Sunday, August 25, 2002

An Unlikely Benefactor

It seems the U.S. may have the late terrorist mastermind Abu Nidal to thank for stopping a new wave of Al Qaeda attacks. The Telegraph has reported that Nidal’s violent death last week was the result of refusing Saddam Hussein’s orders to train and lead Al Qaeda refugees in northern Iraq in a new terror campaign against America. Other than recent health problems, there doesn’t seem to be any reason why Abu Nidal would refuse an offer to continue his life’s work as nemesis of the West, especially given Saddam’s reputation for dealing with people who decline to follow his orders. According to the chief of Iraqi intelligence, of course, Nidal’s death was a suicide – he killed himself after being implicated in a plot to overthrow Saddam. All who believe that explanation are free to raise there hands. One possibility that does seem intriguing, however, is the connection to Jordan. It turns out Abu Nidal was one of five defendants found guilty (in absentia) last December of murdering a Jordanian diplomat in 1994. Could Saddam’s decision to kill Nidal last week be a way of currying favor with the Jordanians? Certainly with the likely U.S. invasion of Iraq moving forward, he would want to cement as many alliances with bordering states as possible. When the invasion is over and there’s a new government in Baghdad, these questions may all be answered.


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