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TerrorismNewly released Bin Laden papers confirm Iran, Al Qaeda allied as enemies of America

Published 3 November 2017

The CIA has released thousands of documents and other files recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, when the terrorist leader was killed, providing “invaluable insights” into the terror group’s operations, and confirming previous reporting on its ties to Iran. Though ties between al-Qaeda, the Sunni terrorist organization, and Iran, the Shiite nation that has been designated by the United States State Department as “foremost state sponsor of terrorism,” have been reported for a while now, they have often been discounted due to their diverging religious philosophies.

The CIA has released thousands of documents and other files recovered from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, when the terrorist leader was killed, providing “invaluable insights” into the terror group’s operations, and confirming previous reporting on its ties to Iran, Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal reported Wednesday.

While the authors acknowledge that it will take years for “experts and researchers to comb through this treasure trove of information,” they offered some “preliminary observations” of the material they have reviewed.

“The group has failed to execute another 9/11-style attack inside the U.S., despite bin Laden’s continued desire to bring mass terror to America’s shores,” Joscelyn and Roggio observed in the introduction to their report, “but al Qaeda has adapted and in some ways grown, spreading its insurgency footprint in countries where it had little to no capacity for operations in 2001.”

Though ties between al-Qaeda, the Sunni terrorist organization, and Iran, the Shiite nation that has been designated by the United States State Department as “foremost state sponsor of terrorism,” have been reported for a while now, they have often been discounted due to their diverging religious philosophies. The latest revelations mentioned by Joscelyn and Roggio confirm that the two collaborated – despite their philosophical differences – motivated by a shared enmity for the U.S.

An earlier release of papers included a letter in which bin Laden ordered his subordinates not to attack Iran, because according to him, Iran is “our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication, as well as the matter of hostages.”

In the newly released trove, a senior member of al-Qaeda assessed his organization’s ties with Iran and observed that Iran offered them “everything they needed,” including financing, weapons and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.” In addition, Iranian intelligence provided visas for some members of al-Qaeda and offered protection to others. However, the author of the report noted that members of al-Qaeda violated the terms of the agreement that allowed them to stay in Iran, and Iran, in response, detained a number of them. In spite of violating the agreement, the jihadist wrote that “al Qaeda is not at war with Iran and some of their ‘interests intersect,’ especially when it comes to being an ‘enemy of America.’”

The hatred shared by Iran and al-Qaeda towards America didn’t mean that their relationship was free from friction. Iran detained a number of al-Qaeda members and al-Qaeda kidnapped an Iranian diplomat to obtain their release. Bin Laden himself wanted to push back against Iranian influence in the Middle East.

Joscelyn and Roggio noted that designations and statements issued since July 2011 by the State and Treasury departments targeting Iran’s support for al-Qaeda have likely been based on the bin Laden’s letters recovered from his hideout, and they expect that “it is likely that still more revelations concerning al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran remain to be found in the cache made available today.”

This article is published courtesy of The Tower