Wednesday, June 16, 2004

9/11 panel sees no link between Iraq, al-Qaida

That's what the headline reads. What they actually said was

We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States. Whether Bin Ladin and his organization had roles in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and the thwarted Manila plot to blow up a dozen U.S. commercial aircraft in 1995 remains a matter of substantial uncertainty.

The same paragraph says

Bin Ladin also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein’s secular regime. Bin Ladin had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Ladin to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded.

That's a little different from the standard line that Bin Ladin hated Iraq so much that he would never cooperate with secular Iraq. A similar example of Bin Laden's willingness to work with traditional enemies is here:

In light of the historical animosity between Shia and Sunni Muslims, the confirmation of the Hezbollah role in the attack led many to conclude that Bin Ladin’s Sunni-populated organization would not have been involved. Later intelligence, however, showed far greater potential for collaboration between Hezbollah and al Qaeda than many had previously thought. A few years before the attack, Bin Ladin’s representatives and Iranian officials had discussed putting aside Shia-Sunni divisions to cooperate against the common enemy. A small group of al Qaeda operatives subsequently traveled to Iran and Hezbollah camps in Lebanon for training in explosives, intelligence and security.

So, we went to war with Iraq out of fear that they would provide al Qaeda with WMDs. Since then all of the pundits have insisted that such cooperation would never have happened - that Bin Laden hated Sadam more than he hated us. Now it comes out that Bin Laden was interested but Iraq never followed up on it.

So, why isn't that a headline?

The press hates Bush so they slant their coverage.

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