Remembering Iran’s Role in al-Qaeda’s U.S. Embassy Bombings

Yesterday was the twentieth anniversary of the coordinated truck-bombings, carried out by al-Qaeda, of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania—which left 224 dead and thousands wounded. In planning the bombing, its most deadly attack prior to September 11, 2001, al-Qaeda received help and training from Iran and its proxy Hizballah, and it seems that Osama bin Laden deliberately modeled the attack on Hizballah’s 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. Thomas Joscelyn writes:

In early November 1998, the U.S. government indicted various al-Qaeda members for the embassy bombings. The indictment included this sentence: “Al-Qaeda also forged alliances with . . . the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hizballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.” . . . [O]fficial sources continued to build upon [this allegation] in the years that followed. . . .

Ali Mohamed agreed to a plea deal as part of the embassy bombing proceedings. . . . Here is . . . what Mohamed said about al-Qaeda’s relations with Iran and Hizballah: “I was aware of certain contacts between al-Qaeda and . . . Iran and Hizballah on the other side. I arranged security for a meeting in the Sudan between [Imad] Mughniyeh, Hizballah’s chief [of operations], and bin Laden. Hizballah provided explosives training for al-Qaeda. . . . Iran supplied Egyptian Jihad [an affiliated organization that later merged with al-Qaeda] with weapons. Iran also used Hizballah to supply explosives that were disguised to look like rocks. . . .

Some commentators, including a former Obama administration official, impugn the motives of anyone who raises the issue of Iran’s relationship with al-Qaeda. They argue that this is all about justifying a war with Iran. That is an attempt to change the conversation.

But facts are stubborn. The evidence [of collaboration between Iran and al-Qaeda] comes from Clinton-era federal prosecutors, al-Qaeda witnesses, the bipartisan 9/11 Commission Report, and Clinton-era intelligence reports. To this list we may add a string of additional official pronouncements. Between July 2011 and July 2016, the Obama administration’s own Treasury and State Departments repeatedly pointed to a separate “agreement” between the Iranian regime and al-Qaeda. This arrangement allows al-Qaeda to operate its “core facilitation pipeline” on Iranian soil.

This is not all there is to Iran’s dealings with al-Qaeda. There have been multiple antagonistic episodes between the two sides. . . . Yet some al-Qaeda leaders have managed to maintain a foothold inside Iran despite of the conflict between the [two].

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Al Qaeda, Hizballah, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs

Israel’s Nation-State Law and the Hysteria of the Western Media

Aug. 17 2018

Nearly a month after it was passed by the Knesset, the new Basic Law defining Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” is still causing outrage in the American and European press. The attacks, however, are almost uniformly incommensurate with this largely symbolic law, whose text, in the English translation found on the Knesset website, is barely over 400 words in length. Matthew Continetti comments:

Major journalistic institutions have become so wedded to a pro-Palestinian, anti-Benjamin Netanyahu narrative, in which Israel is part of a global trend toward nationalist authoritarian populism, that they have abdicated any responsibility for presenting the news in a dispassionate and balanced manner. The shameful result of this inflammatory coverage is the normalization of anti-Israel rhetoric and policies and widening divisions between Israel and the diaspora.

For example, a July 18, 2018, article in the Los Angeles Times described the nation-state law as “granting an advantageous status to Jewish-only communities.” But that is false: the bill contained no such language. (An earlier version might have been interpreted in this way, but the provision was removed.) Yet, as I write, the Los Angeles Times has not corrected the piece that contained the error. . . .

Such through-the-looking-glass analysis riddled [the five] news articles and four op-eds the New York Times has published on the matter at the time of this writing. In these pieces, “democracy” is defined as results favored by the New York Times editorial board, and Israel’s national self-understanding as in irrevocable conflict with its democratic form of government. . . .

The truth is that democracy is thriving in Israel. . . .  The New York Times quoted Avi Shilon, a historian at Ben-Gurion University, who said [that] “Mr. Netanyahu and his colleagues are acting like we are still in the battle of 1948, or in a previous era.” Judging by the fallacious, paranoid, fevered, and at times bigoted reaction to the nation-state bill, however, Bibi may have good reason to believe that Israel is still in the battle of 1948, and still defending itself against assaults on the very idea of a Jewish state.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Commentary

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel's Basic Law, Israeli democracy, Media, New York Times