ThreatsWatch.Org: PrincipalAnalysis

Tehran Deploys bin Laden’s Son to Syria

By Steve Schippert

Any question regarding cooperation between Iran and al-Qaeda should be answered by news that Iran has 'freed' Usama bin Laden's son, Sa'ad bin Laden, in order to get an al-Qaeda foothold from Syria and project it against Israel. The degree to which Usama bin Laden’s son was ‘freed’ on July 28 is directly related to the degree to which he was imprisoned. It should likely be interpreted as a deployment, not a release. According to the German Die Welt article, written by Bruno Schirra, "From the Lebanese border, he has the task of building Islamist terror cells and preparing them to fight together with Hizbollah."

This is not only a significant development in the current war between Israel and Hizballah, but more importantly, a clear indication that the fight against Hizballah is not an isolated conflict. Rather, it is a center-stage act in the War on Terror and a crescendo thus far in the West’s war with Islamists – Suni and/or Shi’a – a war that was declared by word and deed many times over by Islamists, including but not limited to al-Qaeda. It is a war still reluctantly engaged and defended against by those who would do so…and left unacknowledged and denied by those who would not.

The Die Welt report will be surely questioned by some, but Bruno Schirra has proven a very connected and reliable source in the past, and that fact should be considered by those who may question the potential validity of Shirra’s full report expected Thursday at Die Welt (Die Welt - English via Google Translation Service).

Bruno Schirra is well connected to German intelligence. His reports from Spring 2005 in the German magazine Cicero on German involvement in Iraq were so embarrassing to Germany's Schroeder government that they prompted German intelligence raids on both the Cicero offices and Shirra's home.

He was the investigative writer who brought attention to Iran’s housing of top al-Qaeda leaders. Dan Darling shared the entire text of the article in November 2005. For the reader’s convenience, below appears the key paragraphs from that Bruno Schirra article as it directly relates to today’s news that Sa’ad bin Laden was ‘freed’ by Iran.

The author of this article was able to look at a list of the holy killers who have found safe refuge in Iran. The list reads like the Who's Who of global jihad, with close to 25 high-ranking leadership cadres of Al-Qa'ida -- planners, organizers, and ideologues of the jihad from Egypt, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, North Africa, and Europe. Right at the top in the Al-Qa'ida hierarchy: three of Usama Bin Ladin's sons, Saad, Mohammad, and Othman.

Al-Qa'ida spokesman Abu Ghaib enjoys Iranian protection, as does Abu Dagana al-Alemani (known as the German), who coordinates cooperation of the various jihadist networks throughout the world from Iran. They live in secure housing of the Revolutionary Guard in and around Tehran. "This is not prison or house arrest," is the conclusion of a high-ranking intelligence officer. "They are free to do as they please."

Saif al-Adel, military chief and number three in Al-Qa'ida, also had a free hand. In early May 2003, Saudi intelligence recorded a telephone conversation with the organizer of the series of attacks in the Saudi capital Riyadh that claimed over 30 victims, including seven foreigners, in May 2003. Saif al-Adel gives orders for the attacks from Iran, where he operated under the wing of the Iranian intelligence service.

For years, according to the findings of Middle Eastern and Western intelligence services, Iranian intelligence services have already worked together repeatedly with Sunni jihad organizations of Al-Qa'ida. "As an Islamist, I go to the Saudis to get money," the Jordanian GID man outlines the current practice of Islamist holy warriors. "When I need weapons, logistical support, or military terrorist training and equipment, I go to the Iranians."

The blueprints for the Al-Qa'ida attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 originated in Tehran. The man refers to witness statements, documents, and telephone recordings.

The full Die Welt article on Thursday may detail what is likely safe to assume: Sa’ad bin Laden was surely not sent to Syria alone, and Syria is quite possibly not the only destination.

In a recent analysis of al-Qaeda #2 man Ayman al-Zawahiri’s latest statement, The Zawahiri Proclamation: One Ummah, One Jihad, it was suggested that al-Qaeda’s ability to exert command and control is far greater than many may have preferred to accept. But today’s word of Sa’ad bin Laden’s deployment to Syria -- at the behest of the Iranian mullahcracy – reminds observers that not only was al-Qaeda’s command and control not limited to the isolation of a Pakistani cave, but in fact has in part enjoyed comfortable cover and concealment from an Iranian umbrella of security.

Al-Qaeda has publicly called for cooperation among terrorist groups, Sunni and Shi’a. Iran’s reciprocating response, apparently on July 28, should be observed for the clarity it brings to the War on Terror. There is little room for nuance and little margin for such error.

Update: Today's brief Die Welt article was written by Jacques Schuster (Google Machine Translation here). The full analytical article by Bruno Schirra on the same is set for Die Welt publication Thursday.

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