It appears
August 24, 2002 11:42 PM   Subscribe

It appears that there is another twist in the Abu Nidal death as reports are claiming that Saddam Hussein had Abu killed because Nidal didn't want to train Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq and strike the US. This does contradict the Iraqi claims that Abu killed himself for plotting to overthrow Saddam.

This is getting stranger and stranger. Is this just creative writing by Iraqi opposition? Won't these claims be used to justify claims that Saddam is harboring Terrorists? Will the US awkardly praise Abu for turning down Saddam's offer?

Who knows..
posted by RobbieFal (15 comments total)
Empty link.
posted by RavinDave at 12:04 AM on August 25, 2002

Nevermind. Okay now.
posted by RavinDave at 12:11 AM on August 25, 2002

It seems to me that the biggest hole in this story is that Abu Nidal turned down the opportunity to train future terrorists. From there on, you lost me.

Why would Saddam go so far as killing him to thwart Nidal's retirement? Anyone in the States who's rented a cop/buddy movie knows the more effective route would have been to assign Nidal a loose-cannon of a partner who operates just outside of the rules...
posted by herc at 12:45 AM on August 25, 2002

Hmmm.. the Iraqi opposition...
Who exactly? The CIA-created Iraqi National Congress, constantly helped by the wily, CIA funded Rendon Group?
Somebody else?
Maybe you know, the Telegraph has some credibility issues on this topic -- they also own uber-hawk Richard Perle-run Hollinger Digital and the pretty hawkish Jerusalem Post (Perle is a board member, btw)
A funny aside: Secretary Colin Powell -- who is now basically a Communist if you compare his ideas to the current WH policy -- cheerfully calls Perle & Wolfowitz & Kristol jr and the other let's-nuke-Iraq people, behind their backs one hope, "the bombers"

Perhaps this info comes from the highly praised (both by Dems and Reps in Capitol Hill) mr Chalabi, former of Jordan's Petra Bank convicted in absentia on 31 charges of embezzlement, theft, misuse of depositor funds and other felonies. Sentenced to 30 years hard labor in prison and fined a total of $230 million, for a scam estimated to have cost the Jordanians nearly $300 million. Does the info comes from his gentleman?

Oh, even the National Review, definitely not a commie rag, had some doubts about him -- but they ended up liking him a lot anyway

I'm not saying that this Abu Nidal report is false, the man obviously got killed, the suicide thing is ludicrous -- but this story just dovetails too beautifully, and why didn't they tell us earlier that Nidal was in Iraq to train Al Qaeda agents?

This whole Saddam-AlQaeda-9/11 attempted linkage is not entirely convincing. Even the reports of Mohammed Atta's alleged Prague meeting with Iraqi agents are not entirely clear and reliable

We've got to be careful in the next few weeks, lots of stuff will be published to make Saddam look totally connected to Al Qaeda. I'm not saying he is not. I'd just like to see harder evidence with more reliable sources
posted by matteo at 1:24 AM on August 25, 2002

Man, he was getting too old for that shit...

Seriously, I find that story incredibly hard to swallow. While it's not unreasonable to suspect Hussein of funding terrorist training, I really can't see any connection between Abu Nidal - a Marxist fighting for Palestinian independence (and subsequent socialism), and Al Qaeda - Islamic fundamentalists who fights to end the American presence in the Middle East. They have different targets, different goals and different ideology. And Abu Nidal is an ideological leader.

Thus, to me it seems like a rumour put together with whatever was handy.

"Hear about those floods in Europa and Asia? Yup.... Saddam Hussein!"
posted by cx at 1:26 AM on August 25, 2002

The story that Abu Nidal may have admitted responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing, as suspected by many for years, seems rather more interesting and more credible than this one.
posted by riviera at 2:58 AM on August 25, 2002

The al Qaeda story is flaccid. Given Abu Nidal's time-tested treachery and opportunism, and the fact that at some point in his career had attacked nearly every Middle Easterner and his mother, no wonder Saddam at this tender moment didn't want him around anymore.
posted by shoos at 3:33 AM on August 25, 2002

Nice post matteo. I would like more evidence about Iraq's ties to al Qaeda too. But so far, Hussein's Iraq is just magnificiently horrific all by its lonesome.
posted by hama7 at 3:42 AM on August 25, 2002

Abu Nidal is an ideological leader

*cough* -- read his biography, its called "Gun for Hire". I believe the article. The timeing fits in character with all the players. A CIA plot to plant false information is much harder to swallow than the obvious motives of Sadam.
posted by stbalbach at 4:34 AM on August 25, 2002

Ok, Saddam is a despot. His primary motivation is to stay in power. That's what despots do. How does attacking the US via terror or better yet "weapons of mass destruction" accomplish this? It doesn't, it brings down the wrath of the US on him which results in not staying in power.

Couple that with the idea that he already has some such weapons and you have a compelling argument not to beat the hornets nest. From a tactical standpoint, Saddam can only do superficial damage to the US, but any attack would result in his overthrow and all out war against him. How does such an action serve him? It doesn't.

All of this thinking, of course, assumes that Saddam is a rational thinking despot on not the irrational "evildoer" that the administration paints.
posted by shagoth at 7:51 AM on August 25, 2002

Sadam is out to win. He wants to beat the USA. If he thinks he can he will attack the USA with terrorists and defend against the USA just as he did in Desert Storm. He won that war by not loosing. Sadam has millions ready to die for his cause it's a compelling reason to think he can win again.
posted by stbalbach at 8:44 AM on August 25, 2002

The Iraqui opposition would say anything to help get rid of Saddam...I'm sure we helped with that story too...

If (although I should say when) we attack Iraq, Iraq attacks Israel in retaliation, not us...and Saddam doesn't have sleeper cells here, although I'm sure we'll be told that next to try and justify an attack.
posted by amberglow at 8:57 AM on August 25, 2002

This one's hard to parse. Certainly he was murdered, but the question might be by whom? If he did commit suicide, it was because he feared Saddam, suggesting a betrayal of his host. The sketchy reports linking him to various Iraqi revolutionarie may merely be disinformation, though it makes much more sense than "refusing to train" the dictator's men, but it's nearly the only conceivable reason he'd be offed, other than perhaps knowing a bit too much about something the mustachioed one would prefer not getting out (which suggests bringing him to Baghdad was a lure in the first place).

There doesn't seem to be any way anybody other could be involved; the story of his being shot on entry of the security forces seems credible in the broader sense. The James Bond array of weapons and briefcases seems credible as well.

Saddam's danger would be serious, even if you accept the premise that he's wholly rational and thus containable and deterrable, once he acquires working nukes. Sure, he wouldn't necessarily come directly against us -- I've always taken that tack regarding the missile defense justification. But he would definitely want to regain control of his borders, and who knows how long until he resumed his expansionist ambitions? (In fact, one theory floating about is that at that point his interests might be more in tune with the US regional strategy, making him an attractive ally -- and the chessplayers in Washington would rather not have to choose him.) The other possibility is the hand-off, the grand opening of Saddam's quid-pro-quo nuke warehouse. When you start to consider the possibility he was already involved in the bombing of US targets before, without consequence, this scenario might seem attractive to him, in a fully rational sense. The problem is delivery and deniability, and a hand-off would solve both. Even so, Saddam himself may be too level-headed to pull that kind of evil-doer qualification round stunt; but his sons (Uday and Qusay) or any possible successors (Chemical Ali, I think his brother, who supervised Halabja) all seem harder than the hard man himself.
posted by dhartung at 9:17 AM on August 25, 2002

For more specifics on the subject than is indicated in the article posted, see, which offers a fairly comprehensive background and history. The pice I am referring to is in the left-hand column, after the big headlines.
posted by Postroad at 1:20 PM on August 25, 2002

Bin Laden: "It was him or"

papa docs cousin: "yes, but he was a hero to the struggle"

pol pots wife: "and he had flare, saddam thinks it was the Russians"

kim philby: (thats right, kim philby) "listen he had it bloody comin, sees, Osammy needed that kidney cleaner more then good old abus neice...bloody sanctions"

lota tatters there dhart...some meat. IF abu is dead, then it was probably by his own wishes or he was whacked by a "allied' clean team (I'm Fred, he's joe, where from pre-moistening ((sorry dean)) Some one probably ratted his 20 and in a hour or three, you got hombres in Baghdad. The killing is's the getting out...which suggests allies in, abu dead benefits saddam little. (unless killing a high profile terrorist benefits saddams image)
posted by clavdivs at 1:22 PM on August 25, 2002

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