Last month, Democrats from the Obama era put their collective fingers in their ears and whistled a loud, truth-obscuring tune when CIA Director Mike Pompeo confirmed what many national security experts have been saying for years: That the ties between Al Qaeda and Iran are deep, wide, and long-lasting. While the Sunni terrorist organization will never be mistaken for the Islamic Republic’s greatest defenders, Iran and Al Qaeda have seen fit to work together over the years to fight against a greater evil: The United States and the whole of Western civilization.
And if skeptics didn’t care to take Pompeo’s word for it, a freshly-released batch of documents recovered from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan compound in 2011 makes it clear that the terrorist group has enjoyed a working relationship with the Shiite Iranians for a long time. Thanks to the hard work of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, the federal government has begun releasing some of Bin Laden’s secret files to the public, giving us our first clear glimpse into the dark heart of Al Qaeda.
One never-before-seen 19-page document contains a senior jihadist’s assessment of the group’s relationship with Iran. The author explains that Iran offered some “Saudi brothers” in al Qaeda “everything they needed,” including “money, arms” and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.” Iranian intelligence facilitated the travel of some operatives with visas, while sheltering others. Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, an influential ideologue prior to 9/11, helped negotiate a safe haven for his jihadi comrades inside Iran. But the author of the file, who is clearly well-connected, indicates that al Qaeda’s men violated the terms of the agreement and Iran eventually cracked down on the Sunni jihadists’ network, detaining some personnel. Still, the author explains that al Qaeda is not at war with Iran and some of their “interests intersect,” especially when it comes to being an “enemy of America.”
The sick part of this, of course, is that while the American people are getting their first look at the relationship between Al Qaeda and Iran, the Obama administration had been sitting on all of this information for years by the time they agreed to the nuclear deal. Said deal, which contained no provisions whatsoever limiting Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism, resulted in BILLIONS of dollars being released to the Islamic Republic. We know to a certainty that this money was funneled to terrorist groups like Hezbollah in Palestine, but do we know that none of it wound up in the hands of the same group that brought down the World Trade Center? None at all? We would like someone from the Obama administration to go on the record making that claim, because we doubt they would do it.
That’s the real shame about any efforts the Trump administration makes to extract a better nuclear agreement from the Iranians. In a very real sense, the worst of the damage has already been done. At this point, while it makes sense to hold Iran accountable to the terms of the agreement in a way they have not been thus far, there’s no putting the genie back into the bottle. What’s done is done. Those billions are gone.
We may be horrified to learn, one day, how they were spent.