In 2002, the US Congress voted to go to war against Iraq. Because of diplomatic manoeuvering, we did not enter until March 2003. Why?
Although our Congress voted to enter into war with Iraq in October 2002, we did not actually engage in military conflict with Iraq until March 2003.
President Bush utilised some of this time trying to convince our major allies to support the Congressional resolution. He also met multiple times with the UN Security Council, and presented the case for going into Iraq. Kofi Annan proved to be intransigent over this issue, as did France, Germany, China and Russia. These nations advocated the use of diplomacy and increased use of sanctions, which the US and UK opposed, on the grounds that Hussein historically demonstrated a clear reluctance to cooperate. Encarta outlines the history of this debate in this link:
One of the truly troubling issues facing us in the debate raging over whether we were correct in entering Iraq, concerns the massive scandal that erupted over the UN Oil For Food program. The program which was designed to help the Iraqi citizens get food and medicines, despite UN sanctions, was a spectacular failure. Billions of dollars went to Saddam Hussein and his chosen suppliers. Under arrangements made with Kofi Annan, during a face to face meeting with Saddam Hussein, prior to his becoming President of the UN, Annan agreed to keep Hussein's choice of contractors private, under UN seal.
What has unravelled so far, is not only troubling, but goes some way in explaining why certain European countries, such as France and Germany, were so opposed to a change in status quo concerning Iraq. And the traces of ties to the funding of Al Quaeda are there.
We knew definitively, that Hussein had been sending money to Palestinians in support of their anti-Israel activities. That PLO widows and families benefitted from Saddams money, which he took from the Oil For Food funds alone, demonstrated his funding of terrorism. But there is more, much more to suggest his involvement in other terrorist funding, including Al Qaeda.
Clandestine bank accounts set up in Lichtenstein and Panama, were already under scrutiny as banks known to be affiliated with terrorist funding. In Lugano, Switzerland, a shell company MIGA: Malaysian Swiss Gulf and African Chamber sits next door to the bank. This company is one that both the UN and the US state is used as a central point for Al Qaeda to promote terrorism.
Because of the secrecy surrounding Swiss banking laws, following the trail is difficult, but not impossible. Here is what Claudia Rossett ( Rosett is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute. ) and George Russell discovered:
But even with that secrecy — and shortly after the Sept.11, 2001, attacks on the United States — both MIGA and its chief founder and longtime president, Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, landed on the U.N. watchlist of entities and individuals belonging to, or affiliated with Al Qaeda.
Nasreddin is a member of the terror-linked Muslim Brotherhood (search).
Nasreddin's longtime business partner, Egyptian-born Youssef Nada, also of the Muslim Brotherhood, likewise appears on the U.N.'s Al Qaeda watchlist, as do a slew of both Nasreddin's and Nada's enterprises. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill in August 2002 described Nada and Nasreddin as "supporters of terrorism" involved in "an extensive financial network providing support to Al Qaeda and other terrorist-related organizations."
The UN allowed Hussein to reap vast profits not only for himself, but his chosen business partners, which include allegedly the Interior Minister Of France, one of Chirac's top men. Saddam himself used monies from the program to build huge palaces and gave his sick sadistic son Uday, "toys" to torture soldiers with. Saddam Hussein grafted at least 4.4 billion dollars from Oil For Food. Meanwhile the average Iraqi went starving.
Another offshore company, Pacific Interlink received a large chunk of Oil For Food money, from Saddam. One of its main members is a little known individual, Abdul Rahman Hayel Saeed, who owns HSA, which was a Hussein preferred contractor. In fact HSA conducted the largest part of Hussein's business with Yemen. Since Hussein wasn't known for either honesty or integrity in business, the question is why was HSA so favored? And why did Pacific Interlink account for over half of the relief sales?
The US Defense Contract Audit Agency found that the Iraqi dictator paid Pacific Interlink $20 million dollars for palm oil through a UN approved contract. The price was 15% over price and diverted over $3 million dollars away from the relief fund. According to their calculations, if other similar deals with Pacific Interlink went down in the same way, well over $20 million dollars are unaccounted for. It is reasonable to ask where these funds went.
Our own 9-11 Commission discovered traces of money going to Al Qaeda through the Oil For Food program. You can read through the different audits in PDF, included at the end of this article.
In light of the discovery that many of our allies who were so vociferous about not engaging in war with Iraq, it becomes clear, that at the very least, money-vast amounts of money, were the basis for their objections, not ethical or humanitarian concerns.
The stalling for over six months of our attempts to began the war with Iraq, certainly gave Saddam ample time to remove, destroy or hide any WMD's in his country. I am hoping that through these articles, that people either for or against the war in Iraq, will take the time to read, research and at least make an informed and balanced opinion concerning this issue..
In law enforcement the saying" follow the money" is so germane and integral to this debate. For in attempting to trace the footprints left behind in the Oil For Food program, I believe we begin to see the reality behind the entire affair. Which has less to do with this Administration, and much more to do with a corrupt UN program, and the billions of dollars lining so many pockets.