The recent Royal Something Something Mounted Po Po bust in Canada (a nation state in the far north) of al Qaeda affiliates attempting to wreck bloody havoc on N"ork City unveiled a startling startlement:
The RCMP said the two men were not Canadian citizens and were supported by "al-Qaeda elements in Iran"Impossible!
After all everdobby know one thing sunnis and shias hate more than girls is - well - sunnis and shia. Since the great Shia Sunni Schism way back in the last millennium, they Just. Don"t. Work. Together. Ever - right?
Au Contraire mon frer!!
Mentioning al-Qaida and Iran in the same sentence has some people scratching their heads. Iran and al-Qaida are greater foes than friends.
Iranian leaders adhere to radical interpretations of Shia Islam. The militant groups Tehran is known to support usually do so as well. Hezbollah is the preeminent example.
Al-Qaida and its supporters, on the other hand, are radical Sunnis who hold militant Salafi/Wahhabi beliefs. They only have contempt for Shia communities. Al-Qaida of the Arab Peninsula, for instance, began a January 2011 issue of its English-language propaganda magazine, Inspire, with a diatribe directed against Shia Muslims. It labelled them — alongside “Zionist-Crusaders” and “apostate (Sunni) regimes” — as the “third side of the triangle of evil.”
So while both al-Qaida and Iran and its militant proxies are hostile to the United States, Israel, and various Arab governments, have orchestrated mass-casualty suicide bombings, and strive for similar political goals, the romance usually ends there. The bloody civil wars that have gripped parts of Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan over the past decade have often pitted these two religious communities against one another.
But at times necessity has forced Iran and al-Qaida to bury the hatchet. While Iran’s (and Hezbollah’s) relationship with al-Qaida remains murky and while there are practical, political, and theological reasons why Shia and Sunni extremists may shy away from supporting one another, when circumstance demands it, collusion has occurred.
State Sponsored attacks on Great Satan?
Whatever the details of their plan, it isn’t Iran’s style. Reaching out to kill North Americans in North America offers Iran no advantage, and invites serious international repercussions. Why risk it?
Iran does reportedly provide some limited logistical support to al-Qaeda, mostly in the form of providing a safe harbour. Iran is one of the few places in the Muslim world where al Qaeda leadership can be reasonably confident that an American drone loaded with Hellfire missiles isn’t circling over their head. The relationship between Shia Iran and Sunni al Qaeda has long been tense, and wasn’t helped much by the thousands of Shias killed by al-Qaeda in Iraq during Iraq’s bloody sectarian fighting.
Still, Iran clearly sees some advantage in co-operating with al-Qaeda: Not only does it make al-Qaeda less likely to carry out attacks or anti-government activities in Iran, but al-Qaeda could prove useful to Iran if it did one day choose to strike out at Western targets — in the aftermath, for example, of an American airstrike against its nuclear program. Tehran isn’t above attacking North America. It just wouldn’t make sense to do so now.
But anything that makes al-Qaeda’s presence in Iran attract the attention of Washington — and a successful al-Qaeda terror attack in Toronto certainly would — can only make Tehran uncomfortable. At the very least, Iranian intelligence will likely tighten the reins for the foreseeable future. It’s not difficult at all to believe that Iran may even see fit to kick out of some of its al-Qaeda guests, or at least look the other way if their cars develop the nasty habit of exploding.
Pic - "Rise of the Lone Wolves"