RealNews

Al-Qaida rebuffed by Iraq in 1990s

Osama bin Laden and his associates tried to build a relationship with Iraq in the 1990s but were rebuffed by Saddam Hussein, who refused to help al-Qaida set up training camps and obtain weapons, the commission looking into the Sept. 11 attacks said yesterday. The bipartisan commission concluded that Iraq and al-Qaida never developed a “collaborative relationship,” even though President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have long argued that they did. The Bush administration made that argument to justify, in part, Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and topple Hussein. As recently as Monday in a speech in Florida, Cheney referred to Hussein’s “long established ties with al-Qaida.” White House aides downplayed the new finding, arguing that even if Iraq and al-Qaida did not collaborate closely, there was enough evidence of ties between the two to have caused alarm. These officials say, for example, that Hussein offered haven to some al-Qaida operatives. They insist that Hussein’s links to al-Qaida and other terrorists made him a dangerous threat. Full Story

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