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Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company The New York Times October 11, 2001, Thursday, Late Edition - Final SECTION: Section B; Page 7; Column 1; Foreign Desk LENGTH: 546 words HEADLINE: A NATION CHALLENGED: BAGHDAD; Experts Doubt Iraq Had Role in Latest Terror Attacks BYLINE: By RAYMOND BONNER DATELINE: AMMAN, Jordan, Oct. 10 BODY: The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon brought immediate accusations not only against Osama bin Laden but against Saddam Hussein of Iraq as his likely partner in crime. A terrorist assault of this magnitude could not have been carried out without a state sponsor, the argument went, and what state had greater loathing for the United States than Iraq? This theory gained a following after recent reports that Mohamed Atta, believed to have been one of the masterminds of the operation, met with Iraqi officials in Prague. But intelligence agencies from a number of countries, including some with a strong desire to see Mr. Hussein fall, have concluded that Iraq was not involved in the attacks, nor has he given harbor to Al Qaeda, Mr. bin Laden's organization. "I wish we could find a connection, but we haven't," said a senior official in Jordan, which, like Israel, considers Iraq a deadly threat to regional peace. "Not that Iraq doesn't support terrorism, but not Osama bin Laden," the official said. Israeli intelligence officials told their American counterparts that they have not found any evidence of an Iraqi role in the attacks, either. The Jordanian official said Jordanian agents had succeeded in infiltrating some cells of Al Qaeda and had even sent men to Mr. bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan. Thanks to that intelligence, Jordan thwarted a plot to assassinate King Abdullah while he was on his yacht in the Mediterranean last summer, the official said. The plan called for a boat to ram the king's yacht, and for a missile to be fired at it from a Greek island, the official said. The king cut his vacation short and returned home. Just a few months ago, the Jordanians uncovered a plan to attack American and Israeli tourists in Jordan, and to blow up bridges in between the countries, the official said. This, too, was the work of organizations linked to Mr. bin Laden, he said. Israeli officials confirmed both of the foiled plots. One of the first things Israeli cabinet ministers and military commanders asked of the intelligence community after the September attacks was whether Mr. Hussein was behind them. The answer was a resounding no, said an Israeli intelligence expert. "I am sure Saddam Hussein is very happy, but not more than that," was how he summed up the Israeli findings. The United States has been looking hard for Iraqi links to Mr. bin Laden since the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, and pursued them even harder after the embassy bombings. "We would have loved to have found an Iraqi connection," said a former senior Clinton administration official. But none was found. "The F.B.I. was very clear that the trail didn't lead that way," the official said. That is what is the most frightening, he and others said: Mr. bin Laden seems not to need a state sponsor to carry out his attacks. "He is his own state, a global state," said an intelligence official in the Mideast. What Mr. bin Laden needs from a state is a safe haven and a place for training camps, and until now that has been Afghanistan. If he loses Afghanistan as a result of the current military campaign, he will move his operations to another lawless area, perhaps Chechnya, officials in the region said. http://www.nytimes.com GRAPHIC: Photo: A crowd in Baghdad demonstrated yesterday against the American and British military attacks in Afghanistan. Protesters at center waved banners reading, "Down with American Terrorism Against Islam." (Jassim Mohammed/Associated Press) LOAD-DATE: October 11, 2001 Nathaniel Hurd Associate Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) 162 Montague Street, 2nd Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 USA Tel.: 718-237-9145, x 21 Fax: 718-237-9147 Mobile: 917-407-3389 Personal E-Fax: 707-221-7449 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.cesr.org/ *The contents of this message may contain personal views which are not the views of ISP, unless specifically stated* -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.