Bin Laden Sought 'Joint Operations' With Saddam

An Iraqi intelligence document released last week indicates that Osama bin Laden sought to conduct "joint operations" with Saddam Hussein's regime six years before the 9/11 attacks - and was given the green light by the Iraqi dictator.

The document, detailed in the March 27 issue of the Weekly Standard, describes a Feb. 1995 meeting between bin Laden and Iraqi intelligence that was personally approved by "the Honorable Presidency" - an apparent reference to Saddam.

"We discussed with [bin Laden] his organization. He requested the broadcast of the speeches of Sheikh Sulayman al-Uda [who has influence within Saudi Arabia and outside due to being a well known religious and influential personality] and to designate a program for them through the broadcast directed inside Iraq, and to perform joint operations against the foreign forces in the land of Hijaz [Saudi Arabia]."

The document goes on to note that "the Honorable Presidency was informed of the details of the meeting in our letter 370 on March 4, 1995."

The document indicates that Saddam personally granted bin Laden's request for help with propaganda broadcasts and instructed his agents "to develop the relationship [with bin Laden] and the cooperation between the two sides to see what other doors of cooperation and agreement open up."

The 1997 Iraqi intelligence document goes on to report: "Currently we are working to invigorate this relationship through a new channel in light of his present location [Afghanistan]."

The reference by Iraqi intelligence to "joint operations" with bin Laden apparently contradicts one of the 9/11 Commission's most important findings that Saddam had no "operational relationship" with al Qaeda.

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