Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More signs of an Iran/Al Qaeda connection

Ilan Berman, American Foreign Policy Council:
Have the Islamic Republic and the al-Qaeda terror network reached a new understanding? According to a bombshell expose in one of Italy's leading newspapers, al-Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is attempting to mend fences with the Iranian leadership. Iranian sources have told the paper that in an early June letter to Saad Bin Laden (one of Osama Bin Laden's heirs, currently in Iran under the protection of the regime), Zawahiri telegraphed a number of changes in the terror group's regional strategy aimed at preserving al-Qaeda's tactical partnership with the Islamic Republic. In addition to expressing gratitude for the Islamic Republic's "hospitality" in hosting numerous al-Qaeda fighters, Zawahiri has also pledged to reduce his group's attacks on Shi'ites in Iraq - previously a primary target of al-Qaeda operations under the direction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi - as part of confidence building measures aimed at remaining in Tehran's good graces. (Milan Corriere Della Serra, June 23, 2006)