I returned last night. Dr. Baram left me this thought concerning his opnions about the AQ/Saddam relationship. After some discussion he has allowed me to post it on the understanding that it is a summary of his ANALYTIC opinion and his recall of the events. Because of the press of current work he will not be able to document it in detail for those who might want that. The "report" he refers to is the new IDA/JFCOM report on the same subject. pl
Maybe you will find this of some interest.
Two days after 9/11 Saddam appeared on Iraqi TV and praised the attack on America. He gave no credit to anyone for the operation, but explained that the US was responsible for the death of many thousands of Iraqi children. He threatened that if it did not change its policy (embargo, support of Israel) it would suffer further such blows.
The next day his foreign policy advisers, including the Foreign minister and Tariq Aziz (Deputy PM), strongly recommended that he should change his tack (a brave move). He refused and the Iraqi media continued for many months to praise whoever did 9/11. It even implied that the attack served Saddam’s purpose ("It was not Bin Laden who smashed the four [sic!] airplanes into American buidings, it was Saddam’s luck that did this") .
Three weeks after 9/11 the foreign ministry establishment managed to convince Saddam and even though his media continued as before, the foreign minister sent a message of condolences to the US Secretary of State through Nizar Hamdun (Iraq’s UN Representative) and the US UN Representative. My impression was at the time that there was some political – ideological common denominator between them: Bin Laden actually had publicly supported "Iraq" – not Saddam – in its struggle against the US already in 1998. But I have never had any evidence of OPERATIONAL cooperation. So I am not surprised by the report. Saddam was no longer "secular" in 2002, but his version of Islamic piety and politics was very different from Bin Laden’s.