"...Al Qaeda was apparently not in Iraq before this war... "
There is a recently released Pentagon study of captured Iraqi documents that indicates Saddam's links to terror groups including al Qaeda were extensive.
From "Saddam's Terror Links" article this morning on Wall Street Journal Review and Opinion page at opinionjournal.com:
"...The redacted version of "Saddam and Terrorism" is the most definitive public assessment to date from the Harmony program, the trove of "exploitable" documents, audio and video records, and computer files captured in Iraq. On the basis of about 600,000 items, the report lays out Saddam's willingness to use terrorism against American and other international targets, as well as his larger state sponsorship of terror, which included harboring, training and equipping jihadis throughout the Middle East...."
Among other things he provided extensive commando training to Muslim Brotherhood members whose leader was al Zawahiri, now bin Laden's #2.
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