Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Iran Harboring Al-Qeda

Today, there are news reports that "Sunni extremists" -- perhaps a new codeword for US media that are suddenly afraid to say "al-Qaeda" -- killed dozens of Shi'ia villagers in Diyala provence. No doubt, old-liners will read this as more "proof" that Shi'ia and Sunni can't mix.

If that's so, then why this?
One of two known Al Qaeda leadership councils meets regularly in eastern Iran, where the American intelligence community believes dozens of senior Al Qaeda leaders have reconstituted a good part of the terror conglomerate's senior leadership structure.
That's the lead from Eli Lake's NYSun scoop on the new National Intelligence Estimate, which is due out today, and it's still more evidence that the old policy canard that has kept us from seeing the true nature of the threat Islamofascism poses. Jihadist hatred of the infidels trumps their inter-sect hatred of each other, and we should stop pretending it doesn't.

As Michael Totten points out, Shi'ia Iran's support of Sunni Hamas and Islamic Jihad should have killed off this position already, but count on critics discounting the National Intelligence Estimate because it says Iran is aiding al-Qaeda.

Lake's info indicates the knowledge of a-Q's operations in Iran is pretty specific. The "Shura Majlis" he references is a leadership council; the other known meets in Pakistan.

The other Shura Majlis is believed to meet in eastern Iran in the network established after Al Qaeda was driven from Afghanistan in 2001. Following that battle, a military planner trained in the Egyptian special forces, Saif al-Adel, fled to Iran. Mr. Zawahri then arranged with the then commander of Iran's Quds Force, Ahmad Vahidi, for safe harbor for senior leaders.

The three main Al Qaeda leaders in Iran include Mr. Adel; the organization's minister of propaganda, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, and the man who some analysts believe is the heir apparent to Mr. bin Laden — one of his sons, Saad bin Laden. The locations of the senior leaders include a military base near Tehran called Lavizan; a northern suburb of Tehran, Chalous; an important holy city, Mashod, and a border town near Afghanistan, Zabul, the draft intelligence estimate says.

Is this, as Totten says, an indication that "terrorism has a return address?" Maybe -- although by today's rules of engagement, we can't take out a military base or a town to get a couple bad guys within.

But still, it's a fascinating bit of news because it opens the possibility of a show of force against Iran directed not at the Iranians, but at the a-Q leadership sheltered within its borders. That would be a fine shot across their bow; defensible as an attack on an old enemy, not an engagement with a new one, but still a very chilling warning to the Tehraniacs that they've crossed the line.

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