Iran: Victim of al-Qaeda?
The London-based Iran Mania, a news website run by Iranian dissidents, reports that Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations has written a letter to the US Department of Defense denying reports that Iran is harboring the man thought to be the #3 terrorist in al-Qaeda, Saif al-Adel, among the many that the Islamic Republic has already admitted to holding under 'house arrest.'
The network has recently aired a report claiming that Iran has harbored al-Qaeda No. 3 man, Saif al-Adel, in its territory in order to replace him by the terrorist group's ailing leader Osama Bin Laden as he was in a critical health condition.
Calling the report a 'blatant media fabrication and a mere lie', the mission said in its letter that as one of the primary victims of al-Qaeda terrorist acts in Afghanistan, Iran has repeatedly condemned the terrorist group.
Is Iran harboring (or, holding under 'house arrest') Saif al-Adel? The US Intelligence Community has reason to be rather convinced, it appears. However, that specific detail is not the issue. What is important is to understand and discount the nature of the Iranian denial, itself the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism.
The letter went on to say that "neither the acts of terrorism nor the terrorist group of al-Qaeda are considered as Islamic." Perhaps it is implied here that the "acts of terrorism [and] the terrorist group of" the Shi'a Hizballah are Islamic?
Further, if this is to be taken at face value, how does Iran explain the Hizballah/al-Qaeda cooperation that lead to the Khobar Towers attack in the late 1990's?
While the Sunni al-Qaeda and the Shi'a Islamic Republic of Iran are indeed theologically opposed to each other, their cooperation in facing down their common enemies (the 'Great' and 'Little Satan' of America and Israel) is also clear.
Consider, for example, this year's Iranian arms shipments to al-Qaeda's Islamic Courts Union 'franchise' in Somalia. It serves Iran's needs to do so in exchange for uranium ore. Therefore, Iran does as Iran chooses and cannot claim otherwise and be taken seriously.
For those who still believe that American foreign policy is the source of conflict in the Middle East and terrorism from al-Qaeda and Iran (et al), the differences that indeed do exist between Sunni terrorists such as al-Qaeda and Shi'a terrorists such as Iran's Lebanese Hizballah will pit them one against the other in the absence of America at the cost of all Middle Eastern societies. If America were to pull all assets and embassies from the Middle East, the two sides would not declare 'victory' and live in 'Islamic peace' but rather commence to ripping each other to shreds.
Just consider the news out of Lebanon over the weekend that Lebanon's Sunnis are being warned of Iran-sponsored Hizballah death squads that have been dispatched to kill Sunni Lebanese figures.
Iran and al-Qaeda will cooperate against a common enemy and then turn to slaughter each other in the absence of such a unifying force. Make no mistake.