5 years ago
“Iran is very directly supporting extremist Shiite groups which are killing our troops,” said Adm. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “There is no question they are shipping high-tech weapons in there…that are killing our people. And the forensics prove that.”
Around the same time, Major General John Toolan, the top Marine in Afghanistan, observed that the Marines in RC South are dealing with Iranian (and Iranian-trained) snipers. Now comes a report directly from the Treasury Department.
Shiite-dominated Iran is allowing Al Qaeda, a predominately Sunni group, to funnel funds and operatives through its territory, the Treasury Department said Thursday.
In announcing sanctions on six alleged Al Qaeda operatives, a Treasury official said the terrorist group had entered into a “secret deal” with Iran, despite their differences.
Treasury sanctioned Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, whom it described as a prominent Iran-based Al Qaeda facilitator, and five other members of an alleged Al Qaeda network that spans the Middle East and South Asia.
Thursday’s announcement marked the second time Treasury has drawn a link between Tehran and Al Qaeda. In 2009, Treasury sanctioned an alleged Al Qaeda associate, Mustafa Hamid, whom officials said acted as an interlocutor to the group and Tehran. At the time, Treasury sanctioned three other alleged Al Qaeda operatives, including Osama Bin Laden’s son, Sa’ad bin Laden, who had been detained in Iran.
Thursday’s sanctions, however, asserted a deeper connection. Treasury said Iranian authorities have permitted Khalil to operate within the country’s borders since 2005. He moves money and terrorist recruits from the Middle East into Iran, and then on to Pakistan, Treasury said.
Two alleged Al Qaeda members in Qatar, Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari, Abdallah Ghanim Mafuz Muslim al-Khawar, were sanctioned for allegedly providing financial and logistical support to the terrorist group through operatives in Iran.
“By exposing Iran’s secret deal with Al Qaeda allowing it to funnel funds and operatives through its territory, we are illuminating yet another aspect of Iran’s unmatched support for terrorism,” David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.
Note the strong wording: “Iran’s unmatched support for terrorism.” True enough, but this shocks no one. It simply highlights what the top generals are willing to say, regardless of what the official policy is for Iran.
And speaking of “official policy,” is there any? Jennifer Rubin sees none.
I spoke to Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies yesterday about the state of the administration’s Iran policy. He was blunt:
I’d start with asking these questions:
1. Apart from sanctions, is anything else happening? What is the comprehensive strategy?
2. Who is driving Iran policy at the interagency level? Dennis Ross, Gary Samore, David Cohen, Bob Einhorn, Michele Flournoy, Tom Donilon, anyone else?
His conclusion on the first item is that nothing is happening, and we have no comprehensive approach. On the second, he says, “No one.”
It wouldn’t matter. With the likes of Michele Flournoy and Tom Donilon advising Obama (and his willingness to listen and heed their counsel), even if there was an Iran policy, there wouldn’t be. Sadly, it looks as if many of my predictions are coming to pass.