Bin Ladin & Iraq in the 9/11 Report
|Any time I hear a war critic referencing the 9/11 Commission's report as evidence decisively debunking the claims of the Bush administration I know one thing immediately--they've never actually READ the Report, they've only heard about the parts that got the biggest cheers on the Daily Kos. A couple of excerpts y'all might have missed are below. Basics: there was one hell of a lot of substantiated contact between Bin Ladin and Iraq. As is always the case with intel, for every one sliver of information that is gathered and assimilated there are a thousand that remain, as they are designed to remain, undiscovered. What we have below is easily enough slivers to establish that there were fairly regular efforts at collaboration between Bin Ladin and Baghdad. Which--in case it has to be pointed out--explodes one of the articles of faith among Bush-haters, Habermasians, and most members of the Democratic Party.|
From Page 61:
Bin Ladin was also willing to explore possibilities for cooperation with Iraq, even though Iraq's dictator, Saddam Hussein, had never had an Islamist agenda — save for his opportunistic pose as a defender of the faithful against 'Crusaders' during the Gulf War of 1991...With the Sudanese regime acting as intermediary, Bin Ladin himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995. Bin Ladin is said to have asked for space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but there is no evidence that Iraq responded to his request. ... [T]he ensuing years saw additional efforts to establish common connections.
Page 66 (more striking):
In March 1998, after Bin Ladin's public fatwa against the United States, two al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation traveled to Afghanistan to meet first with the Taliban and then with Bin Ladin. Sources reported that one, or perhaps both, of these meetings was apparently arranged through Bin Ladin's Egyptian deputy, Zawahiri, who had ties of his own to the Iraqis. In 1998, Iraq was under intensifying U.S. pressure, which culminated in a series of large are attacks in December.
Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Ladin or his aides may have occured in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban. According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Ladin declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides' hatred of the United States. ...