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

July 22, 2016 | Benjamin Weingarten
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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?

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