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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Friends - This comes from the United Nations Foundation's UN Wire. Fred Dettmer IRAQ: Bush Asserts Baghdad Link With Al-Qaeda, European Experts Disagree U.S. President George W. Bush on Saturday alleged that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has connections to al-Qaeda, calling Hussein a "dangerous man" and saying there have been known contacts between Hussein and terrorist organizations. "We know the implications of him [Hussein] having a nuclear weapon," Bush said during a political campaign stop in Blountville, Tennessee "We know he's had contacts with terrorists' networks like al-Qaeda." Hussein "would like nothing more than to use an al-Qaeda-type network, if not al-Qaeda itself, to be the advanced army to utilize his training and his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction on his most hated enemy, the American people," Bush said during a speech in Marietta, Georgia (Edith Lederer, <A HREF="http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20021103/ap_on_re_mi_ea/un_iraq_36"> Associated Press</A>/Yahoo! News, Nov. 3). U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said Friday that Iraq has allowed al-Qaeda to operate within its borders. "In terms of support for terrorism, we have established that Iraq has permitted al-Qaeda to operate within its territory," Bolton said (<A HREF="http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021102-14737418.htm">Washington Times</A>, Nov. 2). Several European officials and experts, however, have said the evidence is lacking. "We have found no evidence of links between Iraq and al-Qaeda," said Jean-Louis Bruguiere, a French judge who has spent 20 years investigating Middle Eastern terrorism. "And we are working on 50 cases involving al-Qaeda or radical Islamic cells. I think if there were such links, we would have found them. But we have found no serious connections whatsoever." European experts have said they have not yet seen any U.S. evidence of connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda, nor have they been able to independently prove such connections. There is little reason to believe there could be any connection because Hussein represents the type of secular Arab leader that suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden has said he opposes, they said. Talk of a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda connection is "nonsense," a high-ranking German intelligence source said. "Not even the Americans believe it anymore." "I have seen no link to al-Qaeda. No one has demonstrated it to me," said Baltasar Garzon, a Spanish magistrate who is prosecuting suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Madrid for alleged involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. "And therefore we have to be very careful not to confuse the citizens. One thing is that you don't like the Iraqi regime, that Saddam Hussein is a dictator. But there are many terrible dictators. That's not a reason to start a war with all the consequences it could have for millions of innocents." While there have been some signs that al-Qaeda operatives traveled through Iraq en route to other countries prior to the Sept. 11 attacks, there is much stronger evidence of al-Qaeda's presence in other countries, including Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and Iran, according to European investigators. Since the war in Afghanistan that overthrew the Taliban regime, Iran in particular has become a base for al-Qaeda operatives, according to French investigators. Saudi Arabia, which is publicly a U.S. ally, has nonetheless been heavily involved in funding al-Qaeda and in the organization's recruitment efforts, European investigators said. "If connections to a country are going to be the rationale, the Americans would have to bomb Saudi Arabia," a Spanish official said (Sebastian Rotella, <A HREF="http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-fg-noqaeda4nov04.story">Los Angeles Times</A>, Nov. 4). _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk