Bad Company

Everyone’s arguing over the Iraq connection. But don’t overlook al Qaeda’s ties to Iran.
From the August 2004 Trumpet Print Edition

“The new discovery about Iran’s assistance to al Qaeda is among the most surprising new findings” of the September 11 commission, according to Newsweek (July 17). But this comes as no surprise to the Trumpet. Since the war on terrorism began, editor in chief Gerald Flurry has maintained that the head of the terrorist snake is Iran and that the only successful strategy to solve America’s terrorist problem would involve neutralizing this terrorist-sponsoring nation. Now we see some in the general media questioning whether the United States, in its war on terror, has indeed been avoiding the real terrorist threat.

With the release of findings from the 9/11 commission in June and July, strong and long-running connections between Iran and al Qaeda are coming to light. The U.S. federal panel has uncovered evidence of al Qaeda developing alliances with government officials in Iran, in addition to Sudan and Pakistan, throughout the 1990s. Specifically, the commission outlined evidence that Osama bin Laden most likely played a role in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers U.S. military complex in Saudi Arabia—an operation killing 19 U.S. servicemen that was previously blamed solely on Iranian factors.

Because of the historical animosity between the Sunni and Shiite factions of Islam, the U.S. had assumed that the Sunni Bin Laden wouldn’t cooperate with Iranian Shiites. A common enemy, however, proved motivation enough. Reportedly, after discussions concerning Shia-Sunni cooperation in the mid-1990s, al Qaeda terror operatives traveled to Iran and Hezbollah camps in Lebanon for training in explosives, intelligence and security.

Then, the commission reported, there are “strong indications” that during the late 1990s, elements of the Iranian government “frequently turned a blind eye” to the stream of recruiters, travel facilitators and document forgers who flew in and out of al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan (Newsweek, June 16). During the Afghanistan campaign, al Qaeda militants allegedly sought refuge in Iran. Top al Qaeda operatives the U.S. believes are still being protected inside Iran include senior Bin Laden lieutenant Saif al-Adel and one of Osama’s sons, Saad bin Laden.

Not only is al Qaeda clearly linked with Iran and its Lebanon-based terrorist organization Hezbollah, U.S. intelligence officials said there is evidence specifically linking the September 11 attacks to Iran. According to these officials, two of the hijackers had visited the Iranian ambassador in Malaysia before going to America in January 2001 (Geostrategy-Direct.com, June 26). What is more, as Time magazine and Newsweek recently reported, the 9/11 commission has uncovered evidence suggesting Iranian officials helped facilitate the entry into the U.S. of 8 to 10 of the 14 “muscle” hijackers (those who helped take control of the four 9/11 aircraft) by allowing them unhindered travel to and from Afghanistan through Iran during the year leading up to 9/11. A recently discovered National Security Agency memo from December 2001 states that “Iranian border inspectors were instructed not to place stamps in the passports of al Qaeda fighters from Saudi Arabia who were traveling from Bin Laden’s camps through Iran …” (Newsweek, July 17). Also, the London-based Arabic-language daily al-Sharq al-Awsat of July 19 cited a source from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard saying that an Iranian general worked with al Qaeda’s deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to provide safe passage through Iran for nine of the hijackers (Stratfor, July 19).

These reports are going public at the same time Iran is becoming increasingly bold in its support of various other terrorist organizations, in its pursuit of a nuclear program and in its threats against the West. “They are in a global war against us,” said Michael Ledeen, an American Enterprise Institute resident scholar (New York Sun, July 2). He reports that Iran is a frequent host of Zawahiri and also other high-ranking terror masterminds.

“We have identified some 29 weak points for attacks in the U.S. and in the West. … We have shared our intelligence with other guerrilla groups and we shall utilize them as well.” These statements made by a top Iranian Revolutionary Guards cleric, Hassan Abbassi, at the Technical College of Tehran in June (Wall Street Journal, July 7), become particularly chilling in light of the fact that two Iranian security guards working for the UN were that same month expelled from the U.S. essentially for spying. Hardliners back in Iran hailed these men as heroes upon their return after being caught for surreptitiously surveying and taking photographs of New York landmarks, infrastructure and transport systems in a suspected reconnaissance mission.

All this merely confirms what the Trumpet has been saying for years: that Iran, the “most active state-sponsor of terrorism in 2003,” according to the State Department—is indeed the head of the terrorist snake.

But America is too weak-willed to effectively deal with this clear threat. As its track record and prophecy reveal, it will not be the U.S. that will solve the Islamic terrorist problem. Write for our free booklet The King of the South to prove to yourself that it will instead be a European force that will deal with Iran and its terrorist connections.