."

23. . . . Iraqi officials were carefully considering offering safe haven to bin Laden and his closest collaborators in Nov. 1999. The source indicated the idea was put forward by the presumed head of Iraqi intelligence in Islamabad (Khalid Janaby) who in turn was in frequent contact and had good relations with bin Laden.

Some of the most intriguing intelligence concerns an Iraqi named Ahmed Hikmat Shakir:

24. According to sensitive reporting, a Malaysia-based Iraqi national (Shakir) facilitated the arrival of one of the Sept 11 hijackers for an operational meeting in Kuala Lumpur (Jan 2000). Sensitive reporting indicates Shakir's travel and contacts link him to a worldwide network of terrorists, including al Qaeda. Shakir worked at the Kuala Lumpur airport--a job he claimed to have obtained through an Iraqi embassy employee.

One of the men at that al Qaeda operational meeting in the Kuala Lumpur Hotel was Tawfiz al Atash, a top bin Laden lieutenant later identified as the mastermind of the October 12, 2000, attack on the USS Cole.

25. Investigation into the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 by al Qaeda revealed no specific Iraqi connections but according to the CIA, "fragmentary evidence points to possible Iraqi involvement."

26. During a custodial interview, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi [a senior al Qaeda operative] said he was told by an al Qaeda associate that he was tasked to travel to Iraq (1998) to establish a relationship with Iraqi intelligence to obtain poisons and gases training. After the USS Cole bombing in 2000, two al Qaeda operatives were sent to Iraq for CBW-related [Chemical and Biological Weapons] training beginning in Dec 2000. Iraqi intelligence was "encouraged" after the embassy and USS Cole bombings to provide this training.

The analysis of this report follows.

"CIA maintains that Ibn al-Shaykh's timeline is consistent with other sensitive reporting indicating that bin Laden asked Iraq in 1998 for advanced weapons, including CBW and "poisons."

Additional reporting also calls into question the claim that relations between Iraq and al Qaeda cooled after mid-1999:

27. According to sensitive CIA reporting, . . . the Saudi National Guard went on a kingdom-wide state of alert in late Dec 2000 after learning Saddam agreed to assist al Qaeda in attacking U.S./U.K. interests in Saudi Arabia.

"And then there is the alleged contact between lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague. The reporting on those links suggests not one meeting, but as many as four. What's more, the memo reveals potential financing of Atta's activities by Iraqi intelligence."

The Czech counterintelligence service reported that the Sept. 11 hijacker [Mohamed] Atta met with the former Iraqi intelligence chief in Prague, [Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir] al Ani, on several occasions. During one of these meetings, al Ani ordered the IIS finance officer to issue Atta funds from IIS financial holdings in the Prague office.

And the commentary:

"CIA can confirm two Atta visits to Prague--in Dec. 1994 and in June 2000; data surrounding the other two--on 26 Oct 1999 and 9 April 2001--is complicated and sometimes contradictory and CIA and FBI cannot confirm Atta met with the IIS. Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross continues to stand by his information."

"It's not just Gross who stands by the information. Five high-ranking members of the Czech government have publicly confirmed meetings between Atta and al Ani. The meeting that has gotten the most press attention--April 9, 2001--is also the most widely disputed. Even some of the most hawkish Bush administration officials are privately skeptical that Atta met al Ani on that occasion. They believe that reports of the alleged meeting, said to have taken place in public, outside the headquarters of the U.S.-financed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, suggest a level of sloppiness that doesn't fit the pattern of previous high-level Iraq-al Qaeda contacts."

"Whether or not that specific meeting occurred, the report by Czech counterintelligence that al Ani ordered the Iraqi Intelligence Service officer to provide IIS funds to Atta might help explain the lead hijacker's determination to reach Prague, despite significant obstacles, in the spring 2000. (Note that the report stops short of confirming that the funds were transferred. It claims only that the IIS officer requested the transfer.) Recall that Atta flew to Prague from Germany on May 30, 2000, but was denied entry because he did not have a valid visa. Rather than simply return to Germany and fly directly to the United States, his ultimate destination, Atta took pains to get to Prague. After he was refused entry the first time, he traveled back to Germany, obtained the proper paperwork, and caught a bus back to Prague. He left for the United States the day after arriving in Prague for the second time."

"Several reports indicate that the relationship between Saddam and bin Laden continued, even after the September 11 attacks:"

31. An Oct. 2002 . . . report said al Qaeda and Iraq reached a secret agreement whereby Iraq would provide safe haven to al Qaeda members and provide them with money and weapons. The agreement reportedly prompted a large number of al Qaeda members to head to Iraq. The report also said that al Qaeda members involved in a fraudulent passport network for al Qaeda had been directed to procure 90 Iraqi and Syrian passports for al Qaeda personnel.

"Colin Powell, in his February 5, 2003, presentation to the U.N. Security Council, revealed the activities of Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Reporting in the memo expands on Powell's case and might help explain some of the resistance the U.S. military is currently facing in Iraq."

37. Sensitive reporting indicates senior terrorist planner and close al Qaeda associate al Zarqawi has had an operational alliance with Iraqi officials. As of Oct. 2002, al Zarqawi maintained contacts with the IIS to procure weapons and explosives, including surface-to-air missiles from an IIS officer in Baghdad. According to sensitive reporting, al Zarqawi was setting up sleeper cells in Baghdad to be activated in case of a U.S. occupation of the city, suggesting his operational cooperation with the Iraqis may have deepened in recent months. Such cooperation could include IIS provision of a secure operating bases [sic] and steady access to arms and explosives in preparation for a possible U.S. invasion. Al Zarqawi's procurements from the Iraqis also could support al Qaeda operations against the U.S. or its allies elsewhere.

38. According to sensitive reporting, a contact with good access who does not have an established reporting record: An Iraqi intelligence service officer said that as of mid-March the IIS was providing weapons to al Qaeda members located in northern Iraq, including rocket propelled grenade (RPG)-18 launchers. According to IIS information, northern Iraq-based al Qaeda members believed that the U.S. intended to strike al Qaeda targets during an anticipated assault against Ansar al-Islam positions.

"The memo further reported pre-war intelligence which "claimed that an Iraqi intelligence official, praising Ansar al-Islam, provided it with $100,000 and agreed to continue to give assistance."

"CRITICS OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION have complained that Iraq-al Qaeda connections are a fantasy, trumped up by the warmongers at the White House to fit their preconceived notions about international terror; that links between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden have been routinely "exaggerated" for political purposes; that hawks "cherry-picked" bits of intelligence and tendentiously presented these to the American public."

"Carl Levin, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, made those points as recently as November 9, in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." Republicans on the committee, he complained, refuse to look at the administration's "exaggeration of intelligence."

"Said Levin: "The question is whether or not they exaggerated intelligence in order to carry out their purpose, which was to make the case for going to war. Did we know, for instance, with certainty that there was any relationship between the Iraqis and the terrorists that were in Afghanistan, bin Laden? The administration said that there's a connection between those terrorist groups in Afghanistan and Iraq. Was there a basis for that?"

"There was, as shown in the memo to the committee on which Levin serves. And much of the reporting comes from Clinton-era intelligence. Not that you would know this from Al Gore's recent public statements. Indeed, the former vice president claims to be privy to new "evidence" that the administration lied. In an August speech at New York University, Gore claimed: "The evidence now shows clearly that Saddam did not want to work with Osama bin Laden at all, much less give him weapons of mass destruction." Really?"

"One of the most interesting things to note about the 16-page memo is that it covers only a fraction of the evidence that will eventually be available to document the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. For one thing, both Saddam and bin Laden were desperate to keep their cooperation secret. (Remember, Iraqi intelligence used liquid paper on an internal intelligence document to conceal bin Laden's name.) For another, few people in the U.S. government are expressly looking for such links."

"Instead, CIA and FBI officials are methodically reviewing Iraqi intelligence files that survived the three-week war last spring. These documents would cover several miles if laid end-to-end. And they are in Arabic. They include not only connections between bin Laden and Saddam, but also revolting details of the regime's long history of brutality. It will be a slow process."

"So Feith's memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee is best viewed as sort of a "Cliff's Notes" version of the relationship. It contains the highlights, but it is far from exhaustive."

"One example. The memo contains only one paragraph on Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, the Iraqi facilitator who escorted two September 11 hijackers through customs in Kuala Lumpur. U.S. intelligence agencies have extensive reporting on his activities before and after the September 11 hijacking. That they would include only this brief overview suggests the 16-page memo, extensive as it is, just skims the surface of the reporting on Iraq-al Qaeda connections."

"Other intelligence reports indicate that Shakir whisked not one but two September 11 hijackers--Khalid al Midhar and Nawaq al Hamzi--through the passport and customs process upon their arrival in Kuala Lumpur on January 5, 2000. Shakir then traveled with the hijackers to the Kuala Lumpur Hotel where they met with Ramzi bin al Shibh, one of the masterminds of the September 11 plot. The meeting lasted three days. Shakir returned to work on January 9 and January 10, and never again."

"Shakir got his airport job through a contact at the Iraqi Embassy. (Iraq routinely used its embassies as staging grounds for its intelligence operations; in some cases, more than half of the alleged "diplomats" were intelligence operatives.) The Iraqi embassy, not his employer, controlled Shakir's schedule. He was detained in Qatar on September 17, 2001. Authorities found in his possession contact information for terrorists involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 embassy bombings, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and the September 11 hijackings. The CIA had previous reporting that Shakir had received a phone call from the safe house where the 1993 World Trade Center attacks had been plotted."

"The Qataris released Shakir shortly after his arrest. On October 21, 2001, he flew to Amman, Jordan, where he was to change planes to a flight to Baghdad. He didn't make that flight. Shakir was detained in Jordan for three months, where the CIA interrogated him. His interrogators concluded that Shakir had received extensive training in counter-interrogation techniques. Not long after he was detained, according to an official familiar with the intelligence, the Iraqi regime began to "pressure" Jordanian intelligence to release him. At the same time, Amnesty International complained that Shakir was being held without charge. The Jordanians released him on January 28, 2002, at which point he is believed to have fled back to Iraq."

"Was Shakir an Iraqi agent? Does he provide a connection between Saddam Hussein and September 11? We don't know. We may someday find out."

"But there can no longer be any serious argument about whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq worked with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda to plot against Americans."

Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.


More here:

"The presence of several hundred al-Qaida operatives fighting with the small Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam in the northeastern corner of Iraqi Kurdistan--where the IIS operates--is well documented. Iraq has an agent in the most senior levels of Ansar al-Islam as well. In addition, small numbers of highly placed al-Qaida militants were present in Baghdad and areas of Iraq that Saddam controls. It is inconceivable these groups were in Iraq without the knowledge and acquiescence of Saddam's regime. In the past year, al-Qaida operatives in northern Iraq concocted suspect chemicals under the direction of senior al-Qaida associate Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi and tried to smuggle them into Russia, Western Europe, and the United States for terrorist operations."

"According to Jordanian officials and court testimony by jailed followers in Germany, Zarqawi met in Kandahar and Kabul with bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders. He asked them for assistance and money to set up his own training camp in Herat, near the Iranian border. With al Qaeda's support, the camp opened and soon served as a magnet for Jordanian militants."

"But Zarqawi did more than train fighters. According to a Jordanian indictment, Zarqawi planned a series of attacks in Jordan to mark the millennium. His chief co-conspirator in that plot was Abu Zubaydah, frequently described as Osama bin Laden's "operations chief." The Senate Intelligence Committee report says that Zubaydah was the "senior al Qaeda coordinator responsible for training and recruiting." Zubaydah, who is in U.S. custody, is often cited by skeptics of the Iraq-al Qaeda connection because he told interrogators that he thought it "unlikely" that bin Laden would establish a formal alliance with Iraq for fear of losing his independence. But the skeptics often ignore other aspects of Zubaydah's debriefing. Again, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee report, Zubaydah "indicated that he had heard that an important al Qaeda associate, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, and others had good relationships with Iraqi Intelligence."

and here:
"The report provides details of several of the "friendly contacts," including meetings throughout the mid-1990s which suggest the outreach between Iraq and al Qaeda went both ways. In March 1998, "two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence." The public learns for the first time of a trip taken by Iraqi officials to Afghanistan in July 1998 in which they met first with representatives from the Taliban and later with bin Laden. According to the report, "sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through bin Laden's Egyptian deputy, [Ayman al] Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis." (THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported in November 2003 that Zawahiri met with Saddam Hussein in 1992. And, according to an interrogation of a senior Iraqi Intelligence official, Zawahiri received $300,000 from the Iraqi regime in 1998.)"

and here:
"Bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee Report (p. 331):
"Twelve reports received [redacted] from sources that the CIA described as having varying reliability, cited Iraq or Iraqi national involvement in al Qaeda's [chemical, biological, nuclear] CBW efforts."

"The 9/11 Commission Report (p. 66):
"In March 1998, after bin Laden's public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraq Intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with bin Laden."

more here:
from the 9/11 Commission Report.
"The report contains 66 pages on "Iraq's Links to Terrorism." The CIA's counterterrorism center undertook an aggressive study of the Iraq-al Qaeda connection because "any indication of a relationship between these two hostile elements could carry great dangers to the United States." Note that phrase: Any indication of a relationship. The Senate report also quoted a CIA analysis called "Iraqi Support for Terrorism."
"Iraq continues to be a safehaven, transit point, or operational node for groups and individuals who direct violence against the United States, Israel and allies. Iraq has a long history of supporting terrorism. During the last four decades, it has altered its targets to reflect changing priorities and goals. It continues to harbor and sustain a number of smaller anti-Israel terrorist groups and to actively encourage violence against Israel. Regarding the Iraq-al Qaeda relationship, reporting from sources of varying reliability points to a number of contacts, incidents of training, and discussions of Iraqi safehaven for Usama bin Laden and his
organization dating from the early 1990s."

From 1996 to 2003, the IIS [Iraqi Intelligence Service] focused its terrorist activities on western interest, particularly against the U.S. and Israel. The CIA summarized nearly 50 intelligence reports as examples, using language directly from the intelligence reports. Ten intelligence reports [redacted] from multiple sources indicate IIS "casing" operations against Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in Prague began in 1998 and continued into early 2003. The CIA assessed, based on the Prague casings and a variety of other reporting that throughout 2002, the IIS was becoming increasingly aggressive in planning terrorist attacks against U.S. interests."

"William Cohen, Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration, testified about the Iraq-al Qaeda connection in front of the September 11 Commission on March 23, 2004. Executives from a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant that the U.S. bombed in response to al Qaeda attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa "traveled to Baghdad to meet with the father of the VX program."

The list goes on.