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Saturday, July 24, 2004

Clinton feared Iraq had given chemical arms to Sudan

July 23, 2004
President Bill Clinton thought Iraq might have provided chemical weapons to Sudan in the late 1990s under a co-operative arrangement between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, the investigation into the September 11 attacks revealed.

Mr Clinton ordered an air strike in August 1998 against the al-Shifa chemical plant in Sudan after officials in the office of Richard Clarke, then White House director of counter-terrorism, concluded that Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, had access to deadly VX nerve gas allegedly being produced at the plant.

Mr Clarke later said traces of a precursor chemical for VX detected near the plant were "the exact formula used by Iraq" and speculated that Iraq was helping al-Qaeda acquire such weapons.

The report says that in 1998 Iraq sought closer ties with Mr bin Laden and even offered him a safe haven. FR Reprint.

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