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March 14, 2008

Buried in a Buried Report
Posted by Adam Blickstein

  Hey Rummy, is that the "smoking gun" connecting al Qaeda and Saddam's Iraq you got 

Rumsfeld_2The Institute for Defense Analyses Report (now presumably discreetly stashed away in some undisclosed location away from the meddling gaze of the media) Moira discussed Wedneday has quite a few provocative nuggets. Besides providing an interesting and over-arching examination of how pan-Islamism supplanted pan-Arabism as the regional ideology du jour during the past decade, thus diminishing Saddam Hussein's stature and magnifying bin Laden's regional influence, it also supplies insights into the extent of the non-connection between bin Laden and Saddam's Iraq. A somewhat major point being that the report concludes there was no direct connection between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda. Major refutations of Republican talking points notwithstanding, NSN did an analysis of the report, extracting a few choice nuggets. One interesting was that Saddam himself feared the internal threat from radical Islamic groups in Iraq. From the report:

"Whether attempting to overthow the Egyptian government or the Kuwait royal family, the vision was always about the centrality of Saddam and his pan-Arab vision - and never about the glory of Islam or some modem-day caliphate. To the fundamentalist leadership of al Qaeda, Saddam represented the worst kind o f "apostate" regime - a secular police state well practiced in suppressing internal challenges...The Saddam regime was very concerned about the internal threat posed by various Islamist movements. Crackdowns, arrests, and monitoring of Islamic radical movements were common in Iraq."


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Bush: "We know that Iraq and al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade. Some al Qaeda leaders who fled Afghanistan went to Iraq. These include one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks. We've learned that Iraq has