The War in Bosnia and the Making of Iran’s Friendship with al-Qaeda

Jan. 27 2021

In his final days in office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech outlining the ties between the Islamic Republic and Osama bin Laden’s notorious terrorist group. While conventional wisdom has long maintained that Sunni al-Qaeda would have no truck with Shiite Iran, the truth is that collaboration between the two is old news. By the time Israeli intelligence became aware of it in the mid-1990s, it had been going on for some time. Kyle Orton tells part of the story, which begins with the collapse of Yugoslavia, when Orthodox Serbs launch a bloody campaign of ethnic cleansing against their Bosnian Muslim neighbors:

Unmentioned in Pompeo’s speech was one of the crucibles that forged this relationship, and forged al-Qaeda into something more than a regional menace, namely the Bosnian war of 1992-5. Thousands of foreign Sunni jihadists came into Bosnia in this period, many of them either with pre-existing links to al-Qaeda or established links once they were in country, and this rag-tag army of mujahideen found itself benefiting from the role of the Iranian revolution in Bosnia. . . . Iranian veterans of this campaign recently boasted in public about it.

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda was receiving extensive support and training from Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hizballah:

The 9/11 Commission Report confirms [a] meeting between bin Laden and [the top Hizballah officer Imad] Mughniyeh in Sudan, probably in early 1992, and the transfer thereafter of al-Qaeda jihadists to the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon for training with Iran/Hizballah.

This relationship continued into the 2000s, when bin Laden, in an internal memo, mentioned that the Islamic Republic allowed his organization’s “core facilitation pipeline” to run through its territory. And just two months ago, a high-ranking al-Qaeda terrorist was assassinated in Tehran.

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Read more at Kyle Orton

More about: Al Qaeda, Bosnia, Iran, Mossad, Terrorism, Yugoslavia

 

How the Death of Mahsa Amini Changed Iran—and Its Western Apologists

Sept. 28 2022

On September 16, a twenty-two-year-old named Mahsa Amini was arrested by the Iranian morality police for improperly wearing a hijab. Her death in custody three days later, evidently after being severely beaten, sparked waves of intense protests throughout the country. Since then, the Iranian authorities have killed dozens more in trying to quell the unrest. Nervana Mahmoud comments on how Amini’s death has been felt inside and outside of the Islamic Republic:

[I]n Western countries, the glamorizing of the hijab has been going on for decades. Even Playboy magazine published an article about the first “hijabi” news anchor in American TV history. Meanwhile, questioning the hijab’s authenticity and enforcement has been framed as “Islamophobia.” . . . But the death of Mahsa Amini has changed everything.

Commentators who downplayed the impact of enforced hijab have changed their tune. [Last week], CNN’s Christiane Amanpour declined an interview with the Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, and the Biden administration imposed sanctions on Iran’s notorious morality police and senior officials for the violence carried out against protesters and for the death of Mahsa Amini.

The visual impact of the scenes in Iran has extended to the Arab world too. Arabic media outlets have felt the winds of change. The death of Mahsa Amini and the resulting protests in Iran are now top headlines, with Arab audiences watching daily as Iranian women from all age groups remove their hijabs and challenge the regime policy.

Iranian women are making history. They are teaching the world—including the Muslim world—about the glaring difference between opting to wear the hijab and being forced to wear it, whether by law or due to social pressure and mental bullying. Finally, non-hijabi women are not afraid to defy, proudly, their Islamist oppressors.

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Read more at Nervana

More about: Arab World, Iran, Women in Islam