According to Iyad Allawi in a report from the Italian press translated, so far exclusively, by Mystical Achievement blog, Ayman Al-Zawahiri was in Iraq in 1999.
Baghdad, 23 May – (Aki) – “Al-Qaeda’s number two man, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, visited Iraq under a false name in September 1999 to participate in the ‘Ninth Islamic People’s Congress'”: revealed former Iraqi Premier, Iyyad Allawi, to the Arab daily, “Al-Hayat”. The Shiite political figure supplied to the newspaper certain information discovered by the Iraqi Secret Service in the archives of the previous regime which clarify the ties between Saddam Hussein and Islamic terrorist organizations. “Al-Zawahiri was summoned by Izza Ibrahim Al-Douri,” said Allawi, “[who at the time] was vice president of the Council of the Direction of the Revolution, in order to participate in the congress along with 150 Islamic authorities coming from 50 Islamic countries.”
According to Allawi important information was also gathered about the presence of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi[‘s presence] in the country. “The Jordanian Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi secretly entered Iraq in the same period,” he affirmed, “and began to form a terrorist cell, although the [Iraqi Secret] Service did not have precise information about his entry into the country.”
These revelations were released only following those made by the Jordanian king, Abdallah II (also to “Al-Hayat,”) concerning the refusal on the part of Saddam to transfer Zarqawi to authorities in Amman. Regarding those revelations, Allawi said: “The words of the Jordanian king are precise and important. We have proven [the fact of] the Zawahiri’s visit to Iraq, but we do not have the exact date of Zarqawi’ entry into the country, even though it probably took place during the same period.”
According to the ex-Iraui premier, Saddam’s government would have thus sponsored the birth of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, as well as coordinating other terrorist groups, be they Islamic or Arab. “The Iraqi Secret Service had communications with these groups through someone named Faruq Hajizi,” Allawi continued, “who was the ambassador to Turkey and was then arrested after the fall of Saddam’s regime while trying to sneak into Iraq. The Iraqi Secret Services were helping the terrorists enter Iraq and taking them to the Ansar Al-Islam camps in the Halbija. area.” In sum, the ex-premier maintains that Saddam’s government also tried to involve Abu Nidal in its terrorist network, and his refusal to cooperate with the Islamist groups became his death sentence, which was carried out in the summer of 2002.
This report about finishes off the argument that Saddam was not hospitable to international terrorism before we invaded. It will be interesting to see if the Mainstream Media covers this since it doesn’t coincide with their world view. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda says Zarqawi himself is wounded.
(ht: Soccer Dad)
MORE: Iraq the Model covered this story as well on Monday.