» Thursday, June 17, 2004

Iraq/Al Qaida

Asked the Prime Minister’s view of the relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaida, the PMS said we had always acknowledged that Saddam had created a permissive environment for terrorism and that people affiliated to Al Qaida had operated in Iraq during his regime. The Prime Minister had always made it clear that Iraq under Saddam had been a rogue state which threatened the security of the region and the world. Asked if those Al Qaida affiliates operating in Iraq had been doing so with the tacit knowledge or active endorsement of the regime, the PMS said she understood that the questions being raised today were the result of a report released in the US by an independent Commission investigating the September 11 attacks. Consequently, matters directly relating to these issues should be put to those concerned. Put to her repeatedly that the Government had never suggested the existence of a direct link between Saddam and Al Qaida, the PMS agreed. She was simply making the point that the Prime Minister had always regarded Saddam’s Iraq as a rogue state and that we had known that affiliates to Al Qaida had been operating in what had been a permissive regime. Asked why she was suggesting that there was a link between Saddam and Al Qaida when there wasn’t one, the PMS said that she was doing no such thing. She was merely setting out what the parameters had been.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. Can anybody imagine a more "permissive environment" for terrorism than Iraq today?

    Blair’s constant attempts to make us believe there was any kind of meaningful Iraq/al-Qaeda linkage were quite dishonest and shameful.

    Comment by Lee Bryant — 17 Jun 2004 on 3:27 pm | Link
  2. "Put to her repeatedly that the Government had never suggested the existence of a direct link between Saddam and Al Qaida, the PMS agreed."

    In fact the UK Government was never dim enough to suggest that the secular regime of Saddam was pally with the islamist Al-Qaeda. The Americans did, constantly, however. (see today’s Indy)

    Comment by Marek Ostrowski — 17 Jun 2004 on 4:14 pm | Link
  3. Is it not true the Saddamm with his secular Government far from providing a sancturay to them actively opposed Al Quaeda with its fundamentalist leanings regarding them as a threat to secular Government?

    Comment by Dennis Roberts — 17 Jun 2004 on 4:23 pm | Link

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