September 22, 2003

Memory Lane--Terrorists in Iraq

Apropos of the prior post, here's a reminder: U.S. captures mastermind of Achille Lauro hijacking.

Abu Abbas, a convicted Palestinian terrorist who masterminded the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro on which a wheelchair-bound American was killed, was captured by U.S. Special Forces in the outskirts of Baghdad, U.S. Central Command said Tuesday.


The Palestine Liberation Front, one of multiple offshoots of the Palestine Liberation Organization, was initially based out of Tunisia, but relocated to Iraq after the Achille Lauro hijacking. His group also was responsible for many attacks in Israel.

While not al Qaeda, the fact that Abu Abbas was allowed to operate in Iraq (and train operatives/plan attacks) is a clear illustration of the fact that Saddam was willing to aid terrorist groups, and that the war in Iraq can legitimately be seen as part of the broader war on terrorism. Clearly Iraq was a state which harbored terrorists and therefore enabled them to act in the region.

Posted by Steven Taylor at September 22, 2003 08:33 AM | TrackBack

"a clear illustration of the fact that Saddam was willing to aid terrorist groups"

And the others were?

Posted by: Eric at September 22, 2003 10:31 AM

Just read the prior post (rss feeds tend invite reading in reverse chronological order)...

One has to wonder why then the Bush administration isn't touting these stories as successes if they are such credible evidence of Hussein's dealing with terrorists.

Posted by: Eric at September 22, 2003 10:40 AM

Because they know that they'd be laughed out of the room with them. Their only hope is to do the same thing they did with the Saddam-9/11 link - i.e., imply but never quite come out with it.

Very common in the propaganda realm.

Never seen in the actual fact realm.

And they know this.

Posted by: JohnC at September 22, 2003 12:12 PM

Eric and John, Saddam also sheltered Abu Nidal (until he had no more use for old' Nidal), and regularly sent payments to the families of Hamas and PIJ suicide bombers which were coordinated through those terror organizations. I don't believe Saddam had anything more than passing encounters with Al-Qaeda, but the record shows that he did court terrorists on a regular basis. (Oh yes, I know youre reaction -- "blah blah more propaganda.")

Posted by: Matthew at September 22, 2003 01:46 PM

I think there is an important point here not being made. Terrorist organizations can be supported in many ways, volunary and not, to many different degrees. The countries that have the highest levels of terrorist support through direct support or an inability to control terrorism - Syria, Libya, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc are far greater threats to us than was Iraq in this particular regard.

The Iraqi government's links to terrorist groups were just too tenuous to really provide a "realistic, credible threat" The links mentioned on this blog aren't very strong.

So saying that because Saddam sheltered a couple terrorists does not signify a threat. It is more complicated than that.

Posted by: Eric at September 22, 2003 02:59 PM

Well, the point is, it's not a black and white situation. The world is a very ugly place. A heck of a lot of it is due to the US messing around with our own brand of "freedom fighters". Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Colombia, you name it. Oh, the people of Iran simply loved the Shah and his band of merry death squads. And let's not forget our relationship with Saddam while he was gassing his own people. Geesh.

My point is not that the US is crap, but that even we find it terribly convenient to break the rules that you're setting up for ourselves. And what's the standard? We're right and they're wrong? I mean, really. Wagging your finger at someone else is pretty much the height of hypocrisy and everyone around the world knows it.

Oh, and what about our 60% share of the world arms market? Think that has anything to do with all the chaos and destruction? Didn't think so. Why would arm suppliers have anything to be responsible for? It's only after we sell arms to the various parties involved and they start killing each other do we have to spend yet more money on arms to clean up the very messes we had a huge hand in.

Yes, it's extremely complicated. There's a lot of crap going on. And it's going to be extremely difficult to solve.

But going around as we are now is only guaranteed to make worse problems. Not fix anything.

Posted by: JohnC at September 22, 2003 05:12 PM
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