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Saddam Hussein's Support for International Terrorism

Iraq is one of seven countries that have been designated by the Secretary of State as state sponsors of international terrorism. UNSCR 687 prohibits Saddam Hussein from committing or supporting terrorism, or allowing terrorist organizations to operate in Iraq. Saddam continues to violate these UNSCR provisions.

  • In 1993, the Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) directed and pursued an attempt to assassinate, through the use of a powerful car bomb, former U.S. President George Bush and the Emir of Kuwait. Kuwaiti authorities thwarted the terrorist plot and arrested 16 suspects, led by two Iraqi nationals.

  • Iraq shelters terrorist groups including the Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization (MKO), which has used terrorist violence against Iran and in the 1970s was responsible for killing several U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians.

  • Iraq shelters several prominent Palestinian terrorist organizations in Baghdad, including the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), which is known for aerial attacks against Israel and is headed by Abu Abbas, who carried out the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered U.S. citizen Leon Klinghoffer.

  • Iraq shelters the Abu Nidal Organization, an international terrorist organization that has carried out terrorist attacks in twenty countries, killing or injuring almost 900 people. Targets have included the United States and several other Western nations. Each of these groups have offices in Baghdad and receive training, logistical assistance, and financial aid from the government of Iraq.

  • In April 2002, Saddam Hussein increased from $10,000 to $25,000 the money offered to families of Palestinian suicide/homicide bombers. The rules for rewarding suicide/homicide bombers are strict and insist that only someone who blows himself up with a belt of explosives gets the full payment. Payments are made on a strict scale, with different amounts for wounds, disablement, death as a "martyr" and $25,000 for a suicide bomber. Mahmoud Besharat, a representative on the West Bank who is handing out to families the money from Saddam, said, "You would have to ask President Saddam why he is being so generous. But he is a revolutionary and he wants this distinguished struggle, the intifada, to continue."

  • Former Iraqi military officers have described a highly secret terrorist training facility in Iraq known as Salman Pak, where both Iraqis and non-Iraqi Arabs receive training on hijacking planes and trains, planting explosives in cities, sabotage, and assassinations.

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