(Note: Over the next few days, I will be blogging about documents captured in post-Saddam Iraq. Some of these documents were analyzed in a new study written for the military by the Institute for Defense Analyses. That report is part of the Iraqi Perspectives Project and is titled, Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents. Hereafter, I refer to the study as the "IPP Report.")
On January 18, 1993, Saddam's personal secretary sent a "very urgent" note to the director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. Saddam wanted his goons to "hunt" Americans present on Arab soil:
Follow up to our memo 7184/K on 20 Dec 1992, the [Baath] Party has decided to snipe (translator's note: or hunt) Americans that are present on Arab soil, particularly in Somalia, utilizing Arab, Asian Muslims or friendly elements.
The note was directed to the head of Saddam's foreign intelligence service, who was told he "should meet to study the method of performing the said directive and to notify me of your opinion as soon as possible."
One week later, on January 25, 1993, the Iraqi Intelligence Service sent a reply to Saddam:
In reference to your memo Top Secret Personal and Very Urgent 425/K dated 18 Jan 1993. Below are the groups with whom our agency has relations, and who have elements dispersed on the Arab land and have the expertise to carry out the aforementioned mission.
Eleven terrorist groups/individuals were listed including: (1) the Abu Nidal Organization (aka the Fatah Revolutionary Council), (2) the Palestinian Liberation Front, or "PLF" (3) Force 17, (4) an obscure group called the "Organization of AI-Jihad and AI-Tajdid," (5) the Al-Murabitun Organization, (6) The Palestinian Abd-al-Bari AI-Duwayk (Abu Dawud), (7) Abd-al-Fattah Abd-al-Latif Fakhuri (Abu Yihya), (8) the Egyptian Islamic Jihad Organization, or "EIJ" (9) the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, or "JUI", (10) the Islamic Afghani Party, or Hezb-e Islami and (11) the Pakistani Scholars Party.
Saddam was clearly keeping some nasty company. The Abu Nidal Organization was one of the most deadly terrorist organizations of the 1980's, having killed hundreds and wounded hundreds more.
But what is particularly interesting about this document is that the IIS noted its relationship with two parties that are directly allied with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda (the Egyptian Islamic Jihad Organization, which is one of the core groups that makes up al Qaeda, and the Islamic Afghani Party, which has allied with bin Laden since the 1980's) and one group which is, in many ways, the mother organization for the Taliban (the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam).
In coming posts we will explore the ties between Saddam's regime and these three groups, including what Saddam's intelligence files say about these relationships. It is clear that Saddam saw his support for all of these organizations in the context of striking his enemies, especially Americans.
After all, the IIS said these groups, including core al Qaeda members, were ready to "hunt" Americans.