Intelligence: Who Was Playing Who?

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February 12, 2006: One of the more interesting theories making the rounds of security organizations these days is the one about Osama bin Laden deliberately setting up the war in Iraq. It goes like this. There is now some evidence that bin Laden may have been tied to deliberate "seeding" of info about links between him and Saddam, as well as about Saddam's WMD. This was part of a disinformation effort to bait the US into taking on Iraq, knowing that the Bush team was already inclined to that course. Bin Laden's objectives were to get the US into a "Vietnam" in Iraq, that might be used to grow the Islamist movement, while at the same time getting rid of one of the major secular Arab leaders, weakening the very pro-American global sentiment that had emerged out of 9/11 (which resulted in little international opposition to the Afghanistan operation), and at the same time taking the heat off the search for bin Laden.

At the moment, this is all a hypothesis. But it is based on information emerging about real links between Saddam and al Qaeda. These links make no sense, given that Saddam and al Qaeda were always quite hostile to each other. But after 1991, Saddam went out of his way to try and be "more Islamic than thou." He built many mosques, and paid lots of money to Islamic clerics in, and outside of, Iraq. No one was fooled. Saddam was still running a brutal police state. But a lot of the communications between Saddam and al Qaeda don't make much sense. Why would Saddam support Islamic terrorists who had him near the top of their hit list. But there were communications and contacts. All of this may be more a case of who was playing who. Or it may be nothing at all. It is interesting that resources are being used to examine the theory more closely. Just in case. You never know.

 


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