Boris Lvin (bbb) wrote,
Boris Lvin

911 - бен Ладен и Судан

Увлекательный рассказ о том, как бен Ладен жил в Судане и что делают нынешние суданские власти.

Видна связь бен Ладена с нападениями на американские посольства, видны реальные масштабы его богатства. Чего не видно, так это связи с 11 сентября. Но она как бы и не упоминается в статье.


Sudan, Newly Helpful, Remains Wary of U.S. Officials Share Files but Deny Ties to Foiled Attack

By Karl Vick
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, December 10, 2001; Page A15

KHARTOUM, Sudan -- To hear his old friends in Sudan tell it, Osama bin Laden spent his five years in Khartoum swimming laps across the Nile, counting his money and playing soccer with children from the neighborhood.

Weekdays found the exiled Saudi in his downtown office on Mak Nimer street, dressed in the traditional Sudanese turban while overseeing the construction, farm and trading companies that were his only apparent business. On Fridays, bin Laden frequented Khartoum's racetrack, watching his ponies run and drawing no attention to himself, unless a fanfare sounded.

Then bin Laden would abruptly plug his fingers into his ears.

"He said music was haram, forbidden," said Issam Turabi, son of Hassan Turabi, the ideologue who welcomed bin Laden and other Muslim radicals to the Sudan they envisioned as the vanguard of an international Islamic renewal. Issam Turabi, whose animals shared a stable with bin Laden's, smiled at the memory of the ear-stopping, which he called the only real hint his friend's "religious enthusiasm" might be excessive.

Whether wishful thinking or a more deliberate effort to save face, that is the kind of blameless picture Sudanese officials have been painting publicly in the turbulent wake of Sept. 11, while in private they hand over hundreds of intelligence files on bin Laden and his associates to U.S. investigators. Caught between a checkered past and an ambiguous present, Sudan harbors deep concern that it remains a possible target for future American military action.

That concern is as real as the twisted steel wreckage of the El Shifa pharmaceutical factory, destroyed by U.S. cruise missiles in August 1998 following the bombing by bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. At the time, President Clinton said the plant was producing nerve gas for bin Laden.

And although deep doubts about that claim have surfaced over the three years since, so has evidence that Sudan's 12-year-old Islamic government may still be nurturing seeds of extremism, according to U.S. officials and others.

Sudan's critics point to the alleged involvement of Sudanese diplomats in a plot this year to bomb yet another American embassy, this one in New Delhi.

Abdel Raouf Hawas, a Sudanese-born student arrested by Indian authorities in June, said the plan to leave a car bomb outside the visa section of the embassy was hatched by an al Qaeda lieutenant he knew as Abdul Rehman Hussain Mohammed Al Safani. American and Yemeni officials said Safani, a Saudi of Yemeni descent, played a central role in organizing the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, using the name Mohammed Omar Al Harazi. He also was involved in the East Africa embassy bombings, officials said.

In the New Delhi plot, U.S. officials said, Raouf told Indian police that the explosives and detonators police found in the car had been supplied by two diplomats at the Sudanese Embassy: its charg? d'affaires and its consul, who also served as the embassy's senior intelligence agent.

A deputy to the charg?, Babikir Ismail, also had knowledge of the plot and tried to prevent it by informing senior Sudanese Foreign Ministry officials in Khartoum and New York, according to a U.S. official. For his efforts, Ismail became the only one disciplined by Sudan's foreign office, which dismissed him and accused him of disloyalty, the official said.

"He tried to preempt it and he's taken the fall," the American official said. The case "is an indication that situations are not fully resolved and that claims of noninvolvement [in terrorism] are suspect," he added.

A senior officer in the Sudan Foreign Ministry denied that any Sudanese diplomat was implicated in the New Delhi plot and offered to arrange an interview with Ismail.

"He's here in town," said Eltangani Fidail, the state minister for foreign affairs. The offer produced no result.

A European diplomat said the Sudanese government explained the episode by saying "these guys were holdovers from the past. The claim is these were people who operated on their own as disciples of Turabi."

Hassan Turabi is the Islamic radical and Sorbonne graduate who engineered the 1989 coup that brought the National Islamic Front to power. The religious party, which has never enjoyed broad popular support in Sudan, forged an alliance with the military, installing Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan Bashir as president.

Ten years later, a power struggle ended with Turabi in disfavor and under arrest. But during the decade when he acted as puppet-master here, Khartoum was a beacon for those enthused by his vision of an Islamic revival. Among them were thousands of Arabs fresh from victory over the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. In many cases too militant to be welcomed by their nations of origin, they found a home in Sudan, which at the time waived all immigration and registration requirements for fellow Arabs.

Bin Laden arrived in 1991 from his native Saudi Arabia, where he was no longer welcome. He rented a house in Khartoum's upscale Riyad neighborhood from a man who would later serve as manager of the El Shifa plant (a coincidence, according to the manager). Neighbors remember bin Laden as quiet and gentle.

"Like a lamb," said Hafez Abuakar, whose brother, Mustafa, added, "I used to play football with these guys after prayers."

Testimony by two former bin Laden associates in the U.S. trial that stemmed from the East Africa bombings told a more sinister story. The witnesses said bin Laden formed the al Qaeda network while in Khartoum, sending minions in search of enriched uranium -- a key component for nuclear weapons.

A T-39 cargo jet that later made runs to Iraq was purchased, one witness said, with $200,000 wired from a Khartoum bank that U.S. Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said bin Laden helped found with $50 million.

Officers of the Al Shamal Islamic Bank denied the charge. "We are only chartered for $20 million, and our capitalization so far is about $3.5 million," said deputy general manager Ismail Mohamed Osman, after emerging from an office where he said four FBI agents were poring over records. He said bin Laden's accounts never contained more than $100,000.

How deeply the Sudanese government was involved in bin Laden's exploits -- if at all -- remains unclear. The Saudi exile was a frequent companion of Ali Osman Taha, a neighbor and Turabi protege who is now Sudan's vice president. Bin Laden was also an occasional visitor to Turabi's palatial home, though Turabi's sons and other Sudanese point out that the men nurtured somewhat contradictory visions of Islam.

"Dr. Turabi wanted to marry Islam to the modern world," said one Sudanese diplomat, while bin Laden was more inclined to the throwback philosophy championed by Afghanistan's Taliban, with which he would form an alliance in 1996 after being kicked out of Sudan under U.S. and Saudi pressure.

The diplomat said that "as early as 1992" bin Laden offered Turabi the services of his Afghan war veterans in Sudan's civil war, which the government had dubbed a holy war. "And we said no, no, no, this is something internal," the diplomat said.

But bin Laden did attend Turabi's annual Arab and Islamic Popular Congress. The conference, convened in Khartoum throughout the early 1990s, drew such groups as Hezbollah, Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and Abu Nidal. "Some Western newspapers wrote that there was no reason to worry about global terrorism this week because every terrorist in the world was in Khartoum," one Sudanese official recalled wryly.

Turabi's sons insisted that the congresses were purely political. Elsaddig Turabi said his father believed the Muslim community's right to defend itself extended only to conventional military means. "He doesn't believe in these special groups going around and blowing things up," he said.

Others, however, describe plotting sessions that went on late into the night during the Islamic congresses.

In any event, by 1993 the State Department had listed Sudan as a haven for terrorists. The country's U.N. delegation was implicated in the trial of the World Trade Center bombers. And the men who tried to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Addis Ababa in 1995 scrambled to Khartoum. Hassan Turabi claims to have a file on the incident that implicates several senior Sudanese officials, according to his family and his attorney, Ali Mohammed Hassanein.

After the U.S. cruise missile attack here in 1998, government ministers accused the United States of having faulty intelligence in Khartoum because the U.S. Embassy had been shuttered in 1996. Eventually Washington accepted a government invitation to send in FBI, CIA and diplomatic security teams to assess the situation.

A U.S. official said the process began slowly, with Sudanese officials denying for the first six months any history of terrorist involvement, then spending another six months conceding history but denying personal involvement. Cooperation improved significantly last July, the official said, and after Sept. 11 became "enthusiastic."

"People who once traveled on Sudanese travel documents no longer have them," the official said, of the most recent steps taken. Some individuals have been detained, and others have been expelled from Khartoum.

The biggest windfall to date, according to several sources, was 200 to 300 intelligence files delivered to State Department officials several weeks ago. The files are said to bear the fruits of years of Sudanese security monitoring of followers of bin Laden and other extremists during their stays in Khartoum, and since.

But while Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has publicly thanked Khartoum for its help, and the State Department's latest terrorist report credits Sudan with improvement, relations remain fluid. President Bush last month extended U.S. sanctions on Sudan, citing continued human rights violations in the civil war. And on Nov. 19, the undersecretary of state for arms control, John R. Bolton, said Khartoum had expressed "growing interest" in developing biological weapons.

The push and pull appears to have kept Khartoum off balance.

On Sept. 13, the cargo jet bin Laden had abandoned at the Khartoum airport five years earlier suddenly burst into flames. Sudanese officials said the fire was sparked by the inadvertent discharge of a guard's gun into dry grass beneath the conspicuous reminder of local history that has suddenly become embarrassing.

"The only problem with that" explanation, said a U.S. official, "is that the aircraft was parked on tarmac."

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