April 28, 2007

THANKS, AYATOLLAH:

Iranian tip-off may have led Americans to al-Qaeda leader: A major in Saddam's army, believed to have masterminded the London bombings, could have been betrayed in Tehran (Jason Burke, April 29, 2007, Observer)

Abdul Hadi, 45, a former Iraqi army officer who speaks five languages and is a key link between the al-Qaeda leadership in western Pakistan and militants in Iraq, had 'met with al-Qaeda leaders in Iran' and had urged them to support efforts in Iraq and to cause 'problems within Iran', US military sources told The Observer

Elements within the complex matrix of interest groups that make up the Iranian regime, who have co-operated with Western intelligence services before when it has served their purposes, provided crucial elements of information, possibly through intermediaries, allowing Abdul Hadi to be captured. 'They may have felt he posed an equal threat to them,' said one Paris-based Middle Eastern diplomat yesterday. 'One of Tehran's biggest fears is of an alliance between Kurdish ethnic separatists in the northwest and al-Qaeda.'

Any such help would have been highly secret, given the tense relations between the Iranian regime and Western nations which came to a head with last month's detention of British naval personnel, allegations that Tehran is supporting Shia militants in Iraq and fierce recriminations over Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear technology.

However, senior US intelligence officials told The Observer that the Iranian government has 'in some cases' been helpful in tracking and 'disabling' key militants crossing their national territory between Iraq and Afghanistan. The key Egyptian militant Saif al-Adel, once in charge of training al-Qaeda's new recruits, and one of Osama bin Laden's sons are both believed to be under some kind of detention in Iran.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 28, 2007 9:09 PM
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