July 19, 2004

Oh boy

More potentially explosive stuff about Iran. Ash-sharq al-Awsat is reporting
that a general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards allegedly coordinated with Ayman al-Zawahiri (bin Laden's reputed number two man) to provide "safe passage" for 9 of the September 11th hijackers through Iran.

Add to this the continued reports that al-Qaeda members are being given sanctuary in Iran – assertions that may have been bolstered by the recent surrender of Khalid bin Odeh bin Mohammed Al-Harbi to the Saudis at their embassy in Teheran. Also the report from the New York Times on Sunday that "Iran had ordered guards at its border stations not to stamp the passports of Qaeda members from Saudi Arabia who were moving through Iran after training at terrorist camps in Afghanistan." This, of course, gives Iran deniability ("some may have entered illegally") and it helps the terrorists avoid the additional scrutiny that an Iranian stamp brings on entering the country.

The story is picking up steam. And contrary to some who say that the Iraq War has sapped our ability to tackle Iran militarily if we have to (and I don't think that is a given yet), I've argued that strategically there was a huge advantage to having Iran surrounded.

Watch this space.

Posted by richard at July 19, 2004 03:06 PM