"America has evidence that the Iraqi government and the group of Osama bin Laden have cooperated to attack targets inside America." ---the Iraqi "Republican Command, Intelligence Division," dated September 15, 2001.Developing...The Foreign Military Studies Office Joint Reserve Intelligence Center at Leavenworth has released documents that they captured in Iraq. The documents include details about Iraq's sponsorship of terrorism and about the relationship and cooperation of the Iraqi intelligence with Al Qaeda. More documents and audio tapes will be released soon.Other documents are at West Point's Combatting Terrorism Center:http://www.ctc.usma.edu/harmony_docs.aspIn the first link below, Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard describes the document release. The second link details Iraq's relationships with both Communist and Al Qaeda terrorist groups, based on the captured Iraqi documents.http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/011/975brvct.asphttp://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/011/990ieqmb.aspThe documents detail Iraqi support for the Al Qaeda-linked Philippino terrorist organization Abu Sayyaf. Hayes writes:"SADDAM HUSSEIN'S REGIME PROVIDED FINANCIAL support to Abu Sayyaf, the al Qaeda-linked jihadist group founded by Osama bin Laden's brother-in-law in the Philippines in the late 1990s, according to documents captured in postwar Iraq. An eight-page fax dated June 6, 2001, and sent from the Iraqi ambassador in Manila to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad, provides an update on Abu Sayyaf kidnappings and indicates that the Iraqi regime was providing the group with money to purchase weapons. The Iraqi regime suspended its support--temporarily, it seems--after high-profile kidnappings, including of Americans, focused international attention on the terrorist group." http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/011/990ieqmb.aspOne translated document, written only four days after 9-11, even reports that Iraq and Al Qaeda "cooperated to attack targets inside America." Although the document does not specify that it is describing the 9-11 attacks, the date of the document and the anticipation of an American attack suggests that the writer may well have been alluding to 9-11. Hayes writes:
"The final document provided to The Weekly Standard is a translation of a memo from the "Republican Command, Intelligence Division," dated September 15, 2001. It is addressed to 'Mr. M.A.M.5.'"
"Our Afghani source number 11002 (his biographic information in attachment #1) has provided us information that the Afghani consul Ahmed Dahestani (his biographic information attachment #2) has talked in front of him about the following:
1. That Osama bin Laden and the Taliban group in Afghanistan are in communication with Iraq and that previously a group of Taliban and Osama bin Laden have visited Iraq.
2. That America has evidence that the Iraqi government and the group of Osama bin Laden have cooperated to attack targets inside America.
3. In the event that it has been proven that the group of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban planning such operations, it is possible that America will attack Iraq and Afghanistan.
4. That the Afghani consul heard of the relation between Iraq and the group of Osama bin Laden while he was in Iran.
5. In the light of what has been presented, we suggest to write to the committee of information." http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/011/990ieqmb.asp?pg=2
This date and content of this document makes it pretty obvious that the Iraqi intelligence had a clandestine operational relationship with Bin Laden and was planning their post-9/11 response. An Afghan diplomat, Ahmed Dahestani, informed another Afghan, who was an agent of Iraq, that as soon as the Americans established proof of the link between Al Qaeda and Iraq that U.S forces would attack Afghanistan and Iraq. Ahmed Dahestani seems to have heard about the relationship between Bin Laden and Iraq while he was in Iran.
Here is an article about Saddam's other miscalculations in Foreign Affairs.
The Foreign Affairs article states:
"Throughout the years of relative external peace for Iraq after Operation Desert Storm, in 1991, Saddam Hussein continued to receive and give credence to optimistic assessments of his regime's prospects dished up by his top military officers. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz described the dictator as having been "very confident" that the United States would not dare to attack Iraq, and that if it did, it would be defeated. What was the source of Saddam's confidence?
Judging from his private statements, the single most important element in Saddam's strategic calculus was his faith that France and Russia would prevent an invasion by the United States. According to Aziz, Saddam's confidence was firmly rooted in his belief in the nexus between the economic interests of France and Russia and his own strategic goals: "France and Russia each secured millions of dollars worth of trade and service contracts in Iraq, with the implied understanding that their political posture with regard to sanctions on Iraq would be pro-Iraqi. In addition, the French wanted sanctions lifted to safeguard their trade and service contracts in Iraq. Moreover, they wanted to prove their importance in the world as members of the Security Council -- that they could use their veto to show they still had power."
Ibrahim Ahmad Abd al-Sattar, the Iraqi army and armed forces chief of staff, claimed that Saddam believed that even if his international supporters failed him and the United States did launch a ground invasion, Washington would rapidly bow to international pressure to halt the war. According to his personal interpreter, Saddam also thought his "superior" forces would put up "a heroic resistance and . . . inflict such enormous losses on the Americans that they would stop their advance." Saddam remained convinced that, in his own words, "Iraq will not, in any way, be like Afghanistan. We will not let the war become a picnic for the American or the British soldiers. No way!"
When the coalition assault did come, Saddam stubbornly clung to the belief that the Americans would be satisfied with an outcome short of regime change. According to Sattar, "No Iraqi leaders had believed coalition forces would ever reach Baghdad." Saddam's conviction that his regime would survive the war was the primary reason he did not have his forces torch Iraq's oil fields or open the dams to flood the south, moves many analysts predicted would be among Iraq's first in the event of an invasion. In the words of Aziz, "[Saddam] thought that this war would not lead to this ending." Saddam realized that if his strategic calculus was correct, he would need the oil to prop up the regime. Even with U.S. tanks crossing the Iraqi border, an internal revolt remained Saddam's biggest fear. In order to quell any postwar revolt, he would need the bridges to remain intact and the land in the south to remain unflooded. On this basis, Saddam planned his moves.
Some senior Iraqi military officers did not share their leader's assumptions, taking a more pessimistic view. The director of military intelligence, Zuhayr Talib Abd al-Sattar al-Naqib, commented that except for Saddam and the inner circle, most knowledgeable Iraqis secretly believed that the war would continue all the way to an occupation. The commander of the First Republican Guard Corps admitted, "There was nothing that could have been done to stop the Americans after they began." Sultan Hashim Ahmad al-Tai, the minister of defense, recalled that "Iraqi military professionals were not surprised at U.S. actions at all. We knew what preparations were required, and what would happen if those preparations were not done properly. . . . Even if we had a real defense, we wouldn't have stopped the Americans, but we would have made the price exaggerated."
As late as the end of March 2003, Saddam apparently still believed that the war was going the way he had expected. If Iraq was not actually winning it, neither was it losing -- or at least so it seemed to the dictator. Americans may have listened with amusement to the seemingly obvious fabrications of Muhammad Said al-Sahaf, Iraq's information minister (nicknamed "Baghdad Bob" by the media). But the evidence now clearly shows that Saddam and those around him believed virtually every word issued by their own propaganda machine."
The Foreign Affairs article also observes:
"The Saddam Fedayeen also took part in the regime's domestic terrorism operations and planned for attacks throughout Europe and the Middle East. In a document dated May 1999, Saddam's older son, Uday, ordered preparations for "special operations, assassinations, and bombings, for the centers and traitor symbols in London, Iran and the self-ruled areas [Kurdistan]." Preparations for "Blessed July," a regime-directed wave of "martyrdom" operations against targets in the West, were well under way at the time of the coalition invasion."
I think that, as these new documents come out, they may well provide more detail about the joint operations of Iraqi agents and Al Qaeda even in America.
The captured Iraqi documents probably provide our military and intelligence with both foreign domestic counter-terrorism intelligence. For this reason, some documents may remain classified so that their intelligence value can be exploited and so that terrorist organizations and their collaborators will not be tipped off.
Here is a summary of a meeting of Saddam's "Reform and Advice Committee" that was posted On March 18, 2006 at the Captain's Quarter Blog. It seems that once Bin Ladin left Sudan for Afghanistan, the Iraqis hoped to "invigorate" their relationship with Bin Laden through a "new channel" in light of his present location. This suggests that Iraq had a relationship with Bin Laden while he was in Sudan:
A. During the visit of the Sudanese Dr. Ibrahim al-Sanusi to Iraq and his meeting with Mr. Uday Saddam Hussein, on December 13, 1994, in the presence of the respectable, Mr. Director of the Intelligence Service, he [Dr. al-Sanusi] pointed out that the opposing Osama bin Laden, residing in Sudan, is reserved and afraid to be depicted by his enemies as an agent of Iraq. We prepared to meet him in Sudan (The Honorable Presidency was informed of the results of the meeting in our letter 782 on December 17, 1994).
B. An approval to meet with opposer Osama bin Laden by the Intelligence Services was given by the Honorable Presidency in its letter 138, dated January 11, 1995 (attachment 6). He [bin Laden] was met by the previous general director of M4 in Sudan and in the presence of the Sudanese, Ibrahim al-Sanusi, on February 19, 1995. We discussed with him his organization. He requested the broadcast of the speeches of Sheikh Sulayman al-Uda (who has influence within Saudi Arabia and outside due to being a well known religious and influential personality) and to designate a program for them through the 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 4, 1995, attachment 7.)
C. The approval was received from the Leader, Mr. President, may God keep him, to designate a program for them through the directed broadcast. We were left to develop the relationship and the cooperation between the two sides to see what other doors of cooperation and agreement open up. The Sudanese side was informed of the Honorable Presidency's agreement above, through the representative of the Respectable Director of Intelligence Services, our Ambassador in Khartoum.
D. Due to the recent situation of Sudan and being accused of supporting and embracing of terrorism, an agreement with the opposing Saudi Osama bin Laden was reached. The agreement required him to leave Sudan to another area. He left Khartoum in July 1996. The information we have indicates that he is currently in Afghanistan. The relationship with him is ongoing through the Sudanese side. Currently we are working to invigorate this relationship through a new channel in light of his present location.