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Saddam had no link with al-Qa’ida, US Senate concludes

by editor2
September 9th, 2006

A US Senate report yesterday squashed any lingering concerns that Saddam Hussein might have had a hand in the September 11 attacks, concluding from evidence gathered before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq that Saddam had no relationship with al-Qa’ida and viewed the organisation as a threat to his regime.

Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which produced the bipartisan report, quickly seized on its findings to lambast the Bush administration for its repeated attempts to link the deposed Iraqi dictator with Osama bin Laden’s radical Islamic network.

Carl Levin, a Democratic Senator from Michigan, called the report “a devastating indictment of the Bush-Cheney administration’s unrelenting, misleading and deceptive attempts” to make such a link.

The White House spokesman Tony Snow responded simply by saying the report offered nothing new.

Over the past couple of years President Bush has acknowledged, with varying degrees of forthrightness, that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.

In the run-up to the invasion, however, senior administration officials – notably Vice-President Dick Cheney – played up supposed links between Saddam and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qa’ida associate killed earlier this year, and suggested Iraqi intelligence agents had met the 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta in Prague shortly before the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Centre.

The Senate committee report found no credible evidence of any contact between al-Qa’ida and the Iraqi government other than a 1995 meeting between an Iraqi intelligence officer and Bin Laden in Sudan, at which nothing was offered or promised.

It found evidence of at least two occasions, meanwhile, when Saddam specifically rebuffed overtures from al-Qa’ida.

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