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Friday, October 15, 2004

Scotsman.com News - International - Saddam bankrolled Palestinian terrorists

The link between Saddam and terror was always clear, but since it was only terror against Israelis, no one is too upset over it. -EoZ

SADDAM Hussein’s links to terrorism have been proven by documents showing he helped to fund the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The PFLP, whose history of terrorism dates back to the "black September" hijackings of 1970, was personally vetted by Saddam to receive oil vouchers worth £40 million.

The deal has been uncovered by US investigators, trawling millions of pages of documents showing a network of diplomats bribed by Saddam’s regimes, and political parties who qualified for backhanded payments from Baghdad.

The Iraq Survey Group (ISG), which is still working its way through 20,000 boxes of documents from Saddam’s Baath party discovered only recently, found a list of pressure groups bankrolled by Saddam.

Using the United Nations’ own oil-for-food scheme - ironically intended as a sanction to control the behaviour of his dictatorship - Saddam gave Awad Ammora & Partners, a Syrian company, two million barrels of oil.

Documents handed over to US authorities by a former Iraqi oil minister only four months ago show that this was a front for the PFLP - which was then embarked on a spate of car bombings aimed at Israeli officials.

The Iraqi records show only one six-month period - suggesting the payments could go on for much longer. While some allocations to the likes of Russian political parties were not cashed in, the PFLP oil deal was carried out in full.

Since its inception after the Six-Day War of 1967, the PFLP has been dedicated to violence - and for this reason split from the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) when it accepted the peace process.

Its first atrocity came in September 1970 when its members hijacked four aircraft bound for the United States. All planes were blown up on the ground after the passengers were evacuated. A hijacking at Lod airport in Israel two years later left 24 dead.

It is now devoted to thwarting the "roadmap" plan for peace in the Middle East - recently mainly through a campaign of car bombs.

While the PLO has been rehabilitated into the political process, the PFLP has remained opposed to it. On Wednesday, it issued a statement saying it had joined forces with Hamas, the main Palestinian terrorist group, in a machine gun attack on a busload of Israeli soldiers.

Earlier last week, it launched a rocket attack at an Israeli kibbutz.

Interviews from Iraqi officials captured by US troops confirm that Saddam saw himself as the potential "liberator" of Palestine. Taped conversations have been uncovered from 1991 saying he wanted to deploy biological warfare on "the Israeli cities - all of them".

Debriefings from Iraqi regime members have also disclosed that "Saddam was conscious of Israel’s WMD arsenal and saw Israel as a formidable challenge".

Three years ago, Saddam gave a speech on Iraqi television saying "there can never be stability, security of peace in the Middle East so long as there are immigrant Jews in the land of Palestine".

His financial support also extended to Abu Al-Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Front - another terrorist group - who was allocated 11.5 million barrels of oil.

The PLO is also named as a main beneficiary from Saddam’s scheme - receiving four million barrels under its own name and five million barrels for its "political bureau". The cash was again passed through Syria, a known conduit for Palestinian terror organisations.