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Old 03-31-2003, 04:41 AM   #1
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Link Al Qaeda - Baghdad, or is there?

Hello,

In another thread in this forum the discussion went a bit off-topic with stories that US soldiers and Kurdish militants had captured an Al Qaeda camp in Northern Iraq, suggesting links between Hussein and Bin Laden. I was a bit sceptical about this, and this following article from The Independent confirmed my scepticism about this. However, it does mention (quickly) another link, one to Iran...

Here's the article:
Quote:
Dozens killed as US special forces overrun 'terrorist' camps
By Patrick Cockburn in Sherawa, northern Iraq
31 March 2003


US special forces working with Kurdish militia have over-run the base camps of Ansar al-Islam, a small Kurdish Islamic group which achieved sudden notoriety when the US administration claimed it was linked both to al-Qa'ida and Saddam Hussein.

About 100 US Special Forces and 6,000 Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) peshmerga started their attack last Friday against an Ansar force of 700, which for several years has occupied a narrow wedge of hills between the eastern Kurdish city of Halabja and the Iranian border.

Barham Salih, the prime minister of PUK-controlled eastern Kurdistan, said: "It was a very tough battle. You're talking about a bunch of terrorists who are very well-trained and well-equipped." He said 17 of his men and up to 150 Ansar militants were killed.

Ansar has been a thorn in the side of the PUK government, fiercely defending its handful of villages close to the border with Iran, but in Kurdish politics it was a small player.

It came to international attention when Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, claimed before the UN Security Council that Ansar had connections simultaneously to al-Qa'ida and Baghdad. But it was always an unlikely alliance.

General Powell said an al-Qa'ida member called Abu Musab Zarqawi had established a "poison and explosive training factory" on Ansar territory. He also said the Iraqi government had "an agent in the most senior levels of Ansar".

The claim that Ansar was linked to al-Qa'ida was encouraged by the PUK, which wanted to get rid of a local irritant, and could point to some 100 Arabs within the group who had previously been in Afghanistan. But Mr Salih said Ansar had no link to Baghdad because the Iraqi Arabs with the group were clearly anti-Saddam Hussein.

In the few villages it held, Ansar had instituted an Islamic regime similar to that of the Taliban in Afghanistan where television, dancing, girls' schools and women appearing without a veil were prohibited. There was little firm evidence, however, that Ansar was connected to al Qa'ida.

The site alleged to have been the poison factory turned out to be controlled by another Islamic group.

Mullah Krekar, the leader of Ansar, in exile in Norway, denied any link with President Saddam, whom he frequently denounced. "As a Kurdish man I believe he is our enemy," he said. He also denied that a senior Ansar Iraqi Arab commander called Abu Wa'el was linked to Iraqi intelligence, describing him as "a toothless diabetic, too old feeble to harm anyone".

Ansar could not have survived without Iranian support, probably channelled through the Revolutionary Guards just across the Iranian border. In recent months, however, aid has been reduced or cut off because Iran fears complications with the US.

In an authoritative report on Ansar published earlier in the year, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said prophetically: "Should Ansar lose its Iranian sponsor, it would be deprived of its critical fall-back area across the border, and in the face of concerted PUK assault, possibly with US assistance, it would not be likely to survive as a visible fighting force."

Meanwhile on the front line north of Kirkuk, Iraqi forces have fallen back seven or eight miles to a ridge defending the city. The withdrawal, completed over the weekend, was carefully planned and retreating troops left nothing in their bunkers. Troops to the east of Kirkuk also pulled back to less exposed positions nearer the city.
C ya!

Marty
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Old 03-31-2003, 07:00 AM   #2
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You beat me to the punch. ANyhting I have read indicates that AL-Qaeda is NOT a big fan of Saddam. That said, they have had some very limited connections since according to what I have read, Bin Laden would love to see Saddam's governement overthrown because Saddam is too tolorant, of other religions, if you can belive it.

There are many, many more credible links between Iranian intelligence and Al-Qaeda working together. This is why, I believe we started with Iraq. Iran will be a much easier sell to the American people when the time comes.

Peace
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Old 03-31-2003, 07:41 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
There are many, many more credible links between Iranian intelligence and Al-Qaeda working together. This is why, I believe we started with Iraq. Iran will be a much easier sell to the American people when the time comes.

Peace
But Iran poses another difficult situation. On the one hand you have the current ruling government, that wants Iran to become more Western. On the other hand you have the religious leaders and the conservative judical system that wants to steer away from the Western world. I don't know the exact stance of the government (they might be against Al Qaeda too), but the religious leaders probably support Al Qaeda (as it is anti-American).
Starting a campaign to break any Al Qaeda influence in Iran might be easy to sell to the American people, but the US government should be very careful with how to deal with the Iranian worldly leaders (assuming they do not support Al Qaeda).

Foreign politics is never easy...

C ya!

Marty
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Old 03-31-2003, 08:53 AM   #4
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Al Qaeda may not be a big fan of Saddam, but I would not discount their working together based solely on this point. They may not like each other, but they can certainly use each other.

History is replete with examples of countries aiding non-allies, because the non-ally will hurt that country's enemies.
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Old 03-31-2003, 09:06 AM   #5
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Alqueda is in Basara fighting along side w Iraqi soilders .

British intelligence has confirmed this already.

DB9
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Old 03-31-2003, 11:15 AM   #6
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lol. Keep tryin', guys.
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Old 03-31-2003, 11:44 AM   #7
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Iran has a strong opposition to the conservative Islamic regime. I should know, I used to visit a web site that was avowedly "pro-democracy" and "pro-Western", and I exchanged e-mails with the owner of the site. I think the site is still there although I haven't been there since I changed ISP's and had to start all over again with my bookmarks. They had demonstrations in Tehran and other Iranian cities. These people might be useful in the future. We'll see.
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Old 03-31-2003, 07:47 PM   #8
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I'm sure some will continue to believe otherwise, but the evidence of Iraq's link to Al Qaeda continues to grow.
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Old 04-01-2003, 02:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
I'm sure some will continue to believe otherwise, but the evidence of Iraq's link to Al Qaeda continues to grow.
I'm not seriously doubting that Ansar al-Islam has ties with Al Qaeda, but I do not get the link between this group and Baghdad (Saddam Hussein). This group operated in northeast Iraq, an area controlled by Kurdish Iraqi's, AFAIK not by Saddam Hussein. The article you linked to also mentions this (that there is probably no link between the two). More interestingly is the suggestion that this group was supported by Iran (mentioned both in the article I posted in the first post and in this Yahoo! story).

C ya!

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Old 04-01-2003, 09:40 AM   #10
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The same Kurds who are alies with the "coalition of the willing" against Saddam?

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