Foreign Policy Blogs

Iran-Al Qaeda: Partners After All

Iran's Revolutionary Guard

It’s not exactly yellow cake, but the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the US Treasury Department accused Iran of aiding and partnering with Al Qaeda:

The U.S. for the first time formally accused Iran of forging an agreement with al Qaeda, helping operatives move money, arms and fighters through Iranian territory to the terrorist group’s bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The U.S. Treasury Department outlined on Thursday what it said was an extensive fund-raising operation devised by al Qaeda that utilizes Iran-based operatives and draws from donors in oil-rich Persian Gulf countries such as Kuwait and Qatar.

The story needs more flesh, but this is still pretty alarming. The American public has been told for years that Iran did not have a partnership with Al Qaeda and in fact likely viewed the transnational terrorist group as an enemy (Shia – Sunni battle), but this evidence shows otherwise. It would be one thing if Al Qaeda just had operatives in Iran, but the Treasury Department said:

.. it had sanctioned six al Qaeda members for allegedly overseeing this network. The network’s head, Syrian-national Ezedin Abdul Aziz Khalil, is based in Iran and has been operating there under an agreement with Iranian authorities since 2005, according to senior U.S. officials.

The key part is ‘under an agreement with Iranian authorities’. Like I said before, there is much more that needs to be fleshed out of this connection before we can fully accuse top Iranian leaders of aiding and abetting America’s number one enemy, but if ever the Obama administration needed a  ‘smoking gun’ to rally public opinion and pressure the Islamic Republic, this is it.

 

Author

Patrick Frost
Patrick Frost

Patrick Frost recently graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science - International Relations. His MA thesis analyzed the capabilities and objectives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Central Asia and beyond and explored how these affected U.S. interests and policy.

Areas of Focus:
Eurasia, American Foreign Policy, Ideology, SCO

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