Pentagon Report Debunks Claims of a Connection Between Saddam and al Qaeda

Supporters of the Iraq war have justified the war because of disputed claims such as that we were threatened by WMD from Iraq or that there was  a connection between Saddam and al Qaeda. Of course such claims are not limited to the right. Even Hillary Clinton has used the 9/11 attack to rationalize her support for the Iraq war. While the claims of a connection between Saddam and al Qaeda have never shown any validity, McClatchy reports that a Pentagon sponsored review also shows the lack of such a connection:

In exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist network.

The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam’s regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.

The new study of the Iraqi regime’s archives found no documents indicating a “direct operational link” between Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report.

He and others spoke to McClatchy on condition of anonymity because the study isn’t due to be shared with Congress and released before Wednesday.

President Bush and his aides used Saddam’s alleged relationship with al Qaida, along with Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction, as arguments for invading Iraq after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld claimed in September 2002 that the United States had “bulletproof” evidence of cooperation between the radical Islamist terror group and Saddam’s secular dictatorship.

One reason these claims of a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam were never taken very seriously beyond the right wing (and Hillary Clinton) is that overthrowing secular regimes such as in Iraq has been a major goal of al Qaeda. The report also notes this point:

Saddam, whose regime was relentlessly secular, was wary of Islamic extremist groups such as al Qaida, although like many other Arab leaders, he gave some financial support to Palestinian groups that sponsored terrorism against Israel…

The new Pentagon study isn’t the first to refute earlier administration contentions about Saddam and al Qaida.

A September 2006 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that Saddam was “distrustful of al Qaida and viewed Islamic extremists as a threat to his regime, refusing all requests from al Qaida to provide material or operational support.”

The Senate report, citing an FBI debriefing of a senior Iraqi spy, Faruq Hijazi, said that Saddam turned down a request for assistance by bin Laden which he made at a 1995 meeting in Sudan with an Iraqi operative.

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  1. 1
    absent observer says:

    In other news, the NIH reports Pasteur may have been on to something…

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    And Francisco Franco is still dead.

  3. 3
    Justin says:

    There was no connection. I can’t believe people write this.

  4. 4
    Christopher Skyi says:

    It’s on this issue I wish we could prosecute the whole disastrous cabal of neocons, starting with Bush.  Touture is bad enough, but that pales in comparison to starting a WAR.

  5. 5
    nomoreGOP says:

    We, as the people of this country, need to demand that more investigations commence with the goal of PROSECUTION! If every single one of the “Bush Regime” gets to just walk away from this mess with zero retribution, then whats to say it won’t keep happening over and over.. I wanna become president, trick the country into a war, then give my friends no-bid contracts and approve legislation that is worth billions to industries I have had ties to my whole life..

    This is just getting ridiculous..

  6. 6
    Fritz says:

    Strikingly similar to LBJ.  I think it’s a Texas thing.

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