Monday, December 05, 2011

OK, but...

Thomas Joscelyn points to a US court ruling this past week where a judge ruled that Iran was complicit in helping AQ pull off the African embassy bombings in the late 90s by offering bomb-making assistance through their Hizballah franchise...
Support from Iran and Hezbollah was critical to al Qaeda's execution of the 1998 embassy bombings. See Tr. Vol. II at 181. Prior to its meetings with Iranian officials and agents, al Qaeda did not possess the technical expertise required to carry out the embassy bombings. In the 1990s, al Qaeda received training in Iran and Lebanon on how to destroy large buildings with sophisticated and powerful explosives. Id. at 188; Tr. Vol. III at 314-15. The government of Iran was aware of and authorized this training and assistance.
Fine and dandy--as Joscelyn says, this isn't news. Yossef Bodansky wrote about Hasan al-Turabi's goal to bring together Shia and Sunni Arabs/Persians to fight the west before 9/11.  This little Sudan consortium also included Saddam and Iraq, who sent emissaries to Khartoum around the same time.  In the same year of the embassy bombings president Clinton retaliated by bombing a chemical plant in Khartoum, which was thought to be making VX with help of Iraqi scientists.  And yes, similar suits have been filed against Iraq for their alleged complicity.  But we must never go there, the conventional wisdom cement has dried. 

The timing of this story is certainly interesting based on the happenings with Iran and Syria, but there's seemingly an unanswered question left by the judgment:  the judge concluded that AQ didn't have the knowledge to create massive, shaped charge truck bombs before getting trained by Hizballah/Iran, so if true, where does that leave Ramzi Yousef?

Yousef's Ryder truck bomb in 1993 did massive damage to the innards of the World Trade Center and he was apparently not part of the Turabi group-hug, at one point even setting off a bomb inside Iran against a Shia mosque.  So where did Yousef learn his trade?   And if, as some believe, Murrah bomb planner Terry Nichols got truck bomb-making assistance from AQ during his trips to the Philippines in 1994, who was he talking to, and why couldn't UBL have tapped the same source thereby staying within the Sunni realm?  Besides, wasn't Yousef part of AQ?  Former terror czar Richard Clarke told the 9/11 Commission he was:
But the investigation, both the CIA investigation and the FBI investigation, made it very clear in '95 and '96 as they got more information, that the Iraqi government was in no way involved in the attack. And the fact that one of the 12 people involved in the attack was Iraqi hardly seems to me as evidence that the Iraqi government was involved in the attack. The attack was al-Qaida; not Iraq.

Of course this same guy told the Clinton bigwigs (during the time period of the embassy bombings) that UBL might "boogie to Baghdad" if they missed getting him in Afghanistan so take that Wiki page with the appropriate salt.  In reality it's likely that neither Yousef nor uncle KSM were associated with UBL in the early 90s when they were effectively blowing stuff up, so again, if they weren't associated with the apostate Shias and were "stateless" terrorists as the government contends, where did they get that truck bomb knowledge?  From this guy

Not to say the judge was wrong in deciding that AQ couldn't have created the truck bombs without Iran's help, but perhaps the confabs between AQ and Iran/Hizballah (and the Iraqi Mukhabarat) were more of a "we won't attack you and you don't attack us and we'll all attack the west" sort of thing than a bomb-making school.

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