quasi in rem

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Sinsanity vs. WJS on the WSJ notes in an article today on the links between Saddam and Al Quaeda that: "It is an article of faith among war opponents that there were no links whatsoever--that 'secular' Saddam and fundamentalist Islamic terrorists didn't mix."

This article of faith was recently discussed on Spinsanity who apparently 'debunked' a memo linking Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, an Iraqi with Al Quaeda.

"The memo also details the actions of Ahmed Hikmat Shakir, an Iraqi living in Malaysia. Yet the only documented contact between Shakir and the Iraqi government is Shakir's own claim that he obtained a job at an airport 'through an Iraqi embassy employee.' And regarding the controversial meeting between Sept. 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta and Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague, the memo substantiates two meetings (one in December 1994 and one in June 2000) but notes that evidence surrounding two others, including one in April 2001 that has been cited by Bush administration officials, 'is complicated and sometimes contradictory"

Not so fast counters the WSJ:
One striking bit of new evidence is that the name Ahmed Hikmat Shakir appears on three captured rosters of officers in Saddam Fedayeen, the elite paramilitary group run by Saddam's son Uday and entrusted with doing much of the regime's dirty work. Our government sources, who have seen translations of the documents, say Shakir is listed with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

This matters because if Shakir was an officer in the Fedayeen, it would establish a direct link between Iraq and the al Qaeda operatives who planned 9/11. Shakir was present at the January 2000 al Qaeda "summit" in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at which the 9/11 attacks were planned. The U.S. has never been sure whether he was there on behalf of the Iraqi regime or whether he was an Iraqi Islamicist who hooked up with al Qaeda on his own.

Whether this Shakir is the same Shakir is still currently under investigation. And despite several captures, Shakir is still on the loose. When and if we capture him, the ties that bind these terrorists and their nations of support will be more clear.


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