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The Iraq-al Qaeda Connection

Today's Washington Post provides yet more evidence of something we've already known for months: Saddam Hussein's regime and al Qaeda are working together. A true war on terrorism requires taking on both.

3:50 PM, Dec 12, 2002 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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THIS MORNING'S front page article in the Washington Post, "Report Cites Al Qaeda Deal For Iraqi Gas," should not come as a surprise. Over the past months, we have had several detailed reports of links between Iraq and al Qaeda. For example, in "The Great Terror (March 3, 2002)," Jeffrey Goldberg of the New Yorker described the relationship between Saddam Hussein's intelligence services and al-Ansar, a bin Laden-affiliated terrorist group in Northern Iraq, which a government official in today's Post says was involved in smuggling the nerve agent out of Iraq. In the current issue of Vanity Fair, David Rose reports on additional links between Baghdad and the al Qaeda network. And in October, CIA director George Tenet flatly declared in a letter to the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee that based on credible reports "Iraq has provided training to al Qaeda members in areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs."

What all of this means is that the president has been right in saying that the coming war to remove Saddam is part of the overall war on terrorism. Regime change in Iraq and the destruction of al Qaeda are two related fronts in one war, and both fronts should be prosecuted aggressively and simultaneously.

William Kristol is editor of The Weekly Standard.