Thomas Joscelyn continues his outstanding reporting on the connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. In this installment we learn, among other things, that following President Clinton’s four-day bombing campaign in Iraq during 1998, Saddam dispatched a trusted operative to Afghanistan where he met with bin Laden and his cohorts. A few days later, bin Laden denounced the attack and called on all Muslims to strike U.S. and British targets, including civilians, around the world. The European media then began reporting details of a relationship (which some described as a “pact”) between Saddam and al Qaeda. Corriere Della Sera (Italian) reported that Saddam had offered safehaven to bin Laden. A Paris-based pan-Arab magazine provided details concerning joint Iraqi-al Qaeda cooperation on chemical and biological weapons in Sudan. Several Arab news outlets stated that Iraqi military intelligence officials were in Afghanistan meeting with Taliban elements on the subject of exacting revenge on the U.S. and Britain. They also reported that Arab Afghans were receiving training in southern Iraq.
Newsweek and ABC also reported on this apparent terrorist alliance. And the New York Post stated that Saddam was courting both bin Laden and Abu Nidal (now living in Iraq) as part of a plan “to resort to terrorism in revenge for airstrikes his country.” Even the leftist Guardian ran articles on the axis of Saddam and bin Laden.
The Clinton administration was also concerned about such an axis. Richard Clarke advised Sandy Berger that if bin Laden learned about U.S. operations against him, he “will likely boogie to Baghdad.” Previously, Clarke had speculated that the Iraqi presence at chemical facilities in Khartoum was “probably a direct result of the Iraq-al Qaeda agreement.” Joscelyn notes that reports of a relationship between Saddam and bin Laden continued until the eve of the war in Iraq.
The adminstration’s critics and the MSM would like Americans to believe that the assessments of numerous reporters, analysts, and even Clinton administration officials on this subject were unfounded. But do they want this because they have a sound basis for discounting these assessment or because they bitterly oppose President Bush. As Joscelyn says, “it is left for the reader to decide.”
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