For the latest evidence of an alliance that might surprise those who view Sunni and Shia Muslims as diametrically opposed mortal enemies, look no further than the recent news out of the U.S. Treasury Department.
As reported in the always-insightful Omri Ceren’s latest dispatch, Treasury announced that it was imposing sanctions on three senior Al Qaeda members stationed in Iran.
According to the Treasury press release, it took such action to “disrupt the operations, fundraising, and support networks that help al-Qaida move money and operatives from South Asia and across the Middle East.”
As Ceren highlights, one such Al Qaeda operative, Abu Bakr Muhammad Muhammad Ghumayn, controlled the financing and organization of Al Qaeda in Iran.
Another operative, Yisra Muhammad Ibrahim Bayumi, engaged in direct dialogue with the Iranian government, serving as a mediator. He was “reportedly involved in freeing al-Qaida members in Iran.”
It strains credulity to believe that a closed Shia nation like Iran, often competing against Sunni forces, would be unaware of Al Qaeda officers within its borders. And in this case we have clear evidence that it was comfortable with Al Qaeda operating on its soil because Iranian authorities were negotiating with the aforementioned Bayumi.
What are we to make of this revelation?
While Sunni and Shia Islamic supremacists may differ in terms of theology, strategies and tactics, their overarching goals are very much aligned – namely ensuring the dominance of Islam throughout the world by killing the infidel or forcing him to submit, with a focus on the “Great” and “Little Satans” of the United States and Israel.
The case of Israel, threatened by Sunni jihadists like Hamas on the one hand, and Shia jihadists like Hezbollah on the other, is most illustrative of this fact.
Another element of this story is relevant in light of the fact that 9/11 is again a live subject now that the federal government has finally released the 28 pages of its report regarding Saudi involvement in the attack.
In fact in 2011, U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels held in Havlish, et al. v. bin Laden, et al. that “Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported Al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks,” holding the Islamic Republic responsible for damages to family members of the attack’s victims.
The facts and findings of that court case detail chapter and verse the extensive ties between Iran and its proxies and Sunni jihadists spanning multiple decades and covering all manner of operations and activities. Some of the key high-level findings from page 15 of the report are chronicled below:
Foreign policy necessarily involves dealing with hostile regimes, and sometimes making common cause with them in order to advance greater interests.
But there is little to indicate that as concerns the global jihadist threat, comprised of state and non-state actors Sunni and Shia each with competing but often overlapping interests and motivations, that America has the faintest clue as to how best to proceed in its national interest, whether in the form of the 9/11-tied Saudis or the 9/11-tied Iranians.
With great regularity we appear to be on every side of every conflict, evincing a lack of clarity about ourselves and our enemies.
For the jihadists are playing a game of “Heads I win, tails you lose.”
They know what they want and are doing everything in their power to achieve it. Does America?