The Iranian Problem Revisited

Evidence of Iran’s involvement in international terrorism is indisputable. Iran is the main sponsor of Hezbollah, which has been referred to as the “A-Team” of terrorist groups because of their organization, technical abilities, fundraising, connections and sponsorships. The 9-11 Commission has explicitly linked Iran, Hezbollah and al Qaeda; “Assistance from Hezbollah and Iran to al Qaeda. As we mentioned in chapter 2, while in Sudan, senior managers in al Qaeda maintained contacts with Iran and the Iranian-supported worldwide terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is based mainly in southern Lebanon and Beirut. Al Qaeda members received advice and training from Hezbollah. Intelligence indicates the persistence of contacts between Iranian security officials and senior al Qaeda figures after Bin Laden’s return to Afghanistan. (Page 240)”

Iran has sheltered al Qaeda senior leadership, by the admission of none other than al Qaeda’s number two in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in his letter to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Saif al-Adel, al Qaeda’s military commander, confirms this. He openly admits he planned al Qaeda’s Iraqi venture with Zarqawi while in Iran, with the assistance and support of Iranian intelligence (see the full post for the full extent of Iranian involvement with al Qaeda). Saif al-Adel, Said bin Laden, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, and a host of al Qaeda senior operatives are directing the global jihad with the aid of the Iranian government.

Dan Darling points us to further evidence of Iran’s complicity with al Qaeda: an article in the German magazine Cicero, which states Iran has actively supported Zarqawi’s jihad and “used Iran as an important logistical base.” Cicero obviously struck a nerve, as the magazine was raided shortly afterward by Germany’s Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA), the source of the information. Read Mr. Darling’s full post for the evidence. Of note:

Top of the list of Al-Zarqawi’s sponsors: the Islamic Republic of Iran and the hardliners from the group around the Al-Qods Brigades of the Revolutionary Guards, the Pasdaran… After the war in Afghanistan, Al-Zarqawi sets up new camps and safe houses in Zahedan, Isfahan, and Tehran. His European followers come to Tehran, bringing with them money and new passport identities and collecting instructions. Communication is handled through middlemen and by phone. The German BND listens in…

The BKA further dispels the myth that Sunni and Shite Islamist would never cooperate: “The fact that the two sides hate one another for religious reasons has never prevented them from cooperating very closely.”

The Iranian problem has been deferred to this point as the Iraq theater has taken precedence in the war. The coalition is working to smash al Qaeda’s networks in Western Iraq and has already turned its attention to Iran’s ally, Syria. Despite Iranian support of al Qaeda, the terrorists are failing to influence the future of Iraq. Success in Iraq is not only a defeat for al Qaeda, but strikes a blow at the terror masters themselves.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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10 Comments

  • Jon says:

    Iran has been paying Syria to assist Hezbollah for a long time now. What happens when the Syrian regime crashes, assuming a more democratic government takes over? What will Iran do to maintain contact/control/resupply/financial aid to Hezbollah? Democracy in Syria would ruin a lot of terrorists’ plans.
    These are tumultous times for middle eastern terrorists. Becoming a martyr must seem like the end of uncertainty.

  • leaddog2 says:

    The only question is: Will the Iranian mullahs be able to use their nuclear weapons before the the Mullahs are destroyed?
    If they launch anything, we must take out their supporters in retaliation. That will eliminate Paris, France, northwestern Pakistan and parts of Saudi Arabia. I expect Syria will be included, but the Iraqi’s can exterminate the Baathists there.
    Russia and China are too intelligent to be sucked in. The French and Saudi’s are not.

  • Tomo says:

    To me, the real question is: can Iran encourage Sistani to issue a fatwa calling for passive resistance to the American occupation, then when the American occupation ends the Resistance makes a concerted effort and this pushes the Iraqi regime to accept Iranian assistance. The Shiite Confederation of Southern Iraq becomes a client of Iran much as Lebanon was Syria’s client and Iran controls quite a bit of the world’s oil and gas — enough to convince their friends the Chinese to stick up for them at the UN.

  • Oded says:

    I dont think Sistani would be down with that. I dont believe he wants to be involved directly in the political process and I dont think he favors Iranian influence. It would not be in his nature to issue a Fatwa calling for resistance to the American occupation unless we way overstayed our welcome. My take on Sistani is that he is a truly spiritual and pious man who has handled his lot with grace and wisdom.

  • Kartik says:

    For all of Iran’s bluster, I don’t think they will do anything. It is harder now than at any point in the last 25 years.
    However, consider this :
    Everyone is so worried about Iran gettin nuclear weapons. However, Pakistan already has nuclear weapons AND is a country where Osama bin Laden is probably hiding AND the AQ Khan network was already found to be selling nuclear secrets.
    So what if Musharaff is co-operating for now. If he gets assassinated tomorrow, this immediately becomes a problem 10 times bigger than Iran ever was.
    Pakistan already has nuclear weapons, and is the home on MANY Al-Qaedans + the AQ Khan bazaar. How is Iran a bigger problem than this?

  • hamidreza says:

    Oded – don’t be so sure. As they say in Iran – “a good Molla is a dead Molla”.
    When Khomeini was in Paris and the Shah in Tehran, Khomeini repeatedly vowed to stay out of politics – but never clarified the line between the church and state. I see parallels here, except that the world has the benefit of the Khomeini experience, so Sistani knows that few people trust him on this issue.
    In general, Islam breeds a psychology that anything can be sacrificed for power, as that is what Allah wants. White lies “taqqiya” to help Islam is ingrained in its philosophy.
    There is some tension between Sistani and Qom. But have we not seen SCIRI and Sadr, supposedly at each other’s throats with their respective brigades, come together to win seats, when it benefits them both? In Islam, alliances are made in one day and broken in another. All Islamic vows and appeal to principles and piety is generally a populist campaign to get the masses behind them.
    A confederation of Iran and Shiite Iraq, controlling 300 billion barrels of oil extractable at $1.50 a barrel makes it even bigger than Saudi Arabia. And then northern Saudi Arabia where the oil is, is 50% Shiite.
    A “spiritual and pious” man does not make a man not hungry for power. Maybe he believes that through power he can force piety to the rest of society 😉
    I propose a test for Sistani. Is he willing to sign a document that says mollas and sheikhs and priests are not allowed to run for Parliamentary seats (as in western society)? Now this would be the minimum he can do.

  • Yeshooroon says:

    Jamison1, thanks for the link…
    If the information is accurate by Con Coughlin(what a name) then we should see a more overt attempt by Britain and the USA in the media to bring all this information into the light I hope.
    I hope counterinsurgent plans are to capture the Iranian agents and make special announcements by both Blair and Bush. This must be done to show Iran is complicit in terror in Iraq – then also link them to Hezbollah.
    It should be a special announcement broadcast by both nations to the media when they do capture enemy agents from Iran.
    They should make it very clear that it is considered an act of war against Britain and the USA.
    They must draw a line in the sand.
    Enough rhetoric, we’ve put up with terrorist support and involvement from Iran for close to 30 years now.
    Nations, responsible nations should no longer look the other way. Our government leaders have a responsibility to keep the public informed in our own countries as well as the world at large with the latest information.
    Joint new conferences or at least joint announcements should be made listing the ‘enemy’ insurgents financing, participation and deaths as a result of their blatant involvement in Iraq.
    Blair’s acknowledgement of the British soldiers was a start. But there must be much more open outrage and conditions of escalation so Iran leaders get the message loud and clear.
    But just as important, the public at large must understand what the Iranian regime is doing around the world and in Iraq.
    There must be a much more involved and pointed public outcry against our enemies in the media by specific leaders in news conferences calling all this to the attention of the media in each democratic and free country.
    Blair, Bush, Howard and others must step up and show when these issues are happening, who died as a result of Iran’s support, list them out so the people know, and then put it in perspective so they see the difference.
    On one hand there are nations coming together to build a new, independent and free nation. On the other is Iran who is oppressing their own people and supporting terrorism worldwide, including killing people in Iraq and destablizing the entire region in Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Iraq and most likely Afghanistan, plus who knows where else, probably Kashmir as well.
    One at a time, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc., sooner or later they must all be completely reformed.
    Public relations with these zealots does us no good. Public relations to the world to explain what these zealots do to people in the name of Allah, is more important in my estimation.
    This is indeed a long battle ahead of us, but one that must be accomplished in the end or our children and grandchildren will suffer for us looking the other way for entirely too long.

  • Yeshooroon says:

    Jamison1, thanks for the link…
    If the information is accurate by Con Coughlin(what a name) then we should see a more overt attempt by Britain and the USA in the media to bring all this information into the light I hope.
    I hope counterinsurgent plans are to capture the Iranian agents and make special announcements by both Blair and Bush. This must be done to show Iran is complicit in terror in Iraq – then also link them to Hezbollah.
    It should be a special announcement broadcast by both nations to the media when they do capture enemy agents from Iran.
    They should make it very clear that it is considered an act of war against Britain and the USA.
    They must draw a line in the sand.
    Enough rhetoric, we’ve put up with terrorist support and involvement from Iran for close to 30 years now.
    Nations, responsible nations should no longer look the other way. Our government leaders have a responsibility to keep the public informed in our own countries as well as the world at large with the latest information.
    Joint new conferences or at least joint announcements should be made listing the ‘enemy’ insurgents financing, participation and deaths as a result of their blatant involvement in Iraq.
    Blair’s acknowledgement of the British soldiers was a start. But there must be much more open outrage and conditions of escalation so Iran leaders get the message loud and clear.
    But just as important, the public at large must understand what the Iranian regime is doing around the world and in Iraq.
    There must be a much more involved and pointed public outcry against our enemies in the media by specific leaders in news conferences calling all this to the attention of the media in each democratic and free country.
    Blair, Bush, Howard and others must step up and show when these issues are happening, who died as a result of Iran’s support, list them out so the people know, and then put it in perspective so they see the difference.
    On one hand there are nations coming together to build a new, independent and free nation. On the other is Iran who is oppressing their own people and supporting terrorism worldwide, including killing people in Iraq and destablizing the entire region in Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Iraq and most likely Afghanistan, plus who knows where else, probably Kashmir as well.
    One at a time, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc., sooner or later they must all be completely reformed.
    Public relations with these zealots does us no good. Public relations to the world to explain what these zealots do to people in the name of Allah, is more important in my estimation.
    This is indeed a long battle ahead of us, but one that must be accomplished in the end or our children and grandchildren will suffer for us looking the other way for entirely too long.

  • Yeshooroon says:

    apologies for the double post…

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis