Wait a sec, bin Laden hates Saddam Hussein
Steven Zunes
September 2002

In the months following the September 11 terrorist attacks, there were leaks to the media about alleged evidence of a meeting in Prague between an Iraqi intelligence officer and one of the hijackers of the doomed airplanes that crashed into the World Trade Center. Subsequent thorough investigations by the FBI, CIA, and Czech intelligence have found no evidence that any such meeting took place. None of the hijackers were Iraqi, no major figure in Al Qaeda is Iraqi, and no funds to Al Qaeda have been traced to Iraq.

It is unlikely that the decidedly secular Baathist regime--which has savagely suppressed Islamists within Iraq--would be able to maintain close links with Osama bin Laden and his followers. In fact, Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal, his country's former intelligence chief, noted that bin Laden views Saddam Hussein "as an apostate, an infidel, or someone who is not worthy of being a fellow Muslim" and that bin Laden had offered in 1990 to raise an army of thousands of mujaheddin fighters to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.

Iraq's past terrorist links have primarily been limited to such secular groups as Abu Nidal, a now-largely defunct Palestinian faction opposed to Yasir Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization. At the height of Iraq's support of Abu Nidal in the early 1980s, Washington dropped Iraq from its list of countries that sponsored terrorism so the U.S. could bolster Iraq's war effort against Iran. Baghdad was reinstated to the list only after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, even though U.S. officials were unable to cite any increased Iraqi ties to terrorist groups...

Although Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld insists that Iraq is backing international terrorism, he has been unable to present any evidence that they currently do so. In fact, the State Department's own annual study Patterns of Global Terrorism did not list any serious act of international terrorism by the government of Iraq.

Excerpted from "Seven Fallacies of U.S. Plans to Invade Iraq," August 2002 Foreign Policy in Focus policy report. Available at the Common Dreams website.

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