Wednesday, July 13, 2005

More on Iraq and al Qaeda

In my inaugural post on June 30, I listed pieces of information that create a mosaic that connects the war in Iraq with 9/11. After all, all terrorists and terrorist activity is connected in some way with all states that sponsor terrorism. In today's opinion Journal, Claudia Rosett continues the argument.

...there's another speech Mr. Bush still needs to give. That would be the one in which he says: I told you so--there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.

In some quarters, that would of course provoke the usual outrage. Since the U.S.-led coalition went outside the corrupt United Nations to topple the Baathist regime in Baghdad more than two years ago, it has become an article of faith that there was no such connection...

...Actually, there were many connections, as Stephen Hayes, writing in the current issue of the Weekly Standard, spells out under the headline "The Mother of All Connections." Since the fall of Saddam, the U.S. has had extraordinary access to documents of the former Baathist regime, and is still sifting through millions of them. Mr. Hayes takes some of what is already available, combined with other reports, documentation and details, some from before the overthrow of Saddam, some after. For page after page, he lists connections--with names, dates and details such as the longstanding relationship between Osama bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Saddam's regime.

Mr. Hayes raises, with good reason, the question of why Saddam gave haven to Abdul Rahman Yasin, one of the men who in 1993 helped make the bomb that ripped through the parking garage of the World Trade Center. He details a contact between Iraqi intelligence and several of the Sept. 11 hijackers in Malaysia, the year before al Qaeda destroyed the twin towers. He recounts the intersection of Iraqi and al Qaeda business interests in Sudan, via, among other things, an Oil for Food contract negotiated by Saddam's regime with the al-Shifa facility that President Clinton targeted for a missile attack following the African embassy bombings because of its apparent connection to al Qaeda. And there is plenty more.

The difficulty lies in piecing together the picture, which is indeed murky (that being part of the aim in covert dealings between tyrants and terrorist groups)--but rich enough in depth and documented detail so that the basic shape is clear (Ed. Note: Hmmm, it sounds like a mosaic to me). By the time Mr. Hayes is done tabulating the cross-connections, meetings, Iraqi Intelligence memos unearthed after the fall of Saddam, and information obtained from detained terrorist suspects, you have to believe there was significant collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda. Or you have to inhabit a universe in which there will never be a demonstrable connection between any of the terrorist attacks the world has suffered over the past dozen years, or any tyrant and any aspiring terrorist. In that fantasyland, all such phenomena are independent events.

Mr. Bush, in calling attention to the Iraq-al Qaeda connection in the first place, did the right thing. For the U.S. president to confirm that clearly and directly at this stage, with some of the abundant supporting evidence now available, might seem highly controversial. But reviving that controversy would help settle it more squarely in line with the truth.


Post a Comment

<< Home