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March 19, 2008

Obama Wrong On Al-Qaeda In Iraq And Iran Connection

Topics: Iraq

Obama took a cheap shot at McCain today. It missed - he's wrong.

And as expected, the NYT jumped on Obama's wagon and accused McCain of stumbling. They were just as wrong as Obama.

Iran's involvement in funding, arming, and training the networks of Shia terrorist in Iraq has been an open secret in Iraq for years. And as Michael Goldfarb points out at the Weekly Standard, Senator McCain's comments linking Iran and al Qaeda, invite a review of what Saddam's own files have to say about Iran's support for al Qaeda:

Not only do Saddam's Intelligence files confirm that his regime had a significant relationship with al Qaeda, but they also provide more evidence of Iran's hand in al Qaeda's terror.

The IPP study proposes that we think of our terrorist enemies as cartels. In this sense, each of these parties competes in some important ways, but they are also capable of collaborating when it suits their interests. The IPP's paradigm for understanding terrorism is very similar to the one Michael Ledeen proposed in his book, The War Against the Terror Masters. Ledeen has proposed that our terrorist enemies are best compared to rival mafia families, who can bitterly fight one another only to band together when facing a common foe, like law enforcement agencies. James Woolsey, the former head of the CIA, has proposed a similar way of understanding modern Islamic terrorism as well. For Woolsey, terrorist organizations and their sponsors are capable of forming "joint ventures" to fulfill their common interests--e.g. attacking Americans.

And what did the September 11 Commission say about "cooperation on operations" between Iran and al Qaeda? (HT - Powerline):
On Iran, by contrast, the report concludes that al Qaeda's relationship with Tehran and its client, the Hezbollah militant group, was long-standing and included cooperation on operations, the officials said. It also details previously unknown links between the two, including the revelation that as many as 10 of the Sept. 11 hijackers may have passed through Iran in late 2000 and early 2001 because Iranian border guards were instructed to let al Qaeda associates travel freely, sources familiar with the report have said.
And back in October 2005, The Heritage Foundation wrote:
... The most immediate threat Iran poses to American national security isn't its nuclear (weapons) program. It's the safe haven Tehran is giving al Qaeda terrorists, who are planning and directing jihad across the globe.

... German monthly magazine Cicero, citing Western intelligence sources, claimed that as many as 25 al Qaeda thugs are living in Iran under the protection of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

[...] Iran and al Qaeda have been tight for some time. The 9/11 Commission said that al Qaeda passed freely though Iran before 9/11, including at least eight of the 14 "muscle" hijackers that commandeered the four ill-fated planes. After the USS Cole bombing in 2000, Iranian officials approached al Qaeda to propose a partnership for future anti-U.S. attacks. (Osama nixed the offer for fear of alienating Saudi supporters.)

Al Qaeda also collaborated with Iran in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. And U.S. intercepts caught al Qaeda operatives in Iran communicating with terrorists in Saudi Arabia before the 2003 attacks there.

And, though conventional wisdom has bin Laden somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistani border, there have also been rumors that he and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, are under Iran's protection.

Perhaps Obama and his foreign policy advisers might want to consider doing a little homework before they speak.

Posted by Abdul at March 19, 2008 6:30 PM

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