The Corner

Needless to Say

Actually, Kathryn, on the basis that the West should exolore every avenue, however fruitless it may seem, I have some sympathy for what Blair is trying to do in this case. But then there’s this, via the Daily Telegraph :

Iran is seeking to take control of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qa’eda terror network by encouraging it to promote officials known to be friendly to Teheran, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.According to recent reports received by Western intelligence agencies, the Iranians are training senior al-Qa’eda operatives in Teheran to take over the organisation when bin Laden is no longer leader…Recent intelligence reports from Iran suggest the Iranians are particularly keen to promote Saif-al-Adel, a notorious al-Qa’eda operative who is wanted in the United States for his alleged role in training several of the September 11 hijackers. Al-Adel, 46, a former colonel in Egypt’s special forces who joined al-Qa’eda after fighting with the Mujahideen against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, was named in the FBI’s list of 22 most wanted terrorists that was issued after the September 11 attacks.He is also alleged to have been involved in the deaths of 18 US soldiers in Somalia in 1993 and the truck bomb attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.Al-Adel has, technically, been living under house arrest in Teheran since fleeing to Iran in late 2001 with hundreds of other al-Qa’eda fighters following the US-led coalition’s invasion of Afghanistan. For the past five years he has been living in a Revolutionary Guards guest house in Teheran together with Saad and Mohammed bin Laden, two of the al-Qa’eda leader’s sons.Until 2003, al-Adel acted as bin Laden’s security chief and since his arrival in Iran he is understood to have struck up a close personal relationship with several prominent Revolutionary Guards commanders…Links between Iran and al-Qa’eda date back to the early 1990s, when bin Laden was based in Sudan. According to the US 9/11 Commission report, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards helped to train al-Qa’eda fighters, and the Iranians were suspected of helping al-Qa’eda to carry out the truck bomb attacks against an American military base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in June 1996 that killed 19 US servicemen. The growing links are being viewed with profound alarm in Western intelligence circles. Iran has a long history of sponsoring terror groups. The Revolutionary Guards were primarily responsible for setting up, financing, training and equipping Hizbollah, the radical Lebanese militia that now stands accused of plotting to overthrow the Lebanese government and seize power. Any increase in Iran’s influence over al-Qa’eda could have potentially devastating consequences for international security. Al-Qa’eda has made no secret of its desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction — including “dirty” nuclear bombs.Intelligence experts believe that Iran will soon have the capacity to develop its own nuclear weapons and Teheran is also known to have developed a highly effective chemical weapons programme.”We are looking at a Doomsday scenario here where al-Qa’eda finally fulfils its ultimate goal of acquiring weapons of mass destruction,” said a senior Western intelligence official. “And unlike other terror groups, al-Qa’eda is perfectly willing to use them.

Read the whole, depressing, thing.