Monday, May 23, 2005

According to Dar al hayat, Allawi said that Al-Qaida #2 man Ayman Al-Zawahiri visited Baghdad in September 1999 using a false name.
Allawi believes that Zawahiri was here to attend the "Islamic Peoples' 9th conference" which was arranged by Saddam's deputy Izzat Al-Douri.

By the way, Izzat was in charge of the "faith campaign" that Saddam launched to introduce "Islamic faith" to the Ba'ath party. This campaign was obviously aiming at approximating the secular Ba'ath with the radical Wahabi groups.

The paper says that Allawi's informationt is based on intelligence reports he was able to have access to when he was the PM of Iraq.

This statement came when the paper asked Allawi to comment on what the Jordanian king said last week that "Iraqi authorities rejected a request from Jordan to hand over Zarqawi back in 2001 as we had evidence indicating his presence in Iraq at that time".

Allawi added "the conference which was attended by 150 people from 50 countries was-in its public form-a cover for secret simultaneous meetings among leaders and members of jihadis groups" and he continues to say "Zawahiri came and left after a while, while Zarqawi remained in Iraq and started organizing new cells in cooperation with the Ansar Al-Islam group".

Here's the full report (in Arabic).

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