No Iraq link to al-Qaida
Thanks to M.S. for his further comments.
There is also, however, no credible evidence of *indirect* Iraqi, Baathist
support for al-Qaida. The US has an enormous number of documents bearing
on funding for al-Qaida, gathered from Afghanistan and elsewhere, and no
money comes from Iraq. No training of al-Qaida fighters in Iraq. No
al-Qaida informant or defector has mentioned Iraq. That Baathist Iraq’s
ideology is secular and nationalist and virulently anti-Islamist would not
absolutely prevent some sort of shadowy cooperation with theocratic
al-Qaida, I suppose. Such cooperation is, however, unlikely and
counter-intuitive and therefore would have to be demonstrated. It has not
been demonstrated. Since the war advocates in Washington–with their
enormous resources and access to classified intelligence–have been trying
hard to make the argument for 11 months, I presume this means it cannot be
There is no evidence of Saddam Hussein being willing to talk to al-Qaida,
and some to suggest that he repeatedly refused to do so.
If the US government wants to invade Iraq, I presume it can do so. There
may be reasons for doing this, though I am unable to comprehend them,
myself (as is, apparently, the international community). However, an
al-Qaida-Iraq link is not such a reason because none exists.
Many implausible things are alleged by supposed experts that fall apart if
one begins examining the available evidence. There is no evidence that
Shiite Iran was behind Wahhabi Bin Laden, as Josef Bodansky asserted, and
this idea is frankly preposterous. Yet Bodansky is a security analyst for
the U.S. Congress and gets lots of television time. In fact, Iran nearly
went to war against the Taliban regime because of its Sunni bigotry and
mistreatment of the Hazara Shiites in Afghanistan, and al-Qaida-related
groups have conducted a campaign of assassinating Shiites in Pakistan,
including Iranian attaches in Karachi. Iran recently handed 16 al-Qaida
detainees over to Saudi Arabia.
I am simply pleading for an end to argumentation from innuendo, unsupported
allegations, and vague guilt by association on this important topic. We
are historians interested in diplomatic history, which has always been
driven by solid documentation. It is not too much to ask for such
documentation when an Iraq link with al-Qaida is implied by someone.