home > archive > 2003 > this article

Saddam and a September 11 link?

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted March 10, 2003

This past week, the cable news channels have been obsessed with drawing a possible connection between Iraq and the events of September 11th. What is truly fascinating is that recently apprehended Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, now dubbed "the kingpin of al-Qaida", masterminded the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, while his nephew, Ramzi Yousef, with whom he worked closely on past occasions, orchestrated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing eight years earlier. Oh, did I forget to mention that Ramzi Yousef was thought to be an Iraqi agent? Now that both of these beauties are in custody, maybe we can better gauge Iraq's role in transnational terrorism. Apparently, the two are of the Baluch ethnic group (Baluchistan is a province of Pakistan, although historically the Baluch territory is divided among Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan), which established favorable relations with Saddam Hussein's regime, according to Laurie Mylroie, a noted expert on Iraq.

The first question that comes to mind is whether Yousef's uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad of al-Qaida, also colluded with Iraq at various junctures. Most probably, although Ramzi Yousef had the stronger ties to Iraq, and carried both Iraqi and Pakistani passports. But that still doesn't necessarily peg Iraq as a participant in the September 11th attacks -- and that is attributed to the nature of the terror network itself. In his book, The War Against The Terror Masters, scholar Michael Ledeen notes: "The best way to think of the terror network is as a collection of mafia families…As in ‘The Godfather', sometimes the Barzinis and the Corleones and the others join together to fight the feds". Making the fine point here, sometimes "evil doers" collaborate on a particular terrorist plot, and sometimes they don't. In any event, Ledeen underscores that members of the overall terror network widely assist each other when called upon -- a modus operandi that was only truly grasped by the intelligence community after September 11th. Clearly, terror perpetrators are significantly enmeshed, with interaction and interdependence in abundance.

Which entities comprise the terror network? The primary players are the terror states that sponsor terrorism (providing monies, safe haven, training grounds, intelligence, weaponry, etc.), and the terrorist organizations themselves. The players often conspire and collaborate with one another in a variety of configurations -- terror states cooperate with other terror states, terror states cooperate with terror groups, and terror groups cooperate with each other. Illustrative of this concept, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini worked in tandem with Syria's Assad, actually bolstering Assad's regime in the process as they established Hezbollah in Lebanon. And Hezbollah lends a hand to those groups in the region that are also bent on destroying Israel.

Iran created "the model" for transnational terrorism years ago, as the Ayatollah Khomeini regime readily formed alliances with any nation or group that could buttress his Hezbollah organization. The "Big Three" terror states, Iran, Iraq and Syria, contribute in varying fashions to all of the major terror groups in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia furnishing beaucoup bucks to al-Qaida, the pro-terror Palestinian contingents, and promulgating the apocalyptic Wahhabi cult that's at the core of radical Islam.

To my knowledge, the available evidence strongly militates for an al-Qaida run operation on September 11th, the brainchild of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts who had been ensconced in Afghanistan at the time. If Iraq had any input regarding the "Day of Infamy", it probably would have been peripheral at best. I suppose the thought of Saddam Hussein behind September 11th makes for scintillating TV, but frankly there are already solid reasons for toppling Saddam Hussein who poses an unacceptable threat to the US and other western democracies. Saddam is now feeling the heat, and realizes that "high noon" is closely at hand – and his likely demise once the war begins. So, no, Saddam does not feel kindly toward America and, if that lunatic had his druthers, there's no question that he'd blithely annihilate us all on our home soil.

In referencing September 11th at his recent news conference, President Bush established that Saddam Hussein is well capable of inflicting another "Day of Infamy" upon us, given his malevolent intent, his catastrophic weaponry, and his association with terrorist surrogates. President Bush asserted: "Saddam Hussein is a threat to our nation. September the 11th changed the strategic thinking, at least as far as I was concerned, for how to protect our country. My job is to protect the American people…September the 11th should say to the American people that we are now a battlefield, that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at home". History is replete with static defenses (in America's case, oceans on both sides of the continent, in other eras it was Hadrian's Wall and the Great Wall of China) that ultimately failed to deter tenacious enemies. When weapons of mass destruction are thrown into the mix, it becomes vital that we rout the Jihadists before they assail us.

True, Saddam Hussein may have had little or nothing to do with the horrific attacks of September 11th. However, it's important to remember that this murderous thug was linked to both an attempted assassination on former President Bush (Bush 41) during a planned visit to Kuwait, and the first attack upon the World Trade Center in 1993. As to the latter, intelligence and law enforcement sources concluded that the mastermind of the first WTC attack was indeed Ramzi Yousef, with ties to both al-Qaida and Iraq. In her book entitled, Study Of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America, author Laurie Mylroie stated: "The early suspicions of New York law enforcement that Iraq was behind the bombing never changed over the course of the investigation or the trial. After the March 4, 1994 verdicts against the first set of Trade Center defendants, Jim Fox (Director of the FBI's New York office at the time) told the ‘Chicago Sun Times' that Yousef appeared to be guided by a foreign intelligence agency and that Iraq, seeking revenge for the Gulf War, might well have been behind the bombing. Later, Fox told me that the majority of senior law enforcement officers in New York believed that Iraq was involved."

Suffice it to say that Saddam Hussein is a monstrous individual, irrespective of any involvement in September 11th. Rather than contemplating some tenuous link between Iraq and the "Day of Infamy", Americans would be better served by news media that provided in-depth examination of the Islamist terror network, with particular attention to the roles of radical mosques and affiliated Jihad cells secreted throughout our nation that are poised to strike.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

Printer friendly version
Printer friendly version
Send a link to this page!
Send a link to this story

Printer friendly versionSend a link to this page!

Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!



1996-2020, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.