THE IRAQI CONNECTION
IS SADDAM CONTINUING HIS WAR
Sunday, January 14, 2001
JACK KELLY Memo: Jack Kelly is national affairs writer for the Post-Gazette and
The Blade of Toledo, Ohio (jkelly@@post-gazette.com).
Laurie Mylroie, publisher of the online newsletter Iraq News, was an adviser
to President Clinton in his 1992 campaign. It's evident he didn't pay much
attention to what she had to say.
Mylroie's new book, "Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War
the 1993 bombing of the
subsequent failed plots to blow up the United Nations building and the
"The rash of terrorist
attacks directed at the
represent an amorphous - and therefore unpreventable - new kind of
terrorism," she concludes. "Rather, the
kind of war - an undercover war of terrorism, waged by Saddam Hussein."
Most of the information from which Mylroie draws her conclusions comes from
a careful reading of the evidence made public during the trials of four of
the seven indicted in the
indicted in the subsequent
We've forgotten what a near
bombers planned to collapse the north tower onto the south tower, engulfing
both in a cloud of cyanide gas.
The bomb was highly sophisticated and immensely destructive. Placed on the
B-2 level of the north tower's parking garage, it created a crater six
stories high. It was composed of half a ton of urea nitrate, with a
nitroglycerin trigger. Mixed in among the bags of urea nitrate was sodium
"Death is what you really sought to cause," said Judge Kevin Duffy at the
sentencing of the first of the
sodium cyanide burned instead of vaporizing. If the sodium cyanide had
vaporized, it is clear that what would have happened is that cyanide gas
would have been sucked into the north tower and everyone in the north tower
would have been killed."
The man prosecutors
acknowledge was the mastermind of the
bombing was Ramzi Yousef, who came to the
"Rashid the Iraqi,"
he appears to be Baluch in ethnicity.
area roughly the size of
According to a conspirator who turned state's evidence in the second bomb
plot (on the United Nations and the
also played an important role in it. "Ramzi Yousef showed up on the scene
and brought a number of individuals together and escalated the original
plot," testified Rahman Haggag.
Yousef was the only individual suspected of being involved in both the World
leave the country before the law descended upon the other conspirators.
The law eventually caught up with Yousef in 1995, as the result of an
accident. He and a co-conspirator were in the
bomb that could get through airport screening machines. But Yousef started a
fire while mixing explosives in the kitchen sink of his apartment. The fire
department came, and then the police. Yousef escaped from the
returning again to Pakistani Baluchistan, where Pakistani authorities picked
him up. He is now in a maximum-security prison in
Yousef displayed considerable knowledge of chemistry, a sophisticated
understanding of what the CIA calls "tradecraft," and deep pockets. But
there are no indications he is a religious extremist. In
frequented nightclubs where alcohol is served, which would be anathema to an
Islamic fundamentalist. Mylroie makes a persuasive case that he was an Iraqi
Only one of those indicted in the trade center bombing remains at large. He
is Abdul Rahman Yasin. He lives in
Though the evidence presented
screams state sponsorship, the government did not pursue this angle for,
Mylroie thinks, two reasons:
The FBI tends to regard terrorism as a criminal act committed by
individuals, not an act of war sponsored by a state. And if the government
publicly acknowledged that
compelled to do something about it. The
loath to take strong action against Saddam Hussein, regardless of the
Blaming terrorism on loose networks of extremists may provide an excuse for
inaction. But failure to take action against the real culprits puts the
lives of tens of thousands of Americans at risk.