Iranian general and al Qaeda

Winds of Change:

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Ramzi Binalshibh, it seems, was among those al-Qaeda operatives who profited from Iran's wonderful immigration policy (see more here) at the behest of a sympathetic general in the IRGC.

You'd have to dig around quite a bit to find the name of that particular general, which is why I'm more than happy to do it for you: it's Ahmad Vahidi, the former commander of Qods Force. They're the elite of the IRGC, and answerable only to Ayatollah Khamenei. Vahidi, who is now one of Iran's deputy defense ministers, has had ties with Ayman al-Zawahiri going all the way back to the 1980s when he was leading the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ).

Vahidi is far from alone. As just about anyone familiar with the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution will tell you, Iran actively sponsored both the EIJ and its fraternal twin Gamaa al-Islamiyyah against first Anwar Sadat and later Hosni Mubarak, as part of an active bid on the part of Khomeini to destabilize the Egyptian government. As a result, when these two groups and their leaders (incl. "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman from the 1993 WTC bombing) joined al-Qaeda, those who were known VEVAK assets they brought their ties to the Iranian military-intelligence establishment with them. Ties that have endured to this day.

At least one former VEVAK officer has talked publicly about these matters. He now goes by the name "Hamid Reza Zakiri," and first showed up in an interview by al-Sharq al-Awsat. As Newsweek notes, he later appeared at the trial of Hamburg cell member Abdelghani Mzoudi. According to this story from the Washington Post, European intelligence was able to verify most of what Zakiri had to say.

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One other point I want to make is that pursuing dialogue with the Islamic Republic is a lost cause at this point, because Khamenei and Rafsanjani do not want to negotiate. They want what they have always wanted, and what Iran has consistently pursued over the last 35+ years: a global war against the West and for the expansion of radical Islam, centered in but not confined to the Middle East, through their long-standing status as the world's #1 state sponsors of terrorism. Their Great Game sees diplomacy only as a way to buy themselves time, in order to build what they believe will be a foolproof shield against retaliation.


Well, that suggest Kerry's plan for dealing with Iran is already a failure.

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