Many of those who argue that the U.S. did not need to take military action against Saddam Hussein claim that he posed no threat because he was “in his box.” But the idea that an anti-American psychopath like Saddam would be content to reside in a box created by the U.S. is highly implausible and contrary to the evidence. Many of the things that Saddam did in the late 1990s and early 2000s (sending folks to Niger to talk about obtaining yellow-cake, establising contacts with al-Qaeda, subsidizing Palestinian terrorsts) can be viewed as an attempt to operate outside the box.
Now Fox News reports that “an Arab regime, possibly Iraq, supplied how-to manuals for Arab operatives working throughout Afghanistan before 9/11, and provided military assistance to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.” Fox News bases this conclusion on “an apparent training manual unearthed in captured Iraqi government computer files.”
According to Fox, the manual, written prior to 9/11,
warns, in stark how-to terms, of the dangers of “information leaks,” and instructs Arab operatives inside Afghanistan to dress like Afghan tribesmen, to avoid being followed (“Routine is the enemy of security”), to always be armed, and “to behave as if enemies would strike at any moment.”
The manual also cautions Arabs to “beware of rapid and spontaneous friendships with Afghans who speak Arabic,” and “always make sure about the identity of your neighbors and classify them as regular people, opponents or allies.”
This story follows a Fox report last week about a 1999 notebook kept by an Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) operative. That notebook detailed how Saddam’s agents aggressively pursued and entered into a diplomatic, intelligence, and security arrangement with the Taliban and Islamist extremists operating in Afghanistan — years before the 9/11 attacks.
Hat tip: Brian Gaffney.