Thursday, July 15, 2004


Here's the headline of a story by Bill Gertz in today's Washington Times:

British report links al Qaeda, Baghdad

Here's the sum total of links between al-Qaeda and Saddam's regime discussed in paragraphs 1 through 15 of the story:

Yup, nothing. The booga-booga headline apparently refers to this damp squib of a conclusion (paragraphs 16-19):

British intelligence assessments of connections between al Qaeda and Saddam's government were similar to U.S. intelligence assessments, the report said, adding that there were "contacts between al Qaeda and the Iraqi Directorate General of Intelligence since 1998."

"Those reports described al Qaeda seeking toxic chemicals as well as other conventional terrorist equipment," the report said. "Some accounts suggested that Iraqi chemical experts may have been in Afghanistan during 2000."

The British concluded that the contacts did not lead to "practical cooperation" because of mutual distrust.

"Intelligence nonetheless indicates that ... meetings have taken place between senior Iraqi representatives and senior al Qaeda operatives," the report said. "Some reports also suggest that Iraq may have trained some al Qaeda terrorists since 1998. Al Qaeda has shown interest in gaining chemical and biological expertise from Iraq, but we do not know whether any such training was provided."

The story does say this about Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who may or may not be curreently affiliated with al-Qaeda:

A March 2003 British intelligence report stated that Zarqawi "has established sleeper cells in Baghdad, to be activated during a U.S. occupation of the city."

"These cells apparently intend to attack U.S. targets using car bombs and other weapons," the report said, noting that "it is also possible that they have received [chemical-biological] materials from terrorists in the [Kurdish Autonomous Zone]."

The report also said that "al Qaeda-associated terrorists continued to arrive in Baghdad in early March."

I guess this demonstrates a connection between 9/11 and Saddam, according to right-wing logic: We can surmise that Zarqawi was working with Saddam's regime because he was making plans for what happened after Saddam's ouster. We can surmise that Zarqawi and Saddam were jointly planning intercontinental attacks on U.S. civilians because Zarqawi wanted to get really, really close to U.S. troops so he could attack them.

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