Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Is Bin Laden in Iran?

Al Sharq Al-Awsat says Al Qaeda might be planning its next attack with Teheran's support:
Who knows whether or not Bin Laden is actually in Iran? What’s certain – and this was previously revealed by Asharq Al-Awsat – is that some of Bin Laden’s children are in Iran and the story that is most fresh in people’s memories is that of Iman Bin Laden who left Tehran for Syria after great effort [was exerted]. Today, reports indicate that some Al Qaeda leaders have gone back to moving freely to and from Iran.

The reports indicate that Iran has begun to review its [political] calculations in anticipation of an outbreak of military confrontation with the US or Israel, or even in the case that sanctions are imposed upon it. The danger lies in the fact that this view is supported by many Arab and Western sources to whom I have spoken over the past few months; they all believe that the Iranian military threats are for media consumption whilst the real danger lies in the possibility of Iran using terrorist operations and sleeper cells here and there. This might explain some of the news reports that come out every now and then in our region about the existence of cells, or Iranian spy networks; however many Arab countries, Gulf states in particular, seek to downplay the news in order to avoid escalation with Iran.

What confirms the danger and seriousness of the situation is what an informed Iranian source told the newspaper on Thursday. The source stated that Iran actually used Al Qaeda in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as the informed source said that Tehran’s use of Al Qaeda elements “comes within the framework of Iran playing all the cards it can that could lead to harming America in the region and making it leave.” The source added, “The Iranians used Al Qaeda skillfully in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because of the current situation, it is likely that Iran will change its movements towards Al Qaeda in order to further benefit from it, perhaps in other regions.”

This matter is certainly understandable if we remember that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. However the burning question is to what extent are we prepared for all that?
Let's see, Obama's national security strategy declares that the US is at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates...so if Iran is an affiliate, what does that mean for US policy towards Teheran? Or, to put it another way, what does it mean about the credibility of announced US policies?