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July 15, 2006
The Saddam-Osama Connection

One of the documents released by the FMSO project contains the records of the Iraqi regime's early connections to Osama bin Laden, starting in 1994 and continuing at least through 1997. It comes in the middle of document ISGZ-2004-009247, a review of Iraqi Intelligence Service contacts in the region and summaries of the combined efforts that they produced.

The review of their work with Saddam comes in section 2, discussing "The Reform And Advice Committee":

2. The Reform and Advice Committee:

Headed by the Saudi Usamah Bin Ladin [UBL], who is a member of a wealthy Saudi family with his roots going back to Hadhramut [TC: An area now part of Yemen]. This family has a strong ties with the ruling family in Saudi. He is one of the leaders of the Afghan-Arabs, who volunteered for jihad in Afghanistan. After the expulsion of the Russians, he moved to live in Sudan in 1992 subsequent to the Islamists arrival to power in Sudan.

[A]s a result of his antagonistic positions against the ruling Saudi family in opposition to the foreign presence in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi authorities issued a decree to withdrawing his Saudi Citizenship. We approached the committee by doing the following:

A. During the visit of the Sudanese Dr. Ibrahim Al-Sunusi to Iraq and his meeting with Mr. `Uday Saddam Hussein, on December 13th 1994, with the presence of the respectable, Mr. Director of the Intelligence Services, he [Dr. Al-Sunusi] pointed out that the opposing Usamah Bin Ladin, residing in Sudan, who expressed reservations and fear that he may be depicted by his enemies as an agent for Iraq; is ready to meet with us in Sudan (The Honorable Presidency was informed of the results of the meeting in our letter 782 on December 17th 1994).

B. An approval to meet with opposer Usama Bin Ladin by the Intelligence Services was given by the Honorable Presidency in its letter 138, dated January 11th 1995 (attachment 6). He [UBL] was met by the previous general director of M ’I M 4 [QCC: possible the previous General Director of Intelligence] in Sudan, with the presence of the Sudanese, Ibrahim Al-Sannusi, on February 19th 1995. A discussion ensued with him about his organization, he [UBL] requested the broadcasting of the speeches of Sheikh Sulayman Al-`Udah (who has an influence within Saudi Arabia and outside, due to his religious and influential personality), to designate a program for them through the radio broadcast directed inside Iraq, and to perform joint operations against the foreign forces in the land of Hijaz. (The Honorable Presidency was informed of the details of the meeting in our letter 370 on March 4th 1995, attachment 7)

C. The approval was received from the Leader, Mr. President, may God keep him, to designate a program for them {QCC: UBL and the Sheikh] through the directed radio broadcast. We were left to develop the relationship and the cooperation between the two sides to find out what other avenues of cooperation and agreement would open up. The Sudanese were informed of the Honorable Presidency’s approval of the above through the representative of the Respectable Director of Intelligence Services our Ambassador in Khartoum.

D. Due to the recent situation in Sudan, and being accused of supporting and embracing terrorism, an agreement with the opposer Saudi Usamah Bin Laden was reached, to depart Sudan to another region; whereas, he left Khartoum in July of 1996. The information indicates that he is currently in Afghanistan.

The relationship with him is ongoing through the Sudanese side. Currently, we are working to revitalize this relationship through a new channel in light of his present location. [emphasis mine -- CE]

This shows that the connections to the Saddam regime went much higher than previously thought. Uday himself made the arrangements with the Sudanese government in December 1994. Osama met directly with the General Director of the IIS. Even after he left the Sudan, the Sudanese continued to act as a conduit between Osama and Iraq, at the behest of Saddam Hussein -- and the IIS states that they were actively working to connect to Osama again after he landed in Afghanistan.

During this period of 1996, al-Qaeda bombed the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. In 1998, Osama issued his fatwa against the US. The embassy attacks in Africa followed, and then the bombing of the USS Cole -- and finally, 9/11.

One has to wonder how successful the IIS was in its project to "revitalize" their relationship.

UPDATE: This document provides the prologue to the Feith memo. Remember how many people discounted that intelligence assessment?

UPDATE II: Laurie Mylroie had this translated herself from the original Arabic-only release in March.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 15, 2006 6:12 PM

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