Monday, January 09, 2006

What should have been obvious

I want you to read this:

As you know, because the media parrot it incessantly, there were no links between al-Qa’eda and Saddam, because he’s a scrupulously secular Baathist and they’re fundamentalist Islamists. Good thing those pro-gay pro-feminist Eurolefties making common cause with honor-killing sodomite-beheaders don’t demand the same level of intellectual coherence from their own coalition as they do from the terrorists. Does George Galloway feel even a wee bit squeamish that his speeches are indistinguishable from David Duke?

Is there more to be said? Well...

An Iraqi of that name [Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, a member of the Fedayeen Saddam, Saddam Hussein's elite security force], Carney knew, had been present at an al Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on January 5-8, 2000. U.S. intelligence officials believe this was a chief planning meeting for the September 11 attacks. Shakir had been nominally employed as a "greeter" by Malaysian Airlines, a job he told associates he had gotten through a contact at the Iraqi embassy. More curious, Shakir's Iraqi embassy contact controlled his schedule, telling him when to show up for work and when to take a day off.

... [These ellipses, I note, elide a lot of vital stuff. Read the whole thing, as they say.]

Six days after September 11, Shakir was captured in Doha, Qatar. He had in his possession contact information for several senior al Qaeda terrorists: Zahid Sheikh Mohammed, brother of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; Musab Yasin, brother of Abdul Rahman Yasin, the Iraqi who helped mix the chemicals for the first World Trade Center attack and was given safe haven upon his return to Baghdad; and Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, otherwise known as Abu Hajer al Iraqi, described by one top al Qaeda detainee as Osama bin Laden's "best friend."

Among other things. I remember opining to my husband in mid-2003 that just on the face of it, al Qaeda must have been established within Iraq, or they wouldn't have been able to move so quickly and seamlessly into an "insurgent" role there. It takes time to establish relationships, especially those that depend on secrecy and an absolute intolerance for even minor betrayals. Safe houses, weapons caches, contact with high-level Ba'athists who might reasonably have expected to go into hiding upon the entry of American and coalition troops into Iraq - you don't achieve access to these things by showing up at the border and saying, "Hi, I'm on your side." Clearly, I said then, the relationships had been forged before. I've seen no reason, so far, to change my mind.

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