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Is Iran and al Qaeda working together?

Interesting Article: "Iran rejects U.S. allegation on al Qaeda operative" by REUTERS / Tehran published Sunday, December 25, 2011

An interesting article mentioned that Iran rejected as "completely baseless" U.S. allegations that it was harboring an al Qaeda member who is accused of operating as a facilitator and financier for the group from the Islamic Republic, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Sunday. The United States announced Thursday that it was establishing a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to Syrian-born Yasin al-Suri, who is also known as Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil. Al-Suri has been accused of helping move money and recruits through Iran to al Qaeda leaders in neighboring countries under an agreement between the group and the Iranian government, Senior State Department official Robert Hartung has said. Is al Qaeda and Iran working together?

Very recently, more than 10-years after the September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda attacks, a federal district court judge in Manhattan gave a Christmas present to the families of victims killed in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. U.S. District Judge George Daniels ruled Friday that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case. ((Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called the September 11 attacks on the United States a "big fabrication" by Washington that was used to justify the U.S. war on terrorism.) Judge Daniels had announced his ruling in Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al., in open court on Thursday, December 15, 2011, following a three-hour courtroom presentation by the families’ attorneys. Then Judge Daniels entered a written Order of Judgment backed by 53 pages of detailed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on Friday, December 23, 2011. The evidence was developed over a seven-year international investigation by the Havlish attorneys who pursued the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation regarding an apparent link between Iran, Hezbollah, and the 9/11 hijackers, following the Commission’s own eleventh-hour discovery of significant National Security Agency (“NSA”) intercepts: “We believe this topic requires further investigation by the U.S. government.” 9/11 Commission Report, p. 241. Attorneys emphasized that it is important to understand that Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda formed a terror alliance in the early 1990s. The attorneys cited their national security and intelligence experts, including Dr. Patrick Clawson, Dr. Bruce Tefft, Clare Lopez, Kenneth Timmerman, Dr. Ronen Bergman, Edgar Adamson, and 9/11 Commission staff members Dietrich Snell, Dr. Daniel Byman, and Janice Kephart, as well as the published writings of Robert Baer, to explain how the pragmatic terror leaders overcame the Sunni-Shi’a divide in order to confront the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel (the “Lesser Satan”). Iran and Hezbollah then provided training to members of al Qaeda in, among other things, the use of explosives to destroy large buildings. The Iran-Hezbollah-al Qaeda alliance led to terror strikes against the U.S. at Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia (1996), the simultaneous U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania (1998), and the USS Cole (2000). Now, given that Al Qaeda is Sunni and Iran majority Shi’a, there is a thought within the foreign policy establishment that has long maintained that Iran’s Shia rulers despise the Sunnis of al Qaeda; that the enmity is mutual; and that operational cooperation between them is therefore inconceivable. It also has been a longstanding article of faith that the terrorist groups threatening America are “non-state” actors, groups limited in their capabilities because they do not enjoy the support of national rulers with all the resources those rulers can bring to the table. Dissenting from that paradigm have been such analysts as Michael Ledeen and Thomas Joscelyn of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard. They have argued that Iran and al Qaeda collaborate despite theological/ideological differences; that many, if not most, of the Islamist groups waging war against the West are linked like strands of a spider’s web; and that Iran is the “terrorist master.” I doubt al Qaeda works hand in hand with Iran, but, there is room within the inter-connected terrorists operating in the Middle East wherein certain players have worked with one another for a one or two operations. This I feel is not the beginning of something much larger, but it is interesting that the State Department has issued such a big reward. Never before has a reward been offered for the capture of a terrorist financier. But the money men are vital links in the terrorist chain so targeting them makes sense. Also unusual is the amount: Only Ayman al-Zawahiri, who has been trying to fill Osama bin Laden’s shoes at al Qaeda’ main office, commands a larger bounty ($25 million). The second reason is strategic: al-Suri is an al Qaeda operative who, since 2005, has been living in Iran, working in collaboration with the theocratic regime, according to U.S. officials. “Under an agreement between al Qaeda and the Government of Iran, Yasin al-Suri has helped move money and recruits through Iran to al Qaeda leaders in neighboring countries in the region," Robert Hartung, State Department Assistant Director for Threat Investigations and Analysis, told reporters. “He is a dedicated terrorist working in support of al Qaeda with the support of the Government of Iran, which the Department of State has designated a state sponsor of terrorism.” Let us see how this plays out next year.

References:
http://www.eurasiareview.com/28122011-federal-judge-rules-iran-behind-911-attacks-oped/
http://townhall.com/columnists/cliffmay/2011/12/29/iran_and_alqaeda
http://www.kuna.net.kw/NewsAgenciesPublicSite/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2211699&Language=en


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