Did Iraq under Saddam Hussein support Al Qaeda?

PRO (yes)

Carl W. Ford, Jr., MA, Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, on Feb. 11, 2003 stated in his remarks before the Senate Select Committee of Intelligence:

"Al-Qaida's presence in Iraq has grown since 9/11, including inside Baghdad. We know that Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi spent considerable time in Baghdad during 2002, and has a network of operatives in northern Iraq in an area under the control of Ansar al-Islam. This network has been working steadily to produce toxic substances which are ready for deployment, based on recent arrests in Europe. Zarqawi controls operations outside Iraq as well, as evidenced by the assassination of USAID representative to Jordan, Lawrence Foley, in which the perpetrators reported they were acting with support from Zarqawi. Though we do not know the specific operational details of Iraq's relationship with al-Qaida yet, we do know that neither Iraq nor al-Qaida would have any compunction about using WMD in terrorist attacks against civilians. Based on the weight of our current information, I believe that al-Qaida operatives inside Iraq have positioned themselves so that they could launch operations with little or no warning."

Feb. 11, 2003 - Carl Ford, Jr., MA 

Colin L. Powell, MBA, former US Secretary of State, on Feb. 5, 2003 stated in his presentation to the United Nations Security Council:

"But what I want to bring to your attention today is the potentially much more sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network, a nexus that combines classic terrorist organizations and modern methods of murder. Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi an associate and collaborator of Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida lieutenants.

When our coalition ousted the Taliban, the Zarqawi network helped establish another poison and explosive training center camp, and this camp is located in northeastern Iraq.

Those helping to run this camp are Zarqawi lieutenants operating in northern Kurdish areas outside Saddam Hussein's controlled Iraq. But Baghdad has an agent in the most senior levels of the radical organization Ansar al-Islam that controls this corner of Iraq. In 2000, this agent offered al-Qaida safe haven in the region.

Zarqawi's activities are not confined to this small corner of northeast Iraq. He traveled to Baghdad in May of 2002 for medical treatment, staying in the capital of Iraq for two months while he recuperated to fight another day.

Now let me add one other fact. We asked a friendly security service to approach Baghdad about extraditing Zarqawi and providing information about him and his close associates. This service contacted Iraqi officials twice and we passed details that should have made it easy to find Zarqawi. The network remains in Baghdad. Zarqawi still remains at large, to come and go."

Feb. 5, 2003 - Colin Powell, MBA 

Richard Perle, MA, former Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, on Feb. 23, 2003 stated in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press broadcast:

"With all due respect to Tom Friedman and Congressman Kucinich, there is a lot of evidence of relationships between Iraqi intelligence and al-Qaeda, a lot of evidence. We know that they have entered into agreements with one another, something that has been characterized as a non-aggression agreement, but it's really a mutual assistance agreement. We know that al-Qaeda operatives have been trained in Iraq by Iraqis. And there is still additional evidence involving meetings and arrangements and substantial numbers of operatives."

Feb. 23, 2003 - Richard N. Perle, MA 

Donald Rumsfeld, former US Secretary of Defense, on Sep. 26, 2002 stated in his testimony before the US House Armed Services Committee:

"Since we began after September 11th, we do have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al Qaeda members, including some that have been in Baghdad. We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical and biological agent training. And when I say contacts, I mean between Iraq and al Qaeda. The reports of these contacts have been increasing since 1998. We have what we believe to be credible information that Iraq and al Qaeda have discussed safe haven opportunities in Iraq, reciprocal nonaggression discussions. We have what we consider to be credible evidence that al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire weapon of -- weapons of mass destruction capabilities. We do have -- I believe it's one report indicating that Iraq provided unspecified training relating to chemical and/or biological matters for al Qaeda members. There is, I'm told, also some other information of varying degrees of reliability that supports that conclusion of their cooperation."

Sep. 26, 2002 - Donald Rumsfeld 

Laurie Mylroie, PhD, Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University,on July 9, 2003 stated at a public hearing to the National Committee on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States:

"Al Qaeda was a front for Iraqi intelligence in much the same way that Hezbollah is a front for the Iranians and the Syrians."

July 9, 2003 - Laurie Mylroie, PhD 

CON (no)

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (aka 9/11 Commission) stated in its June 16, 2004 report titled "Staff Statement No. 15: Overview of the Enemy":

"[Usama] Bin Ladin also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan [1991-1994], despite his opposition to [Saddam] Hussein's secular regime. Bin Ladin had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Ladin to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded.

There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Ladin had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior Bin Ladin associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States."

June 16, 2004 - National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States ( 9/11 Commission) 

Dr. Judith Yaphe, PhD, Senior Research Fellow and Middle East Project Director in the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University, on July 9, 2003 stated at a public hearing to the National Committee on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States:

"In my judgment, Saddam assessed Usama bin Ladin and al-Qaida as a threat rather than a potential partner to be exploited to attack the United States. Bin Ladin wanted to attack Iraq after it occupied Kuwait in 1990 rather than have the Saudi government depend on foreign military forces. Several captured al-Qaida operatives have said Usama refused to consider working for or with Saddam, according to press accounts. Saddam would have understood that after Usama had realized his ambition to remove U.S. forces from Arabia and eliminate the Al Sa`ud and other ruling families in the Gulf, that he would have been the next target. The threat would have appeared particularly risky to Saddam, given the modest indicators of a revival in personal piety and Islamist dress among Iraqi Sunnis in the last decade. He certainly suspected Saudi Arabia of encouraging Wahhabi pietism and practices among Iraq's Sunni Arabs and Bin Ladin's loyalists would have been suspect of similar anti-regime activities...

Czech and American intelligence officials say they are unable to confirm any meeting between al-Qaida operative Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi intelligence officer, identified as Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani. I would be disappointed if an Iraqi intelligence officer did not meet with al-Qaida operatives. He would have been derelict in his duty if he did not at least try to arrange a meeting. His purpose would have been to assess intent, operational capability, and recruitment potential. It would not have been sufficient for both simply to hate the U.S. Saddam always demanded total loyalty from and control over any group he supported. The evidence is fairly clear, at least in my mind, that al-Qaida would not be subordinated to any government, even if Usama had admired Saddam, which he did not."

July 9, 2003 - Judith Share Yaphe, PhD 

Saddam Hussein, former President of Iraq, stated in a Feb. 4, 2003 interview with former UK Labour Cabinet Minister Tony Benn broadcast on UK's Channel 4 News program:

"If we had a relationship with al-Qaeda and we believed in that relationship we wouldn't be ashamed to admit it. Therefore I would like to tell you directly and also through you to anyone who is interested to know that we have no relationship with al-Qaeda."

Feb. 4, 2003 - Saddam Hussein  

Ron Paul, MD, US Representative (R-TX), on Oct. 10, 2002 presented arguments to the claims presented by supporters of the resolution to authorize the use of military force in Iraq to the Senate floor:

"Claim: Iraq harbors al-Qaeda and other terrorists.

The administration has claimed that some al-Qaeda elements have been present in Northern Iraq. This is the territory controlled by the Kurds - who are our allies - and is patrolled by U.S. and British fighter aircraft. Moreover, dozens of countries - including Iran and the United States - are said to have al-Qaeda members on their territory. Other terrorists allegedly harbored by Iraq, all are affiliated with Palestinian causes and do not attack the United States."

Oct. 10, 2002 - Ron Paul, MD 

Wesley K. Clark, MA, former Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), on Sep. 26, 2002 stated in testimony before the US House Armed Services Committee:

"Thus far, substantial evidence has not been made available to link Saddam's regime to the Al Qaeda network."

Sep. 26, 2002 - Wesley Clark, MA