Skip to comments.Newly Declassified Iraqi Testimony Shows Why Saddam Had to Be Removed (There you go, Bush was right)
Posted on 10/11/2010 7:37:22 AM PDT by Kaslin
Recently declassified documents focusing on the testimony of Tariq Aziz, Saddam Husseins deputy prime minister, reminds us why Saddam had to be removed from power.
September 11, 2001, taught us that it is too costly to allow a leader with a history of aggression and stated intent to harm the U.S. to maintain links to terrorist groups and acquire weapons capabilities to act upon that sentiment. Newly declassified documents about the testimony of Tariq Aziz, Saddam Husseins deputy prime minister, reminds us why Saddam had to be removed from power.
Contradicting Saddam Husseins testimony where he claimed he actually wanted an alliance with the U.S. against Iran, Tariq Aziz describes Saddam as an anti-American who was delighted when al-Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. The documents do not mention Saddams private reaction to 9/11, but we know that his public reaction was to be possibly the only leader to refuse to condemn the attacks, as well as the only leader to openly praise them. His sons and the state-controlled press did the same. This is a critical fact that is often forgotten: Saddams regime was the only one to publicly hail the 9/11 hijackers and not hide its desire to see such attacks happen again.
Aziz confirms that Saddams regime supported terrorists like Abu Abbas, the notorious mastermind of the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro, providing him with a farm for fundraising for Palestinian terrorists and for use as a training center. They even gave him the AK-47s he needed. We also know that Abu Ibrahim, called the most dangerous bomb maker in the world bar none during my time as a CIA officer by former CIA case officer Robert Baer, operated a network from his home in Baghdad. The Duelfer Report confirmed that Iraqi intelligence trained terrorists from around the Arab world, including at the Salman Pak facility known to house a Boeing airliner that defectors said was used to simulate hijackings. We dont know if these terrorists were al-Qaeda members or not, but that doesnt change the fact that Saddam not only praised 9/11 but trained jihadists in the tactics necessary to repeat it.
Aziz says that he only heard Saddam speak negatively about Osama Bin Laden as he did not trust Islamists and viewed them as opportunists and hypocrites, and therefore did not want to work with them. At the same time, though, Saddam viewed al-Qaeda as effective and respected their capabilities. And for a man as unprincipled as Saddam, thats all thats necessary to do business together. He did, after all, support Hamas, an Islamist group close to his Iranian enemies.
The Iraqi Perspectives Project, which reviewed over 600,000 Iraqi documents, did not find any evidence of operational collaboration between Iraq and al-Qaeda, but it did show that Saddam actively helped those seeking to carry out those attacks he was so delighted over. The study concluded that the regime was willing to co-opt or support organization it knew to be a part of al-Qaeda as long as that organizations near-term goals supported Saddams long-term vision. The Project found that Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with al-Qaeda or that generally shared al-Qaedas stated goals and objectives.
What this means is that the debate over whether Iraq supported al-Qaeda or not before the invasion is flawed because of a misunderstanding of what al-Qaeda actually is. A direct link between Saddam and Bin Laden or his inner circle cannot be proven. However, a link to the regional groups that shared Bin Ladens ideology and operated as affiliates of al-Qaeda can be established. Those that say no link has been proven either are unaware of these findings or define al-Qaeda so narrowly that it downplays the breath of the organizations reach.
Critics of the removal of Saddam Hussein will focus on the testimony of Ahmed Samir al-Ani, the consul at the Iraqi embassy in Prague once alleged to have met Mohammed Atta, the ringerleader of the 9/11 hijackers, whose testimony was declassified along with Tariq Azizs. The Czechs were initially confident in their reporting and stood by it under heavy pressure, but then some Czech officials expressed doubt and so it is unclear where they officially stand on the issue. The 9/11 Commission expressed doubt about the intelligence but could not rule it out either.
Intelligence expert and investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein notes that Attas visa application stated he was a Hamburg student and that al-Anis seized calendar listed a meeting with a Hamburg student in April 2001 — the same month the Czechs reporting alleged he met with Atta. In another interesting coincidence, two suspected Iraqi spies were arrested in Germany in February 2001. The Arab press reported that they were arrested after Iraqi intelligence had drawn up a plan to strike at U.S. interests around the world through a network of alliances with extremist fundamentalist parties. The German authorities were reportedly investigating groups connected to al-Qaeda when they discovered the two Iraqi spies.
Al-Ani denies that the meeting happened, saying it was ludicrous to believe Iraq would have anything to do with al-Qaeda or specifically Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Whatever the truth is regarding his alleged meeting with Atta, al-Anis testimony simply isnt credible, as he makes the laughable assertion that he had never even heard of Osama Bin Laden before 9/11. Iraq had previously been accused of supporting Bin Laden by the Clinton administration, something that Al-Ani, as an Iraqi government official, surely would have known about. Best-selling books had been written on Bin Laden and he had carried out high-profile attacks.
Thanks to Tariq Azizs testimony, we know that Saddams attitude towards terrorism against the U.S. was the same in private as it was in public. He may not have been willing to directly engineer a plot like 9/11, but he certainly was willing to help terrorists do it for themselves. And as Ive previously written, it is now known that Saddams regime also had been working on plans to actualize three of the most horrifying scenarios that the West fears the most: the smuggling of chemical and biological weapons into the West, a dramatic attack against Israel that could spark a regional war, and the destabilization of the Saudi royal family, with one 2002 document indicating Saddam actually suggested working with Ayman al-Zawahiri towards this end.
The methods can be debated, but Saddams regime fit every criteria of a regime that had to go.
but Howard Dean said that Saddam was a nice guy
had no interest in partnering with Osama bin Laden, declassified documents show.
"Saddam did not trust Islamists," Aziz said, according to handwritten notes of a June 27, 2004 interrogation, although he viewed al-Qaida as an "effective" organization
Every time I confront liberals with that they go ape-yogurt.
Only you could read the clear results of such testimony and arrive at that goofy conclusion, not to mention the DOZENS of other terrorist groups inside Iraq.
Not much new here. Saddam was NOT being contained. He’d corrputed the Oil for Food program and provided active support for terrorism of many flavors thoughout the world. Just because he was not a card-carrying member of AQ does not diminish the power of the the WMD (aka the oil wealth) he possessed.
I should also mention that the US reportedly supplied Iraq with the anthrax in the first place - make of that what you will.
interesting, got links about OK bombing?
Saddam didn't trust anybody, but he was willing to help Al Qaeda when their aims overlapped his. That's good enough to make him an enemy, in my book.
Give me examples of those dozens....and if you want to cite the discredited Salmon Pak thesis, please provide some evidence. Oh....while you are at it, tell me WHY the pro-Iran regime in Iraq which has cleansed half the Christian population from the country and established the secular law of Saddam with Sharia law (courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer) is “better” than than Saddam.
This article presents great arguments why it was a good move for Bush to invade.....
President Bush’s strategy in Iraq and the middle east in general was spectacularly brilliant. And, it has worked quite successfully. Those who are too ignorant of military strategy are free to comment, but really do not add anything to the discussion.
Neither are better. And you well know who all the terrorist groups are, and we’ve been through this before and your answers were lame then.
Not according to the first link cited in this article which says he "had no interest in partnering with Osama bin Laden
Let's assume you are right, however, and (a la Stalin, Roosevelt and Hiter) they sometimes had common interests which "overlapped." Please compare that to the "overlapping" interests of the explicitly pro-Iran regime in Iraq which, courtesy of U.S. tax aid, cleansed half the ancient Christian population and established Sharia law in that country. Do those facts also make that regime an "enemy" according to your standard?
The OBL-funded Ansar al-Islam camps in northeast Iraq were well-documented to have provided safe-haven for al Qaeda fleeing Afghanistan. Sadaam apparently had no problem with it since it provided good leverage against the Kurds.
If that is the case, do we agree on the need to end tax support for the pro-Iran, Sharia-imposing Iraq regime? Specific answers please.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.