CIA documents ‘conclusive proof of Al-Qaeda-Iran ties’

CIA documents ‘conclusive proof of Al-Qaeda-Iran ties’
Osama bin Laden’s house in Pakistan, from where the documents were seized, being demolished on Feb. 26, 2012. (AFP)
Updated 03 November 2017

CIA documents ‘conclusive proof of Al-Qaeda-Iran ties’

CIA documents ‘conclusive proof of Al-Qaeda-Iran ties’

JEDDAH: Wednesday’s release by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of documents seized during the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden has “conclusively proved” the terror chief’s cosy relationship with Iran, experts say.
US intelligence officials and prosecutors have long said Iran formed loose ties to Al-Qaeda from 1991 onward.
This was noted in a 19-page report in Arabic that was included in the release of some 47,000 other documents by the CIA.
Iran has long denied any involvement with Al-Qaeda, but the report included in the CIA document dump shows how Bin Laden partnered with Tehran to target the US.
The Associated Press (AP) examined a copy of the report released by the Long War Journal, a publication backed by the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank fiercely critical of Iran and skeptical of its nuclear deal with world powers. The CIA gave the Long War Journal early access to the material.
“Anyone who wants to strike America, Iran is ready to support him and help him with their frank and clear rhetoric,” AP quotes the report as saying.
The unsigned report is dated in the Islamic calendar year 1428 (2007), and offers what appears to be a history of Al-Qaeda’s relationship with Iran.
It says Iran offered Al-Qaeda fighters “money and arms and everything they need, and offered them training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in return for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia.”
This coincides with an account offered by the US government’s 9/11 Commission, which said Iranian officials met with Al-Qaeda leaders in Sudan in either 1991 or early 1992.
The commission said Al-Qaeda militants later received training in Lebanon from the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
US prosecutors also said Al-Qaeda had the backing of Iran and Hezbollah in their 1998 indictment of Bin Laden following Al-Qaeda’s truck bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
Oubai Shahbandar, a Syrian-American analyst and fellow at the New America Foundation’s International Security Program, said the documents provide for the first time direct evidence of the symbiotic relationship between Al-Qaeda’s most senior operatives and Tehran.
“Without Iranian support and safe haven, Al-Qaeda as an organization couldn’t have endured for as long as it did following the international backlash it faced after the 9/11 terror attacks,” Shahbandar told Arab News.
“That Bin Laden was personally involved in establishing Al-Qaeda’s network in Iran shows how shrewd and cynical the regime in Tehran truly is, and how capable and willing it is to support international extremist groups like Al-Qaeda and its successor Daesh.”
Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Majid Rafizadeh said he is not surprised by the damning revelations.
“There has long been strong evidence showing the connection between Tehran and Al-Qaeda, including the fact that the Iranian regime has sheltered Al-Qaeda leaders,” he told Arab News.
“Iran is the top state sponsor of terrorism. Its regime supports, funds, arms and trains any terrorist group that shares its revolutionary values, such as anti-Americanism and pursuing hegemonic ambitions in the region,” he said.
“As a US federal judge found, Iran was a key player in facilitating the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The US should’ve confronted the Iranian regime, not Iraq,” Rafizadeh added.
“The US should hold the Iranian regime, and those leaders who helped facilitate the 9/11 attacks, accountable through various means such as sanctioning them, bringing them to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and isolating them.”
On Thursday, the semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to Iran’s hard-line Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), dismissed the CIA documents as “a project against Tehran.”


UAE records highest number of COVID-19 cases since pandemic began

UAE records highest number of COVID-19 cases since pandemic began
Updated 15 min 11 sec ago

UAE records highest number of COVID-19 cases since pandemic began

UAE records highest number of COVID-19 cases since pandemic began
  • UAE says 2,990 have recovered over the past 24 hours
  • Kuwait records 467 cases and 1 death, Oman reports 221 cases and 2 deaths

DUBAI: The UAE on Monday recorded 3,471 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily count since the start of the pandemic, and six deaths.
Officials from the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) said the total number of cases since the pandemic began had reached 256,732, while the death toll rose to 751.
Some 2,990 people had recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours. The total number of recoveries is 228,364.
The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources issued a circular to all ministries and federal entities amending the procedures for dealing with the pandemic to be implemented from Sunday. All government employees, as well as outsourced or public service companies, are required to take a PCR test every seven days, if they have not received two doses of the vaccine.
As part of its national campaign to inoculate 50 percent of the population by April, the UAE said it has vaccinated 1.972 million people, with almost 90,000 in the last 24 hours.
Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said it is organizing a series of virtual seminars aimed at raising awareness on the importance of taking the COVID-19 vaccine, especially for the priority groups.

Dr. Hind Al-Awadi, head of DHA’s Health Promotion and Education Department, said the campaign targets employees of government departments and institutions in Dubai to explain the importance of the vaccine, the procedure, its symptoms and its role in strengthening the body’s immunity, especially for those suffering from chronic diseases.
Dubai Municipality announced it had intensified its inspection campaigns and said it closed down 18 businesses and issued 18 fines and 45 warnings to others for failing to adhere to anti-COVID-19 measures.
The Department of Social Services in Sharjah said it received more than 300 requests to provide home vaccinations for senior citizens, people with disabilities, and their families since the initiative began on Saturday.
“Starting from the beginning of this week, 12 mobile units started visiting the homes of senior citizens and providing vaccinations for COVID-19, the department’s director Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Mayel, said.

He added that they are working “to increase the number of mobile units in the coming weeks to ensure that the largest number of people are vaccinated.”
Ajman Medical District launched a new center to administer the vaccine, with a large turnout on the first day of opening.
Hamad Tarim Al-Shamsi, the district’s director, said: “Our health plans are based on making medical services accessible to all members of society and we are currently focusing on providing services, examinations and vaccines to the most needy groups, especially senior citizens and people with disabilities, and medical teams have been formed to communicate with them in their homes.”
Elsewhere, Kuwait reported 467 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number to 158,244. The death toll rose to 948 after one coronavirus-related death was reported in the previous 24 hours.

Oman’s health ministry confirmed 221 new cases and two deaths, bringing the totals to 132,011 and 1,514, respectively.

In Bahrain, no deaths were reported, keeping the death toll to 360, while 333 new infected cases were confirmed.