For many of those around the world, Al-Qaeda is a name that brings up memories of lost loved ones, destruction, and terror. This has been a group that the international community has continually fought against in an effort to protect their peoples and cultures. Even Iran has claimed to fight terrorism, arguing that it has been part of the efforts to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups. However, it seems that the truth is coming to light about the regime’s activities. It is no surprise that instead of fighting terrorism, the Iranian regime may have been active in rebuilding one of the worst terrorist organizations, Al-Qaeda.
In Syria, ISIS has been losing ground to both Syria and a U.S.-backed coalition force. While the group built its ideal statehood on rape, slavery, and execution, which seems to be nearing its end, Al-Qaeda has been flourishing. How is this possible? According to the Trump administration, Iran has made a pact with this terrorist organization and President Trump noted that this pact justified de-certifying the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA).
Osama bin Laden trove
Last week, the CIA declassified a trove of documents from the 2011 raid that cost Osama bin Laden his life. This trove appears to confirm the relationship between Al-Qaeda and the Iranian regime. One of the details includes how Hamza, bin Laden’s son, took shelter in Iran, as well as about negotiations between Al-Qaeda and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which touched on funding and arming the Sunni terror group to strike American targets.
Research reveals that Al-Qaeda and agents from the Iranian deep state first attempted to broker an agreement more than two decades ago. In the years since, members of Al-Qaeda have taken shelter in Iran and over the intervening period, rebuilt not only their leadership, but also the number of foot soldiers available to them.
This relationship is not surprising to those in the intelligence communities who have known that the terrorist group and the Iranian regime have worked together at various points to spread their unique ideologies. Iran, although not always on the same page as Al-Qaeda, has never condemned the group or its actions throughout the years.
Iranian Regime’s links to terrorism
In fact, the regime has sheltered individuals from this terrorist group for years. At times, it appeared as if they were trying to cater favor with the United States by claiming they were willing to hand over those individuals from Al-Qaeda in Iran, although this never happened.
The Regime also sheltered Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of the Iraqi al-Qaeda, and groomed him using the IRGC. His group became the predecessor to ISIS, so the Iranian Regime’s links to terrorism are growing by the release of every document. This state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, has clearly shown that it is not only spreading its own fundamentalism through its militias, it is also using a known terrorist group to spread dissent within the global community.
“Iran will deny any relations with Al-Qaeda. Interesting is how Iran initially denied any role in Syria and Iraq. The status quo proves Iran’s lethal footprint in literally opening the gates of hell upon these two nations. The Obama years are over. Al-Qaeda and ISIS have lost their organizational structure, after Iran took complete advantage of them. Iran and the IRGC, however, continue causing mayhem…Despite their differences, the European Union and the United States should join forces in the long overdue effort to end Iran’s footprint in Syria and Iraq,” said Heshmat Alavi, a human rights activist in a commentary in Al Arabiya.
Ryan Trapani, a spokesman for the CIA, said: “Documents collected during the bin Laden raid, which have been declassified, indicate Iran and al-Qaeda have an agreement to not target each other. The documents indicate bin Laden referred to Iran as the ‘main artery‘ for al-Qaeda to move funds, personnel and communications.”
Last month, Donald Trump noted that Iranian proxies had provided training to al Qaeda operatives involved in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
In the same speech, he revealed that Iran had indeed sheltered al Qaeda after 9/11, and was quickly pounced upon by, among others, Paul Pillar, the former senior intelligence analyst who signed off on the conclusions that Iraq had WMDs.
This new release of information clearly demonstrates that the regime is not to be trusted, as it continues to play both ends in an attempt to protect itself. During the bargaining with the U.S. in the early 2000s, it is clear that the regime would have handed over the members of Al-Qaeda for the destruction of the MEK/PMOI. For the mullahs, the only thing worth protecting is their own power and control over the Iranian people, by whatever means are available to them at the time.