Skip to comments.Iraq and Al Qaeda - The Algerian Connection
Posted on 08/03/2005 5:37:54 PM PDT by Big Jake
The Algerian Connection Why did Saddam financially support an al Qaeda affiliate in Algeria? by Thomas Joscelyn 08/03/2005 12:00:00 AM
LATE LAST MONTH an Algerian-born terrorist named Ahmed Ressam received a commuted sentence of 22 years (prosecutors had recommended 35 years) in prison for his role in planning to blow up the Los Angeles airport. His sentence infuriated many since his involvement in the plot against LAX was immediately transparent. After all, he was captured in December 1999 after driving off a ferry from British Columbia in a vehicle laden with bomb-making explosives.
Ressam received a commuted sentence after providing investigators with good intelligence about the al Qaeda network which spawned the plot. (Ressam has since stopped cooperating.) Indeed, Ressam's failed attempt against LAX was part of a series of al Qaeda-related attacks against targets around the world (in Jordan, Australia, and elsewhere) at the turn of the new millennium. There is still much about these planned attacks we do not know.
Ressam's story, like that of so many other al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, contains an endless list of murky connections to a host of nefarious people and groups. The most troubling of these ties is to al Qaeda's Algerian affiliates, the Armed Islamic Group (aka the "GIA") and its descendant, the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat (the "GSPC"). The history of the GIA is an especially violent one and Ressam is just one of many terrorists to have operated under its auspices. Indeed, the Algerian tentacle of the vast terror network executed scores of lethal attacks spanning more than a decade.
IT IS A CURIOUS FACT, then, that Saddam Hussein provided financial assistance to the GIA when it was in its earliest stages of germination.
(Excerpt) Read more at weeklystandard.com ...
THIS IS HUGE!
In a USA Today article from December 2001, Stanley Bedlington, a senior analyst in the CIA's counterterrorism center until he retired in 1994, explained, "We were convinced that money from Iraq was going to bin Laden, who was then sending it to places that Iraq wanted it to go." He added, "There certainly is no doubt that Saddam Hussein had pretty strong ties to bin Laden while he was in Sudan, whether it was directly or through (Sudanese) intermediaries. We traced considerable sums of money going from bin Laden to the GIA in Algeria. We believed some of the money came from Iraq." [emphasis added]
Later, in an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD's Stephen Hayes, Bedlington elaborated on the relationship. "Osama bin Laden had established contact with the GIA," Bedlington explained, "Saddam was using bin Laden to ship funds to his own contacts through the GIA."
Members of the GSPC have been connected to terrorist plots and attacks in Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere, several of which are particularly noteworthy.
The aforementioned plot on LAX at the turn of the new millennium is thought to have been spawned within the GSPC's Canadian presence, which it inherited from the GIA. According to Lorenzo Vidino, "A GSPC cell in Europe is believed to have planned to kill President Bush at the G8 meeting in Genoa in the summer of 2001." According to Schanzer, two members of the GSPC provided passports to the assassins of bin Laden's main nemesis within Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Massoud, just two days prior to September 11, 2001. "Massoud's assassination," Schanzer notes, "was likely designed to weaken the Northern Alliance with the full expectation that the U.S. would require its help in the post-September 11 invasion of Afghanistan."
The GSPC has also been an especially vocal supporter of the terrorist assault, led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, in Iraq. It was no surprise, therefore, when Zarqawi's al Qaeda branch claimed responsibility for taking two Algerian diplomats hostage in Iraq late last month. Zarqawi's group explained, according to a translation provided by globalterroralert.com, that the diplomats were taken hostage as direct retribution against the Algerian government for supporting the "Jews, Christians, and every country that wounds the people" of Zarqawi's group. The GSPC lauded the kidnapping and accused the Algerian government of "aiding the apostate Iraqi government and the crusader alliance their battle against the mujahideen."
Thx for the ping BJ...good article!
Thanks for the ping, Big Jake.
Thank you so much for remembering my interest in this matter, piasa. I've freepmailed the article to myself and will add to the larger list tomorrow morning since Mr. Peach needs the computer right now :-)
Some leftwing kook (some British Arab author) has Algeria deeply in the terror mix, something about a thwarted attack on France that the French covered up, anyone have any info?
And before anyone gets after me for listening to left wing kooks I'll say this, sometimes they know a fact or two, it's just their conclusions are always wrong.
Thanks for the ping!
According to Lorenzo Vidino, "A GSPC cell in Europe is believed to have planned to kill President Bush at the G8 meeting in Genoa in the summer of 2001."
IIRC, this was timed to coincide with G8 protests by Italian leftists from the same groups that organized the anti-WTO riots in Seattle in 1999, linked to the Campo Antiimperialista that are currently supporting anti-US terrorism in Iraq.
I knew a fellow who lived and retired in Nacogdoches, Texas who worked for military intelligence in Algiers (Algeria) during WWII. He could tell you a LOT about the place. If he's still alive, give 'ol Ken Kennamer a call and see what he has to say.
Oh, if I remember correctly, he is one of the biggest liberal Democrats I have ever known. So, take what he says with a grain of salt.
Thanks piasa for the updates/info here.
Nothing new here. France fought a bloody war against islamic terrorist in Algeria before their independance.
Go rent the Battle of Algiers...nice movie..or read the Battle of Kabash..great book on the French torturing the people to get information..
Does the GIA target Americans?
The GIA has not targeted Americans in Algeria. But some Algerian terrorists who have tried to attack the United States may be linked to the GIA. In December 1999, Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian living in Montreal, was arrested at the U.S.-Canadian border with a carload of explosives; he was later convicted of plotting a millennium-eve attack on Los Angeles International Airport. Ressam has since led authorities to alleged co-conspirators in Canada and the United States.
read more at:
Thanks for the ping!
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