Iran’s Continued Support for al-Qaeda, and America’s Incoherent War on Terror

On Tuesday, the Treasury Department announced that it is placing sanctions on three high-level al-Qaeda operatives based in the Islamic Republic. This is just one more piece of evidence, writes Benjamin Weingarten, that Tehran, in addition to sponsoring Hizballah and various other Shiite terrorist groups, is also a key supporter of Sunni groups like al-Qaeda:

It strains credulity to believe that a closed Shiite nation like Iran, often competing against Sunni forces, would be unaware of al-Qaeda officers within its borders. And in this case we have clear evidence that it was comfortable with al-Qaeda operating on its soil because Iranian authorities were negotiating with [one of the three sanctioned individuals]. . . . Another element of this story is . . . [the] ample compelling evidence indicating Iranian support for the 9/11 attack. . . .

Foreign policy necessarily involves dealing with hostile regimes, and sometimes making common cause with them in order to advance greater interests. But there is little to indicate that as concerns the global jihadist threat, comprising state and non-state actors, . . . each with competing but often overlapping interests and motivations, America has the faintest clue as to how best to proceed in its national interest.

With great regularity we appear to be on every side of every conflict, evincing a lack of clarity about ourselves and our enemies. The jihadists are playing a game of “Heads I win, tails you lose.” They know what they want and are doing everything in their power to achieve it. Does America?

Read more at Conservative Review

More about: 9/11, Al Qaeda, Iran, Iran sanctions, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy, War on Terror

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy