- The Washington Times - Friday, June 4, 2004

Questioning a ‘quandary’

I wish to dispute some points made by Harlan Ullman (“Quandary in Iraq,” Op-Ed, May 26).

First, it definitely is not obvious that more troops are needed. To be free, Iraqis must first pursue their own welfare. More troops would compound the offense of foreign occupation, further distracting Iraqis from constructive pursuits. It also would further provide a blind for malefactors.

Second, the “news” from Iraq misrepresents what is going on there. The newspeople there are in a cooperative alliance with and willingly provide a platform for Iraqis and jihadists who oppose a free Iraq. I’m sure they do it because they know their editors want it and because people back home won’t know the difference anyway.

No one can rightfully say that “Vietnam proved not to have strategic consequences.” With equal credibility, it may be said either that Vietnam did or that Vietnam did not prevent the “dominoes” from falling. What was once French Indochina was left communist, but Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Australia were the big prizes the communists did not get.

Listening to the debate, it seems that this nation’s elite have relapsed into the whining that was ubiquitous before September 11. If you want to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. We have good national leadership for a change. Let’s have some confidence in it.

CHRISTOPHER J. HOLLINS

Charlotte, N.C.

Far from NORML

Heinz Endowments President Maxwell King’s Tuesday letter defending the contract Teresa Heinz Kerry’s charitable organization has with the nonprofit management organization the Tides Center for programs “to test career readiness of area high school students” and other laudable causes (“Catch up to truth about Heinz”) omits left-wing, pro-drug organizations such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). NORML received $50,000 from the Tides Foundation, of which the Tides Center is part.

Parents across America are dismayedbyNORML’s decades-long misinformation campaign promoting marijuana use and attempting to get the weed legalized.

Parents I know agree that mind destruction is a violent crime. Sen. John Kerry has also made some statements indicating he may be “soft” on pot (“Marijuana taints presidential bids,” Nation, Feb. 22). “What we did in the prosecutor’s office was have a sort of unspoken approach to marijuana that was almost effectively decriminalization,” Mr. Kerry said. Having fought hard against legalization since 1979, I am concerned greatly by this, and it certainly sends the wrong message to young people.

Mr. King wrote, “All recipients are non-profit entities barred from partisan political activities.” From my observations, NORML may not fit that profile.

Mr. King may not be familiar with all the recipients of Tides funds, but we think this one bears some checking out.

JOYCE NALEPKA

President

Drug-Free Kids: America’s Challenge

Silver Spring

Link, what link?

The Commentary column by Deroy Murdock on Sunday, “Revealing clues of Iraq linkage,” and your lead editorial on Wednesday, “Saddam and Osama,” dealing with the linkage between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, are both right on the money.

Additional evidence of the linkage between Iraq and al Qaeda is well-documented in the book “The New Jackals” by Simon Reeve, published in 1999 by Northeastern University Press. The linkage detailed in this book involves two trails of connections. One points out contacts between bin Laden and Iraq dating to the early 1990s. The other documents connections that Ramzi Youssef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, had with Iraqi intelligence officials.

The following situations relating to the bin Laden and Iraq connection are detailed in the book:

• In the early 1990s, Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of Sudan’s ruling National Islamic Front (NIF) party, put bin Laden in contact with operatives from the Mukhabarat (the Iraqi Secret Service). Later, in the mid-1990s, when bin Laden was living in Sudan and there were the first signs of pressure on him to leave, Iraqi agents visited him in Khartoum and offered him sanctuary in Baghdad.

• Contacts between bin Laden and Iraq were maintained by representatives of the Iranian terror group MKO, which had its headquarters near Baghdad and wanted to use bin Laden and the Taliban to incite violence on the border between Iran and Afghanistan.

• In December 1998, Saddam’s son Qusay, who was responsible for much of Iraq’s intelligence operations, sent Farouk Hijazi, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer who had just been appointed as ambassador to Turkey, to meet bin Laden. Mr. Hijazi initially met with Mullah Omar and then personally with bin Laden. Intelligence sources reported that Mr. Hijazi offered bin Laden asylum in Iraq and then put forward a list of targets to attack.

• Further meetings between three senior Iraqi intelligence agents and some bin Laden lieutenants took place in Khartoum, Sudan, in mid-January 1999. There was concern among Western intelligence agents that Iraq might be looking to assist bin Laden’s chemists in the construction of crude chemical weapons using several tons of precursor chemicals for chemical weapons that Iraq moved into Sudan just before the Gulf War.

• Kuwaiti police sources advised that near the end of 1998, several hundred Afghan Arabs connected to al Qaeda began receiving military training in Southern Iraq with the intention of conducting a terrorist campaign along the Kuwaiti border. This plot was foiled after Kuwaiti intelligence arrested a terrorist cell of 25 militants in early January 1999.

• On Jan. 5, 1999, Saddam marked Iraq’s Army Day with a violent speech in which he called on Arabs and Muslims to rise up and revolt against their governments and the West. This rhetoric won over some former Islamic militant enemies.

• Saddam also wooed other terrorists. In the summer of 1998, the notorious terrorist Abu Nidal moved from Sudan to Baghdad, where he was joined by about 50 of his followers from Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria.

With regard to connections between Iraq and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the book makes the following points:

• The author concludes that evidence of Iraqi involvement in the 1993 Twin Towers bombing is strong.

• Significance was placed on the timing of the attack on Feb. 26. This date marked the second anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait.

• One of the WTC conspirators, Abdul Rahman Yasin, became a fugitive and, as late as 1999, was living openly in Baghdad, possibly working for the Iraqi government.

• Another conspirator, Mohammad Salameh, is the nephew of Qadri Abu Bakr, a leading figure in a Palestine Liberation Organization terrorist unit that received funding from the Iraqi regime. Before Ramzi Youssef came to the United States to oversee the WTC bombing, Salameh made the first of 46 phone calls to Baghdad, most of them to his uncle.

• Ramzi Youssef came from Baluchistan, a Sunni area in Iraq that spread into Iran and Pakistan. Pakistan intelligence sources were convinced that Youssef had close links to the MKO.

• American and Pakistani intelligence sources believe that while Youssef was teaching in Osama bin Laden’s terrorist camps in 1992, he met with a senior Sunni representative of the MKO who was working for the government in Baghdad. The MKO official, acting under orders from Baghdad, is reported to have asked Youssef to go to the United States to prepare a spectacular terrorist attack.

ROBERT E. POWIS

Williamsburg

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide