Al-Qaeda fighting with Iraqis, British claim
March 27, 2003 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Al-Qaeda fighting with Iraqis, British claim So say interrogated Iraqi POWs. But wait. Al Qaeda the group that killed 3 thousand Americans and now they are inside Iraq helping Saddam? Were they there when Blix lads inspecting? Do the French know about this? If so, do they think we should give Al Qaeda a chance to reform?
posted by Postroad (28 comments total)
Enemy will take risks and seek a close, dirty war.
Military Briefing by General Wesley Clark

Remember Laurie Garrett's little email?

- If the U.S. unilaterally goes to war, and it is anything short of a quick surgical strike (lasting less than 30 days), the economists were all predicting extreme economic gloom: falling dollar value, rising spot market oil prices, the Fed pushing interest rates down towards zero with resulting increase in national debt, severe trouble in all countries whose currency is guaranteed agains the dollar (which is just about everybody except the EU), a near cessation of all development and humanitarian programs for poor countries. Very few economists or ministers of finance predicted the world getting out of that economic funk for minimally five-10 years, once the downward spiral ensues.
posted by y2karl at 3:49 PM on March 27, 2003

At least a dozen members of Osama bin Laden's network are in the town of Az Zubayr...

Oh man, look out! There are 12, possiblly 13 Al Qaeda members in Iraq!

There are supposedly 5,000 in the United States.
posted by 4easypayments at 3:52 PM on March 27, 2003

Not particularly surprising.... The scary part is the idea (suggested in the linked article) that the Al Qaeda participation might be giving Shi'ite civilians an alternate motivation to resist the invasion. They're not fighting for (the hated despot) Saddam anymore; they're fighting for (the beloved freedom-fighter and defender of Islam) Osama. It's pretty clear that large-scale civilian resistance of the invasion is a worst case scenerio for everyone involved (except, of course, for Saddam and Osama).
posted by mr_roboto at 3:54 PM on March 27, 2003

4Easy: it is one thing to have cells where the FBI is trying to root them out; it is another to have our military shot at. In fact, if this is true, as Instapundit suggests, then there is a direct link between Saddam and terror group we are at war with...and, in passing: TV now indicates Syria supply night vision stuff and DEBKA notes that Hizbollah also coming into Iraq from Syria. Here is Instapundit:
If terrorists are found, it would be the first proof of a direct link between Saddam's regime and Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington.

The connection would give credibility to the argument that Tony Blair used to justify war against Saddam - a "nightmare scenario" in which he might eventually pass weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

Hmm. It was Tom Holsinger who suggested this, based on the tactics the "Fedayeen" were using. Looks like he might be right.

Looks like some other people, who said it was absurd to see a Saddam/Osama connection, might be wrong.

And looks like Austin Bay, who said that invading Iraq would smoke out Al Qaeda, is right, too.

My guess is that POWs see more than a dozen and that Fedayeen tactics are used by more than a dozen "teachers." But keep being clever. You are safe and sound.
posted by Postroad at 3:57 PM on March 27, 2003

"If terrorists are found, it would be the first proof of a direct link between Saddam's regime and Osama bin Laden..."

but you can't blame the Anglo/American media for a lack of effort!
posted by zekinskia at 4:02 PM on March 27, 2003

"No connection", eh?

Good find Postroad.
posted by hama7 at 4:03 PM on March 27, 2003

Of course, this comes as no suprise. And it's only been 8 days into the battle. However we will still need to find evidence they are connected to Saddam and not a secret cell like in other countries.
posted by stbalbach at 4:08 PM on March 27, 2003

Wartime disinfo. They come up with stuff like that continuously: Umm Qasr fell immediately, Basra is in revolt, chemical plant found and now- this. It would be quite embarassing if anyone kept track.
The following statement is particularly clueless:

The presence of fanatical al-Qaeda terrorists would go some way to explaining the continued resistance to US and British forces in southern Iraq, an area dominated by Shi'ite Muslims traditionally hostile to Saddam's regime.

When of course: ... Mr bin Laden, an ultra-orthodox Sunni Muslim, is a religious enemy of Iranian Shiites. And Afghanistan has reportedly killed thousands of Shiite civilians and 14 Iranian diplomats and a journalist.

Relax, the Shiites won't be coming after the occupation forces because of bin Laden. It's Iran that's the Shiite militants' spiritual homeland. Bakr al-Hakim has issued a statement.
posted by talos at 4:10 PM on March 27, 2003

So these terrorists, they paint murals?

Sorry, I'm going to have to call bullshit on this one.
posted by elwoodwiles at 4:10 PM on March 27, 2003

Do the French know about this?

How on earth did the French come into this??? When will you people get over this cheese-eating surrender-monkey crap?
posted by Doozer at 4:11 PM on March 27, 2003

It amazes me that this feeble conjecture is what you chickenshit hawks are now clinging to out of rhetorical desperation. Remember when they "found" that chemical weapons stash a few days back, and it turned out to have been abandoned years and years ago? Why don't you wait for some facts to emerge before you start slapping your meat?

TV now indicates Syria supply night vision stuff and DEBKA notes that Hizbollah also coming into Iraq from Syria. Here is Instapundit:
If terrorists are found, it would be the first proof of a direct link between Saddam's regime and Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington.

Please, stop, no more orgasms. My cock can't handle it.
posted by donkeyschlong at 4:11 PM on March 27, 2003

Um... what DS said, but without all the swears...
posted by ubi at 4:24 PM on March 27, 2003

First off would you doubt that an active Al Qaeda member would turn down the chance to engage and fight Americans directly? Iraq is starting to get loaded up with all kinds of Muslim fundamentalists from all over. They are appearing in response to both an American invasion of an Arab state and to answer the call of many radical Muslim clerics for jihad in Iraq.

To try and connect a dozen Al-Qaeda now fighting in Iraq to some kind of state sponsored association with them is a stretch to say the least or most likely totally without merit or evidence.

In short: Keep yer pants on Tex.
posted by aaronscool at 4:24 PM on March 27, 2003

The BBC noticed the trend too:

The millions of people around the world avidly following the latest news from the war in Iraq could be forgiven for becoming slightly confused in recent days.
On several occasions, reports of apparently significant developments have later had to be withdrawn or downgraded - causing great embarrassment to journalists and military officials alike.

and also:

"I am deeply suspicious. Most of the false reports have been to the advantage of the coalition forces," former BBC war correspondent and independent MP Martin Bell told BBC News Online.
posted by talos at 4:24 PM on March 27, 2003

"If terrorists are found, it would be the first proof of a direct link between Saddam's regime and Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington."

It would also raise the question, when was this connection formed? If it existed prior to 9/11, then it reinforces the hawks' arguements for invading Iraq. But if it was formed after 9/11 and after Bush started calling regime change in Iraq, then it reinforces the doves' arguement that we have helped to bring them together.
posted by homunculus at 4:27 PM on March 27, 2003

Now don't go using Walk And Chew Gum arguments on Walk Or Chew Gummers....
posted by y2karl at 4:35 PM on March 27, 2003

It would seem to be a case of people of divergent beliefs coming together for a common cause. Nothing real surprising here.
posted by michaelonfs at 4:36 PM on March 27, 2003

Hmm, I checked the by-lined reporter's home newspaper (Gethyin Chamberlain, 'The Scotsman') and the story doesn't appear there. But perhaps it will be in the next edition (March 28).

But if this is true, isn't this just confirmation that the war is starting to destabilise the region, rather than making things 'safer' (whatever the definition of 'safer' is?). As for the suspects, I guess they could either have crossed Iraq from Afghanistan and/or the north of Pakistan; or come from Saudi? Either option seems far-fetched, but I guess if either is true, the US is in pretty deep shit (i.e. irregular troops attacking them from countries surrounding a country they are trying to bomb into submission).

Oh, and the sister paper, the Edinburgh Evening News, has a story that US commanders have now accepted that they bombed the market in Baghdad.
posted by carter at 4:55 PM on March 27, 2003

Oops. Gethin Chamberlain, of 'The Scotsman.'
posted by carter at 4:57 PM on March 27, 2003

From the FPP : "Were they there when Blix lads inspecting?"

So Al-Qaeda are the WMD's?
posted by Eekacat at 5:31 PM on March 27, 2003

skallas has it right. There are Iranian-backed militia now in the north. There are anti-Saddam exiles returning from Jordan and Syria to fight the US-UK troops. Basically, Iraq is now the prime opportunity for Islamic fundamentalists to take a pop at infidels right now, just as Bosnia was in the early 1990s, and just as Chechnya was in the late 1990s. They're probably organising jihad tour buses even as we speak from the bits of Iran and Pakistan out of the range of the state. After all, didn't Osama's last message basically say 'Saddam's a complete shit, but let's go and kill some infidels in Iraq anyway'?

It is not harmful in such conditions for the Muslims' interests and socialists' interests to come along with each other during the war against the crusade, without changing our faith and our declaration that socialists are infidels. Socialists' leadership had fallen down a long time ago. Socialists are infidels wherever they are, either in Baghdad or Aden.

Oh, and since the British picked up a pro-Saddam fighter who'd flown in from Manchester over the weekend, does this mean conclusive proof of an 'evolving' relationship between Saddam and the UK?
posted by riviera at 6:11 PM on March 27, 2003

Man, there's a fucking Jihad going on right now. Of course there's Al-Queda and everyone else there. The other night on MSNBC I watched a bus load of holy warriors driving to the border. According to MSNBC there were hundreds coming into Iraq per day.

CBC news (shown on CSPAN) just showed buses of Iraqi exiles in Jordan boarding buses to fight. Against the "coalition."
posted by dack at 7:05 PM on March 27, 2003

U.S./U.K. unilaterally invade Iraq: Arabs are pissed off.

Well fuckin' DUH!

It was frightening to watch the U.S. media disconnect last Friday:

ABC: The war is already over, hooray!
BBC: lots of coverage of angry Moslems headed to fight in Iraq.
posted by mark13 at 7:24 PM on March 27, 2003

CBC : and now, in tonight's hockey news...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:53 PM on March 27, 2003

For goodness sake. This isn't the first time that we've been lied to by the Blair Administration and it won't be the last. I mean, come on, this is the mob who tried to pass off a plagerised doctoral thesis as an 'intelligence report.'
posted by dmt at 2:40 AM on March 28, 2003

Al Queda fighting AGAINST Iraqis, Kurds claim. Look to the north near the Iranian border. Chicken hawks grasping at straws and losing any remaining credibility trying to substiantiate Duhbya's lies?
posted by nofundy at 5:21 AM on March 28, 2003

Are these reports from the same people who said there was a huge uprising in Basra when both Abu Dhabi TV and Al Jazeera camera crews were saying "we have looked everywhere and haven't seen any evidence of this"?

Why are we acting so doubtful of the coalition using disinfo when it has been repeatedly shown that the coalition used disinfo in the prior gulf war and when the US government actually created a department a few months back specifically for creating disinfo?

So, they begin this disinformation campaign to create unrest in Basra, hopefully effecting the media enough that the people in Basra actually fold like they expected, and what is the first thing the coalition does? It targets Iraqi TV, insists on tighter coverage restrictions, and hurls threats at al-Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV.

It's worth remembering that once Iraq was attacked, he said that he would welcome other Arabs to help Iraq. His call has already been answered by Iraqi exiles who have come in from Jordan to help fight against the US, so why should it surprise us even if there are some pro- Al Qaeda Shi'ites in Basra? As was also mentioned in Laurie Garrett's email, a huge amount of those who ran Al Qaeda aren't around anymore... but still support for Al Qaeda persists, even if it is essentially undirected. You can destroy the messengers, but not the message. Does it surprise us that this message has resonance in countries we invade?!

It's worth noting that although Al Qaeda is a organization that has supported terrorism, not all Al Qaeda supporters are themselves terrorists, in the same way that not all supporters of Sinn Fenn and the IRA are terrorists. There are certainly some people in the US who have supported Al Qaeda in the past, but most of whom aren't terrorists. Infact, most of them are people who contribute to our economy.

Does that mean that Bush is in league with Al Qaeda... or just merely accepting their passive support?
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:58 AM on March 28, 2003

Just like with the chemical weapons find, this story may or may not be accurate, but even if it is it doesn't change a damn thing. You don't "prove" the necessity of starting a war by causing something to happen after the war starts. elwoodwiles had it right: This is about as relevant as finding a mural celebrating 9/11.
posted by soyjoy at 7:56 AM on March 28, 2003

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