Friday, February 24, 2012

Devil's Wedding Bells: the marriage of Iran & al Qaeda

Al-Qaeda's Big Fat Iranian Wedding -Clifford D. May 

The Bush administration waged what it called a Global War on Terrorism. Yet against Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, no serious actions were ever taken. President Obama is waging what he calls a “war against al-Qaeda and its affiliates.” Yet he and his advisers are reluctant to articulate what has become indisputable: Iran and al-Qaeda are affiliated.

Senior Obama officials have come closer to calling a spade a spade: Last week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda as a “longstanding . . . marriage.” But you had to listen carefully to hear him say that.

"Iran has harbored al-Qaeda leaders, facilitators,” Clapper told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. They have been “under house-arrest conditions. [Iran’s rulers] have had this sort of standoff arrangement with al-Qaeda, allowing [al-Qaeda] to exist [inside Iran], but not to foment any operations directly from Iran, because they’re very sensitive about, ‘Hey, we might come after them there as well.’ . . . So there has been this longstanding, as I say, kind of, shotgun marriage, or marriage of convenience. I think, probably, the Iranians may think that they might use, perhaps, al-Qaeda in the future as a surrogate or proxy.”

Not quite a model of analytic clarity but, as I said, at least it approaches reality (and do note the cryptic warning about Iran deploying al-Qaeda terrorists down the road).

Also last week: The U.S. Treasury Department designated the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) as a sponsor of terrorism. And among the terrorist groups Treasury said MOIS supports: al-Qaeda. The forms this support has taken: facilitating the movement of al-Qaeda operatives in Iran; providing al-Qaeda members “with documents, identification cards, and passports”; and providing both “money and weapons” to al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq.

The terrorist attack that killed 19 Americans at Khobar Towers in 1996 was most likely an Iranian–al-Qaeda joint venture. But the Clinton administration chose to shut down FBI investigators in the belief — misguided but widespread at the time — that more moderate Iranians were coming to power in Tehran and that publicly revealing the Iranian role would impede diplomatic efforts.

[W]hy has there been so little public discussion of the Iranian-al-Qaeda relationship? Two reasons suggest themselves: (1) Scholars, journalists, and intelligence analysts who denied this association in the past are reluctant to admit they were wrong. (2) Knowledge conveys responsibility: If Iran is — and long has been — married to al-Qaeda, and if Iran is now just a few spins of a centrifuge away from acquiring nuclear weapons, it follows that strong measures must be taken against this growing threat.

That’s a message many Americans do not want to hear. It’s certainly a message many American leaders do not want to tell them.
[Jewish World Review]


LHwrites said...

Clapper was actually very clear and the relationship exists, has existed, but is from what I can find every bit as complicated as reported. In the 90's there was hope of positive change. In 2000's Bush had chosen to fill his hands with Iraq and Afghanistan instead of Iran and Afghanistan,; a poor choice but once made left little room for change. Obama has been forced to begin to clean up what has been misunderstood or ignored for too long. It took years to make the mess and with the many world players involved, it will not be a quick or pretty denouement.

LHwrites said...

By the way, hard to imagine Satan appreciates being linked with this situation.

Bruce said...

Yes I recall you have drinks with him occasionally. Please tell him I said hello.