View Full Version : Iran & AQ: a safe haven or holding cell?

SWJ Blog
07-28-2011, 08:31 PM
US Accuses Iran of Secret Al-Qaida Ties (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/07/us-accuses-iran-of-secret-alqa/)

Entry Excerpt:

US Accuses Iran of Secret Al-Qaida Ties (http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2011/07/28/us-accuses-iran-of-secret-al-qaida-ties/) - Voice of America

The United States accused Iran of having a “secret deal” with al-Qaida as Washington announced sanctions Thursday on six suspected al-Qaida operatives.

The Treasury Department did not offer many details. But it says the operatives are part of a network headed by Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, described by U.S. officials as an al-Qaida facilitator based in Iran.

The Treasury statement says Khalil has been operating under an “agreement” between the Iranian government and the terror group.

The department says Iran is a “critical transit point” for funding to support al-Qaida's activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

There was no immediate reaction from the Iranian government.

But Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen says a “secret deal” in which Iran allows al-Qaida to funnel resources through its territory has been exposed. He says the case illuminates what he called another aspect of Tehran's “unmatched support for terrorism.”

The sanctions on Khalil and the five other reputed operatives freeze any U.S. assets that they may have and prohibit U.S. citizens from engaging in financial transactions with them.

Read the full post (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/07/us-accuses-iran-of-secret-alqa/) and make any comments at the SWJ Blog (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog).
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02-03-2012, 10:45 PM
Another strange development, an AQ leader and / or strategist who has been reportedly in a Syrian jail has been reported as being released; similar to the AQ planner released awhile ago from detention in Iran.

I have read his biography awhile ago, so here's a slim background:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustafa_Setmariam_Nasar

Two recent commentaries by ICSR, one nearly a week ago:http://icsr.info/blog/Whither-al-Suri

Note the possible link to a kidnapped American charity worker in Pakistan months ago:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/8929624/Al-Qaeda-kidnapped-US-aid-worker-Ayman-al-Zawahiri-claims.html

The second today, reflecting "chatter" on Jihadist forums:http://icsr.info/blog/Al-Qaeda-theorist-al-Suri-reportedly-released-from-prison-in-Syria

T'is a murky world diplomacy, hostage negotiation and "talking to the enemy".

09-23-2012, 07:55 PM
Zenpundit has a short update:
Credible sources at the forums said al-Suri was released then, but no word on him since.


One wonders if Syria holds other AQ cadre and the inevitable question what will happen to them?

12-26-2012, 07:30 PM
As we approach 2013 the media turn to reflection and reminding us of the best articles published, amidst is an offering from Foreign Affairs is a substantial article I missed 'Al Qaeda in Iran: Why Tehran is Accommodating the Terrorist Group' by Seth Jones, in January 2012:http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137061/seth-g-jones/al-qaeda-in-iran?page=show

Seth opens with:
Virtually unnoticed, since late 2001, Iran has held some of al Qaeda's most senior leaders. Several of these operatives, such as Yasin al-Suri, an al Qaeda facilitator, have moved recruits and money from the Middle East to central al Qaeda in Pakistan. Others, such as Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian that served as head of al Qaeda's security committee, and Abu Muhammad al-Masri, one of the masterminds of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, have provided strategic and operational assistance to central al Qaeda. The Iranian government has held most of them under house arrest, limited their freedom of movement, and closely monitored their activities. Yet the organization's presence in Iran means that, contrary to optimistic assessments that have become the norm in Washington, al Qaeda's demise is not imminent.

I know scattered around SWC are comments on the sometimes puzzling relationship between Iran and AQ. Iran at times appearing to act as an internment camp for AQ cadres, with the occasional release to return to the fray in Afghanistan.

Three relevant threads are:'Iran & USA allies in Afghanistan:stranger than reality', posts mainly from 2007:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=729, 'AQ-Central to relocate?':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=14034 and the mysteries of AQ internment in Syria in 'Abu Musab al-Suri is free? AQ's No.4':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=15095

IIRC CWOT has touched upon this subject in his polling analysis.

Perhaps other matters have stopped official action on Iran's stance, notably movement towards a nuclear capability.

Added 2013:http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/28/u-s-accuses-iran-of-sheltering-al-qaeda-network/

01-26-2013, 03:04 PM
There has been no update on whether al-Suri remains in Syrian custody, but in a discussion with open source analysts there were two comments. First, from a Jihadist on-line "chat" watcher al-Suri remains in Syria, if he had been released there would have been "chatter".

Secondly given his long detention, since October 2005, what condition is he in? If he is ill (physical / mental) what would be gained by AQ announcing his release. Or IMHO a transfer to another state - Iran comes to mind.

02-03-2013, 12:09 AM
An odd update:
Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law was arrested in Ankara by Turkish security forces after Washington allegedly informed Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) about his location, daily Milliyet reported today.

Suleyman M., son-in-law of former al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, was allegedly staying at a camp in Iran after the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. He entered Turkey using a fake Saudi Arabian passport.

He was released and returned to Iran!

Link:http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/bin-ladens-son-in-law-arrested-in-turkey-daily.aspx?pageID=238&nid=40303 and a slightly confusing account after translation:http://gundem.milliyet.com.tr/ladin-in-damadina-film-gibi-operasyon/gundem/gundemdetay/01.02.2013/1663137/default.htm

02-11-2013, 07:16 PM
This is a story that does not seem to have made it into the major English-language news services. According to a leading Turkish daily, Milliyet, Bin-Laden's son-in-law Sulayman Jasim abu Ghaith was arrested in Ankara around 3 February 2012 after entering Turkey on an illegal passport from Iran. The story claims that a CIA tip led to his arrest, but that Turkey did not intend to turn him over to the US. Since his only crime in Turkey was entering illegally, he would be deported back to Iran. I haven't seen any follow-up to this story, but the Arab news sites picked it up and seemed to confirm it.

This is the link to the original story:

This is the main Arabic source:

02-11-2013, 08:27 PM
This does not seem to have made it into most of the English-language press- a Turkish paper, Milliyet, reported on 3 February (the day after the suicide bombing at the US embassy) that Bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulayman Jasim abu Ghaith, was arrested in Ankara following a CIA tip. The Arabic press also carried the story, but I haven't seen anything else since the initial story (not unusual). Did anyone else see anything related to this?

If anyone is interested I can provide URL for the story in Milliyet and Ash-Sharq al-Awsat.

02-11-2013, 08:54 PM
Well, he slightly made the State Department's (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2013/02/203838.htm) press briefing :D

With a diplomatic fuss over his extradition, seems Foggy Bottom has gone silent and Abu Ghaith just can't compete with the likes of Pope Benedict or the Africa Cup of Nations at the BBC.

With that, Turkish news will have to do :rolleyes:

03-02-2013, 10:21 PM
Clint Watts blogsite looks at this issue:http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=993

He ends with:
So what does all this mean?

Well it seems my Iran wild card fears of summer 2012 may not be worthy of much attention. If Suleiman was in fact the last al Qaeda member held by the IRGC, then, at least on the surface, it would appear that Iran is not intending to use al Qaeda, a Sunni extremist group, as a strategic proxy against the West and Israel in the way that it backs other Sunni groups like Hamas.

I wonder if the release of Suleiman and other al Qaeda members has some connection to the emerging proxy battle brewing between the IRGC and al Qaeda linked al Nusra Front in Syria? I’m guessing there is no way to know but the recent movement of Suleiman is quite curious. Stays in Iran for more than a decade and suddenly decides to leave? What’s up?

Even more curious is that Suleiman is reportedly in Kuwait now!

03-07-2013, 07:57 PM
A Reuters report on Suleiman Abu Ghaith:
A son-in-law of Osama bin Laden who served as al Qaeda's spokesman was arrested in Jordan and then brought to New York in an operation led by Jordanian authorities and the FBI, U.S. government sources said on Thursday.

Curiously there was no official comment, so whether acting on a "leak" is unclear, nor whether he wanted a "scoop" it came from:
... Representative Peter King, a senior Republican member of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee and former chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Link:http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/07/us-usa-militant-idUSBRE9260ZS20130307 (added later) and:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21706645

03-08-2013, 03:29 PM
From a FP email:
He was first arrested in Turkey last month and was then detained by American officials during a stopover in Jordan after Turkish authorities deported him to Kuwait.

I am sure FP is wrong on the US role in Jordan; detained by the Jordanians under the existing extradition agreement and once that process was completed onto a flight to NYC. Looks like some deft diplomacy and LE coordination.

Link via FP:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/world/middleeast/bin-laden-son-in-law-is-being-held-in-a-new-york-jail.html?adxnnl=1&ref=world&pagewanted=all&adxnnlx=1362754925-VdpSVUuqkkgEfhNLiwpxoQ

Intelligence officials have long debated how the group of operatives — several who are members of Al Qaeda’s “shura council” — has been treated inside Iran, and his trial could shed light on its members’ lives there. Some officials described them as being under a kind of house arrest, and point out that Iran — a country run by a Shiite Muslim theocracy — would be wary of any alliance with Al Qaeda, a Sunni terrorist network. Others believe that Iran might at least be using the group to keep open communication channels with senior Qaeda leaders in Pakistan.

NYT notes several trials are now due in NYC; well I'll wait till they do appear in court.

03-12-2013, 07:42 AM
An impressive, detailed explanation on Jihadica, with links to interviews of those who had been in Iran and more:http://www.jihadica.com/abu-ghaith-and-al-qaidas-dissident-faction-in-iran/

sources suggest that these men constituted a dissident faction within al-Qa’ida, one which in recent years had become increasingly vocal in their criticism of Bin Ladin, Zawahiri, and the direction that the latter had taken al-Qa’ida since the September 11 attacks.

It appears on my first quick read that Iran might have been a far safer place to be - from AQ - than anywhere else.

04-24-2013, 08:02 PM
An odd update by CWOT and a long way from Iran itself 'Strange “al Qaeda in Iran” supported plot disrupted in Canada':http://selectedwisdom.com/?p=1052&goback=%2Egde_2311273_member_234872530

A very thin report on the arrests:http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2013/0422/Two-arrested-in-Al-Qaeda-US-Canada-train-plot-directed-from-Iran-video?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feeds%2Fworld+(Christian+Scie nce+Monitor+%7C+World)

04-25-2013, 12:51 PM
An update from Reuters, with some interesting comments by ex-insiders, notably IISS's Nigel Inkster and a short reference to the Canadian case:http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/24/us-iran-alqaeda-idUSBRE93N18720130424

05-09-2013, 09:53 AM
Within a much broader paper on the future of AQ, by the Canadian CSIS, is this passage:
In addition, at least a dozen or more key Core Al-Qaeda personnel are still being sheltered in Iran, including Saif al-Adl. If allowed their freedom, they could easily strengthen the existing central


05-29-2013, 03:37 PM
The Master Terrorist We Gave Away (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/28/the-master-terrorist-we-gave-away.html), by Christopher Dickey. The Daily Beast, May 28, 2013.

It has been a while since we heard directly from "the architect of global jihad," "the mufti of murder," the apostle of "individualized terror" known by his nom de guerre Abu Musab al-Suri. Indeed, most people outside jihadist circles have never heard of him at all.

But thanks to the shadowy practices of the Bush administration in its global war on terror, this Syrian-born former adviser to Osama bin Laden is now at large— and an inspiration to a whole new generation of killers, including, it would seem, those in Boston and London.

09-25-2013, 09:35 PM
Chatting to a London-based open source analyst this week a reference was made to al-Suri. The analyst was convinced he was still in official Syrian detention; no mention of him was being made on "likely suspect" websites or chat rooms and for the Jihadists he was a possible national, Syrian born leader - so why should he be released. In response I wondered in the absence of news, was al-Suri actually dead?

11-15-2013, 07:16 PM
Within a wider article is a fascinating glimpse of how the USG regards al-Suri:
Al-Suri is out there somewhere. He was said to have been rendered to Syria by the CIA after his 2005 capture in Pakistan, but President Bashar al-Assad reportedly released him. Today his whereabouts remain a mystery. "We don't even know for sure that he was released," says the intelligence expert contracted to the Pentagon, who is privy to classified reports on al-Suri. "The Syrian government announced that they let him go, but there have been no sightings and little chatter about him." With the United States calling for Assad's overthrow—despite signing a pact with him banning chemical weapons—it stands to reason that the Syrian dictator would relish seeing the jihadists he is fighting turning their attention to American targets. Yet even the senior diplomatic, intelligence, and defense officials who run the U.S. government's "Rewards for Justice" program, which offers money for tips leading to top terrorists, are unsure whether al-Suri is at large: A State Department official told National Journal this week that defense and intelligence agencies are still discussing whether to put him back on the wanted list.


01-27-2014, 04:18 PM
Hat tip to War on the Rocks for a sign to read The Long War Journal, even if there is this caveat:
A message purportedly written by Ayman al Zawahiri's top representative in Syria, Abu Khalid al Suri, was posted on jihadist websites yesterday. The message has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, which notes that it "could not be authenticated." Therefore, we do not know if this message is really from al Suri.

The message (clipped) starts with:
Sheikh Abu Musab al-Suri, may Allah release him...

Then TLW's commentary:
First, the writer mentions Abu Musab al Suri (Mustafa Setmariam Nasar), who is a major al Qaeda ideologue and Abu Khalid al Suri's longtime companion. The phrasing "may Allah release him" means that the author believes Abu Musab al Suri is still imprisoned. According to other sources, Abu Khalid does believe that his compatriot is in custody. This is interesting because there have been credible reports that Abu Musab was let out of prison in the wake of the Syrian uprising. We've cited those reports at The Long War Journal but careful readers will note that we added a caveat (see the note at the bottom here, for example), because we can't be sure one way or the other.


01-28-2014, 08:27 PM
A "radical" and former UK-based militant, Moazzam Begg, has a column on foreign fighters (subject of a thread) and within is this passage:
One of the leaders of Ahrar al-Sham is Abu Khalid al-Suri, an associate of mujahideen ideologue Mustafa Setmariam Nasser (aka Abu Musab al-Suri) who was arrested by Pakistani forces in 2005 and handed over to US authorities as part of the War on Terror. Through the US rendition programme Abu Musab al-Suri was sent to the Asad regime. Both men remained in Syrian custody until the former was released in 2011 while the latter’s whereabouts remained a mystery.


02-01-2014, 06:50 PM
The Long War Journal reviews the AQ-Iranian relationship and concludes:
Al Qaeda's Iran-based network continues to operate despite the war in Syria.


05-19-2014, 04:04 PM
Catching up I found this Long War Journal report, dated May 12th 2014:
In a response to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri's latest attempt at reconciliation (http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/05/isis_spokesman_blame.php) with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani made a startling admission: Al Qaeda has ordered its fighters and branches to refrain from attacking the Iranian state in order to preserve the terror group's network in the country.


05-19-2014, 07:14 PM
Catching up I found this Long War Journal report, dated May 12th 2014:


David----this is not a surprise as both the Sunni/AQI and Shia insurgent groups in Iraq after 2008 were buying and selling HME among themselves as the Sunni's had developed into major explosive producers (tens of tons of HME) and they purchased on a number of times finished EFPs or EFP components from the Shia groups for use in their IED attacks against US Forces as the EFPs turned out to be one of the most feared IED types in Iraq.

09-25-2014, 02:57 PM
A short update after the air attacks in Syria, which starts with:
A striking commonality between two al-Qaeda figures that made headlines this week is that they both lived in Iran. Muhsin al-Fadhli, targeted by a U.S. airstrike in Syria on Monday night, is a reported al-Qaeda figure who was reportedly placed under house arrest in Iran (http://www.arabtimesonline.com/NewsDetails/tabid/96/smid/414/ArticleID/204625/reftab/36/t/WANTED-KUWAITI-TERRORIST-RECRUITS-TRAINS-WESTERN-JIHADISTS/Default.aspx)


Just me, I am curious that the cited report and the one it refers to are from Arab newspapers. A reminder to others Iran remains an untrustworthy partner against ISIS?

01-06-2015, 08:17 PM
The first paragraph in an article on the AQ -v- ISIS contest which fits here, my emphais:
The latest edition of Dabiq, the flagship publication of the group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS), includes an eviscerating, accusation-laden polemic against al-Qaeda’s central leadership in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The article, titled, “Al-Qa’ida of Waziristan – A Testimony of Within,” was written by Abu Jarir al-Shamali, an al-Qaeda commander who spent around seven years in an Iranian prison followed by three years in FATA, and defected to IS earlier this year (some media reports that al-Shamali actually spent the immediate post-9/11 years in Iraq rather than Iran)

02-20-2015, 10:08 PM
More of an updated amalgam of plots, perhaps the "alliance that shall not be spoken of" needs some barbs inside The Beltway?


05-21-2015, 12:21 PM
Within a longer WoTR article on how to use the newly released documents from Bin Laden's home in Abbottabad I spotted this:
The al Qaeda operatives holed up in Iran have always been a big black hole in understanding al Qaeda. Why did they go there? What were they up to? Was Iran in bed with al Qaeda? Check out this document in particular (http://www.dni.gov/files/documents/ubl/english/Letter%20dtd%2013%20Oct%202010.pdf) and others describing the Iran linkages with al Qaeda. It appears al Qaeda lost a lot of manpower to Iranian detention. It’s possible that the reason for al Qaeda’s weak showing in Libya post-Arab Spring was due to its losing many of its key former members of the Islamic Fighting Group to Iran’s prisons. The entire Iran aspect in these documents is new stuff.

Follow the underlined link to the document (6 pg PDF in English):http://warontherocks.com/2015/05/confessions-of-a-jihadi-nerd-a-guide-to-reading-the-new-bin-laden-documents/?singlepage=1

08-14-2015, 01:19 PM
Via Twitter an update:
Hamzah bin Ladin's new audio confirms that Abu Basir Nasir al-Wuhayshi was the "deputy leader of Qa'idat al-Jihad". Also interesting: he mentions some of the Iran-based AQC leaders he studied under and speaks of them as still in prison. They were: Ahmad Hasan Abu al-Khayr, Abu Muhammad al-Misri, Sayf al-'Adl and Sulayman Abu Ghayth.

The author is 'alleyesonjihad', a French student.

Quick research found Sulayman Abu Ghayth has been in US custody since March 2013 (subject of posts here IRRC). Both Abu Muhammad al-Misri and Sayf al-'Adl have been reported to be in Iran via Wiki.

09-09-2015, 10:10 AM
An Ali Soufan column on FP explaining how the long wanted suspect for the Kobar bombing in 1996, is now in Saudi custody; having flown from Iran to Lebanon and being arrested:http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/09/08/saudi-arabia-khobar-hezbollah-iran/?

...the question of why Hezbollah allowed Mughassil to be plucked from its own backyard — without any retaliation or even a tangible response — may be even more fascinating.

(Later) Mughassil’s capture and arrest should be a lesson to state-sponsored terrorists everywhere: They are being played as pawns and are only safe as long as they are useful.

09-15-2015, 06:34 PM
Ah, but this could get "awkward" now... The Bin Laden Papers: al Qaeda’s secret deals with Iran.

http://on.wsj.com/1UQwhbP via @WSJ

Mod's Note: article is behind a registration / paywall alas.

09-15-2015, 10:12 PM
Anonymous intelligence sources led to this Sky News report; it starts with:
Iran has released five senior al Qaeda operatives from detention and will soon allow them to leave the country, prompting fears they will join other terrorists in Syria planning attacks on the West. According to intelligence sources, three of the five are members of al Qaeda's ruling committee the Shura Council.
They were released in exchange for an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen earlier this year.

(Later) intelligence sources said, were believed to be still in Iran but there are fears that they will be allowed to leave - probably to refill positions inside al Qaeda's leadership structure that has been mauled by drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Somalia.

09-18-2015, 01:48 PM
The NYT adds:
The Iranian government, in a statement on Thursday after the release was reported by Sky News earlier this week, denied that the five men had been freed....The release of the men could re-energize the militant group, providing an influx of vetted leaders at a crucial time, terrorism experts say.Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/18/world/middleeast/iran-released-top-members-of-al-qaeda-in-a-trade.html?

So six months ago this release happened or didn't, then a week ago the Khobar Towers suspect appears to have been "given up".

09-19-2015, 01:12 PM
The Long War Journal assesses the recent reports and concludes:
There is no question that Saif al Adel, Abu Mohammed al Masri and Abu Khayr al Masri are among al Qaeda’s most senior leaders....the freed jihadists may serve another purpose. Jihadists on social media have circulated a rumor suggesting that al Qaeda plans on relaunching a new branch inside Iraq, in direct competition with the Islamic State. The al Qaeda leaders released from Iran are well-positioned to lead this effort....These men could argue the opposite, saying they, and al Qaeda, are Zarqawi’s true heirs.

Now if that assessment is correct the Iranian "release" makes sense in countering ISIS. Indeed a certain US general has mooted using AQ to counter ISIS; strange world sometimes.

02-27-2016, 06:39 PM
CrowBat...back to our JaN discussion........could this be the inherent key....Iranian ties into JaN via AQ?????

Could the protective hand of the IRGC/Khamenei be over them and not so much the Russians?????

There is in fact some similarities between AQs jihadist view of revolutionary Islam and the "revolutionary Islam" preached and written about by Khomeini that both Shia and Sunni's can relate to.

Iran’s Partnership with al-Qaeda and Unanswered Questions | The Syrian Intifada - by .@KyleWOrton
https://kyleorton1991.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/irans-partnership-with-al-qaeda-and-unanswered-questions/ …

(Mod's Note: This article is dated September 19, 2015)

Iran instrumentalizes al-Qaeda by facilitating travel of AQ members to #Syria -> weakening moderates

In 2011, Treasury reported Iran-Qaeda "secret deal".
In 2014, Treasury added these details: http://bit.ly/1QaIhQ4

(Mod's Note: This article by Kyle is dated March 24, 2014)

Sayf al-Adel was also recently freed by #Iran >> Iran’s Partnership with al-Qaeda and Unanswered Questions

And if Sayf al-Adel has now made his way into Syria, no surprise: al-Qaeda has been operating networks feeding Nusra from Iran for years.

There are a number of comments indicating he is indeed in Syria with JaN.

Sayf al-Adel worked out the plan for the formation of a jihadist statelet with Abu Musab az-Zarqawi in 2002. In #Iran.

03-02-2016, 07:47 PM
AQ has collaborated with Iranian intel (Pasdaran/IRGC) for 20+ years.
There's a whole book if you're curious:

http://www.amazon.com/Unholy-Terror-Bosnia-Al-Qaida-Global/dp/B0044KMWPI …

03-03-2016, 09:27 PM
Hat tip to Outlaw 09 spotting these passages, with my emphasis in bold:
The collection includes letters to subordinates in al-Qaeda, messages from followers willing to carry out suicide attacks, and screeds on issues including bin Laden’s conviction that the United States and Iran were poised for an apocalyptic war. In one letter, bin Laden scolds one of his deputies for threatening attacks against Iran, saying, “As you are aware, Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel and communication.”
Members of bin Laden’s family were held in Iran for years in a murky state of house arrest, leading to speculation that al-Qaeda and Tehran had formed a wary partnership. But U.S. intelligence officials said they have found no evidence in the Abbottabad files of any formal arrangement along those lines.Link:https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-secret-will-bin-laden-wanted-his-fortune-to-keep-funding-war-on-west/2016/03/01/b3a03d6c-dfa4-11e5-846c-10191d1fc4ec_story.html

Another, Arabic source (in English) and hat tip to Outlaw 09:http://english.aawsat.com/2016/01/article55346170/bin-ladens-men-in-tehran-iran-heavily-indebted-to-al-qaeda

SWJ Blog
03-10-2016, 11:55 PM
An article on SWJ: Iran: al-Qaeda’s “Main Artery for Funds, Personnel and Communication.” The Recently Released Osama bin Laden Letters (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/iran-al-qaeda%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cmain-artery-for-funds-personnel-and-communication%E2%80%9D-the-recently-released-o)

It has a number of references.

03-26-2016, 06:29 PM
Great summary from @JoelWing2 >> Iran#s Ties With Al Qaeda In Iraq’s [#IS's] Abu Musab al-Zarqawi

03-26-2016, 07:24 PM
New Latakia emir of Jabhat an-Nusra (al-Qaeda in #Syria), Iyad at-Tubasi (Abu Julaybib), is a brother-in-law of #IS founder Zarqawi.

Nusra's new coastal emir, Iyad at-Tubasi, fought alongside Zarqawi in AFG, and moved with Zarqawi to Iraq in 2002, before the invasion.

Some of this is undeniable: #Iran's had an operational cnx with al-Qaeda since 1996, a partnership even longer.

Iyad at-Tubasi was wrong reported killed in DEC 2012, was said to have been replaced as Nusra's Deraa emir by Mustafa Abd al-Latif Saleh.

Mustafa Abd al-Latif Saleh is also from Zarqa, and arrived early in Iraq with Zarqawi (2003 latest), working on the Assad-overseen ratlines.

Both Iyad at-Tubasi and Mustafa Abd al-Latif Saleh were among the ISI advanced party that entered Syria in AUG 2011 to create Nusra.

03-26-2016, 08:01 PM
Hat tip to another who id'd Joel Wing's article, nearly a month ago:http://musingsoniraq.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/irans-ties-with-al-qaeda-in-iraqs-abu.html

04-19-2016, 08:18 AM
The interesting "missing 28 pages" might in fact be about Saudi back channel funding BUT a far more critical aspect that is not being discussed here and CrowBat brought it up as did the IRGC Commander with his comment he is training for war with the US.

A well known ME analyst type has kept pounding away that there is far more Iranian involvement with IS/AQ than the Obama WH and his NSC truly wants us to understand.

AND it dates BEFORE 9/11........

Kyle W. Orton ‏@KyleWOrton
"Iran never paid a price for [killing our soldiers in #Iraq], any more than it did for waging a global terrorist war against the West".

Appears in the Obama WH drive to implement the Iran Deal even Obama overlooked the simple fact that one of the most deadliest IEDs...the EFPs were manufactured and then smuggled into Iraq from Iran......notice not a single attempt by the Obama WH to punish Iran for this...instead Obama hopes for "moderates" and passes IRGC and Khamenei 150B USDs.

Iran’s Partnership with al-Qaeda and Unanswered Questions
By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on September 19, 2015

Also from 1992, Hizballah chief + IRGC officer Imad Mughniyeh was training al-Qaeda jihadis in the Bekaa, jointly did Khobar, etc

More than a decade BEFORE there was an Al Qaeda
Hezbollah carried out a suicide bombing against US embassy in #Beirut 33 years today, killed 60 US Marines & staff.

Then this yesterday.......
Saudi cash and #Iranian know how - al-Qa’ida and 9/11
http://observer.com/2016/04/uncovering-the-hidden-truths-of-911/ …

07-13-2016, 09:25 PM
A short, pre-book publication story that starts:
Al Qaeda operatives based in Iran worked on chemical and biological weapons, according to a letter written to Osama bin Laden that is described in a new book by a top former U.S. intelligence official. The letter was captured by a U.S. military sensitive site exploitation team during the raid on bin Laden's Abbottabad headquarters in May 2011. It is described in Field of Fight, out Tuesday from Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Michael Ledeen of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
The official White House response has a bitter tone IMHO:
Mike Flynn, in true Kremlin form, has been peddling these baseless conspiracy theories for years. Anyone who thinks Iran was or is in bed with al Qaeda doesn't know much about either.Link:http://www.weeklystandard.com/top-intel-official-al-qaeda-worked-on-wmd-in-iran/article/2003264#.V4ZPFW8icX8.twitter

09-08-2016, 04:40 PM
Kyle W. Orton ‏@KyleWOrton
Wrote about this a year ago:

Iran’s Partnership with al-Qaeda and Unanswered Questions


The Islamic Republic of Iran released five senior al-Qaeda terrorists in March, ostensibly as part of a prisoner exchange for an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). But the murky circumstances in which al-Qaeda’s leaders were “held” in Iran and other inconsistencies cast some doubt on this version of events, and draw attention to some old questions about Iran’s support for al-Qaeda and its affiliates and offshoots.

According to a September 14 report by Sky News, the five al-Qaeda leaders were freed—and will soon be allowed to leave Iran—in exchange for Nour Ahmad Nikbakht, an Iranian diplomat kidnapped by AQAP in July 2013 who landed in Tehran on March 5. Even on this version of events it means that the Iranian State media reports at the time, that Nikbakht was freed as the result of “intelligence operation,” were false.

Who Has Been Released?

The most important al-Qaeda leader freed by Iran is Sayf al-Adel. Regarded as al-Qaeda’s number three, al-Adel is one of al-Qaeda’s most capable military leaders. Beginning his career in the Egyptian military, before moving into Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), then led by Ayman az-Zawahiri, al-Adel was one of the masterminds behind the conspiracy that assassinated President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981. By 1988, al-Adel was in Afghanistan and remained after the Soviets left.

Iran has long had friendly relations with Egypt’s Sunni Islamists and the alliance with EIJ was further strengthened via Hassan al-Turabi in the early 1990s, after which Zawahiri was the poster-boy for Iran’s policy of ecumenical support for anti-American Islamic radicalism. Al-Adel was among those trained by Iran through the Hizballah in Lebanon in the early 1990s, going on to serve on al-Qaeda’s Shura Council and as al-Qaeda’s security chief. Al-Adel is believed to have been involved in the 1998 Embassy bombings and the butchery of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, though, interestingly, al-Adel seems to have opposed to the 9/11 massacre.

Al-Adel was key in convincing Osama bin Laden to maintain relations with Abu Musab az-Zarqawi, despite Zarqawi and Bin Laden having a stormy initial meeting and retaining deep difference over the “far enemy” question. Zarqawi had extensive contacts in the Levant, al-Adel argued, and this “rolodex pragmatism” would carry the day—and quickly: al-Qaeda put Zarqawi’s contacts to use for the Jordanian end of the Millennium Plot in December 1999.

EIJ had operated quite freely in Iran in the 1990s and after the NATO invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 al-Qaeda members and associates, al-Adel and Zarqawi among them, took shelter in Tehran and Mashhad, where Zarqawi was even reportedly trained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC).

Zarqawi moved from Iran to an area of Iraq controlled by Ansar al-Islam, which was led by Zarqawi loyalists and received assistance from both al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, in April 2002. The next month, Zarqawi moved to Baghdad with two-dozen senior al-Qaeda associates, including his successor Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Hammam as-Suri, the head of the military for Jabhat an-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria), at least until he was supposedly killed in March. Zarqawi was allowed free movement in and out of Baghdad, and he conducted a tour of the Levant to set up the “ratlines” that brought foreign holy warriors into Iraq during the American regency. By November 2002, Zarqawi had taken direct charge of Ansar in northern Iraq.

Zarqawi and three-hundred jihadists were allowed to move back into Iran during the Iraq invasion, before being permitted to cross the border again later in 2003 to make war against constitutional government in Iraq. Once back in Iraq, Ansar would reassert its autonomy from Zarqawi, albeit remaining in coordination with him, and Zarqawi and his associates from the Herat camp in Afghanistan rebranded their group from Jund a-Sham to at-Tawhid wal-Jihad, which later became al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and eventually the Islamic State (ISIS). An al-Qaeda network maintained on Iranian soil, of which al-Adel was a senior member, was an important logistics and supply base for AQI.

From Iran, in collusion with Zarqawi, al-Adel organized the bombing of Riyadh in May 2003, after which the Iranian theocracy ostensibly placed al-Adel under some form of arrest, the terms of which were never made clear. Al-Adel was reported to have been released in a previous prisoner swap in 2010. After Bin Laden was struck down, it is said that al-Adel was the interim leader of al-Qaeda—which couldn’t have happened if al-Adel was truly detained. Several reports in the summer of 2011 said Tehran had allowed al-Adel to travel between Iran and Pakistan.

The other four al-Qaeda leaders set free by Iran are:
1.Abu Khayr al-Masri: An Egyptian member of al-Qaeda’s Shura Council, Abu Khayr was as a member of the Black Guard, the elite bodyguard unit, connected directly to Bin Laden and Zawahiri. Abu Khayr was al-Qaeda’s chief of foreign relations and the principal conduit to the Taliban. Abu Khayr is one of the most-wanted men in his native Saudi Arabia. Reported to have travelled from Iran to Pakistan in 2010 with Saad bin Laden, Osama’s son, it is not clear how or why Abu Khayr ended up back in Iran and what exactly were the arrangements of his captivity.
2.Abu Muhammad al-Masri: One of the most important operational planners in al-Qaeda, Abu Muhammad is another Egyptian member of the Shura Council, and a close associate of al-Adel’s. Abu Muhammad is under U.S. indictment for the African Embassy bombings.
3.Khaled al-Aruri (a.k.a. Abu al-Qassam): A Jordanian national of Palestinian descent, al-Aruri was with Zarqawi in his formative period: they travelled together to Afghanistan in the late 1980s, were imprisoned together in Jordan in 1994 with Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, and went back to Taliban Afghanistan together in 1999. Al-Aruri then moved with Zarqawi to Iran to Iraq back to Iran and then into Iraq again. Al-Aruri remained a deputy commander of AQI and one of Zarqawi’s closest companions until Zarqawi was killed in 2006.
4.Sari Shibab: A Jordanian al-Qaeda member of whom little is publicly known.

A History of Duplicity

Perhaps Iran really has been strong-armed into releasing these men—when al-Adel was last reported released in 2010, it is said that al-Qaeda had kidnapped an IRGC officer disguised as a diplomat in Pakistan to hasten a release process that was already in motion. But without clarity on whether al-Adel was released in 2010—or if he was, whether, when, how, and why he was rearrested—this raises more questions than it answers. And whatever the case might be, none of the confusion conceals the fact that Iran’s holding senior al-Qaeda leaders under “house arrest” is a sham.

.@JoeLieberman rakes it all up, inc formal Iran-AQ deal in 1992, Embassy bombings

"Remember Iran’s Role in 9/11"
Forgetful officials should not be rewarding Tehran for its deadly actions with gifts like sanctions relief.

Joseph I. Lieberman

Sept. 7, 2016 7:21 p.m. ET

‘Never forget” is the commitment the American people made after Sept. 11, 2001. Yet sometimes our leaders seem to have forgotten Iran’s role in that worst terror attack on American soil, and Iran’s continuing assistance to terror organizations and operations around the world.

01-24-2017, 01:37 PM
Admin after admin has never wanted to level with the public about AQ+Iran.

US ODNI has released another batch of UBL/AQ compound documents.....and it supports a number of articles written by Orten about the connections between AQ and Iran and even Russia.....

THAT apparently has been overlooked by Trump and his surrogates when stating "he is going to eradicate IS from the face of the earth"....does that mean along the way Iran and Russia who have been supporting both????

02-02-2017, 07:41 PM
A curious paragraph in The Soufan Group's commentary on the recent Executive Order on restricting immigration, with my emphasis:
However, Iran is materially different from the other countries named in the executive order. The restriction is primarily intended to prevent terrorists linked to the so-called Islamic State (http://soufangroup.us4.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=3fe77a4916f69c37ee2ac1cbe&id=9a89470b5e&e=8aef956530) and al-Qaeda (http://soufangroup.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=3fe77a4916f69c37ee2ac1cbe&id=83823c0e18&e=8aef956530) from entering the U.S. Iran has identified both groups as threats to Iranian national security and has provided military support to the governments of Iraq and Syria to battle them and related Sunni jihadist organizations. Though it did allow some aides to Usama bin Ladin to take refuge in Iran after the September 11 attacks—possibly as leverage against Saudi Arabia, its main regional adversary (http://soufangroup.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=3fe77a4916f69c37ee2ac1cbe&id=3123fced3f&e=8aef956530)—Iran kept them under virtual house arrest and eventually expelled nearly all of them.Link:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrief-the-trump-administration-takes-aim-at-iran/

Has Iran really expelled nearly all of them?

02-27-2017, 03:16 PM
More of a historical note from The Soufan Group's IntelBrief today, following a drone strike that killed him in Syria:
After the September 11 attacks, al-Masri fled Afghanistan and went to Iran. Along with one of bin Ladin’s sons and Saif al-Adl—another top member of al-Qaeda—al-Masri was effectively placed on house arrest while in Iran. This arrangement was reflective of al-Qaeda and Iran’s long and complicated relationship (http://www.soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrief-irans-bazaar-diplomacy-with-al-qaeda/), in which Tehran has essentially sheltered terrorists such as al-Adl and al-Masri, but limited their movements and activities. While the exact date is publicly uncertain, by late 2015 Iran had released al-Masri (along with al-Adl and others) in exchange for an Iranian diplomat held hostage by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In July 2016, a Syrian al-Qaeda media outlet released an audio recording of al-Masri, showing that when he left Iran he went to Syria...Link:http://www.soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrief-a-major-blow-for-al-qaeda/

02-27-2017, 06:40 PM
Kyle Orton
✔ @KyleWOrton
Al-Qaeda's overall deputy killed: a career spanning AQ's murky relations with #Iran and evolving strategy in #Syria.

04-09-2017, 11:30 AM
Within a longer article Hamid Hussain (on the thread for the Pakistani-Arab relationship) has this passage on this issue:
Now looking at the time line after Bin Ladin’s killing, it is clear that in 2010 Iran exchanged Bin Ladin’s family members for its intelligence operative Heshmatollah Atterzadeh. He was working under the cover of commercial attaché at Iranian consulate in Peshawar from where he was abducted by al-Qaeda operatives and kept in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Tehran didn’t bother to inform Pakistanis even after the exchange was done. Leader of Taliban Mullah Akhtar Mansur was travelling on a Pakistani passport with an Iranian visa and coming from Iran when a drone sent him packing back to his creator. He was surely not going for a holiday trip to Iran.

04-14-2017, 09:04 PM
From CTC a lengthy article on this 'marriage of convenience'; which ends with:
...cooperation is simply too valuable for these partners to be abandoned.The Abstract:
The relationship between Iran and al-Qa`ida goes back at least a quarter of a century, but it remains one of the most understudied and poorly understood chapters in the history and evolution of the jihadi organization founded by Usama bin Ladin. Recently declassified letters seized in 2011 from bin Ladin’s Abbottabad hideout and U.S. government and court documents, however, have shed some additional light on their partnership. The existing information suggests that the relationship is best understood as a “tactical cooperation”—one that, despite the intervention of Iran and its proxies in opposition to al-Qa`ida in the Syrian civil war, is likely to continue for as long as the parties perceive the benefits of cooperation to exceed the costs.Link:https://www.ctc.usma.edu/posts/marriage-of-convenience-the-evolution-of-iran-and-al-qaidas-tactical-cooperation

05-08-2017, 07:11 PM
A lengthy article 'Osama bin Laden’s family on the run: ‘I never stopped praying our lives might return to normal’, based on a new book by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy’s book 'The Exile: The Flight Of Osama Bin Laden' is published on 23 May by Bloomsbury (London)' and it has several passages on how Iran treated their guests.

First time I have seen mention of the role of General Qassem Suleimani:
In January 2002, George Bush included Tehran in his “axis of evil (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/jan/28/usa.iran)”. After this, Iran’s secretive Quds force, a clandestine division of the country’s Revolutionary Guard, led by Major General Qassem Suleimani, went out of their way to assist al-Qaida. They set up a refugee camp in the no man’s land just beyond the Iranian border with Afghanistan.Link:https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/06/osama-bin-laden-family-on-the-run-after-9-11

06-17-2017, 06:52 PM
A pointer to a source:
Mr Soufan is at his most interesting in describing in detail the ambiguous role of Iran in the arrest, and then the release, of senior al-Qaeda figures fleeing Afghanistan—including Hamza bin Laden, Osama’s son—to be used “either as leverage or as attack dogs”.Taken from a book review, of three books in The Economist; Soufan's being 'Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of Bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State'.

09-11-2017, 03:03 PM
Hat tip to WoTR - a review by Bruce Hoffman of the book by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy’s book 'The Exile: The Flight Of Osama Bin Laden'. It deals with the Iranian and Pakistani links. The first was Post 51.

Here are two passages:
Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the commander of Iranian and Shia forces deployed against ISIL in Syria and Iraq today, was Gul’s Iranian doppelgänger. As commander of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp’s (IRGC), Suleimani was similarly responsible for the safekeeping of bin Laden’s family and the al-Qaeda leaders and their families who had fled from Afghanistan as a result of the American invasion. Reverentially referred to as “Hajji Qassem” by bin Laden’s sons, Suleimani provided accommodation for them, their siblings, and mothers as well as their father’s closest confidants and their families at a clandestine Quds Force training headquarters in Tehran.
This tale of Iranian connivance provides additional evidence debunking the popular misconception that extremists do not cooperate across sectarian lines. Rather, it demonstrates how when interests overlap, they have repeatedly shown a remarkable ability to cast aside their otherwise rigid differences to work together. The ancient proverb that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” has long characterized the shifting and sometimes inexplicable alliances formed across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia since the war on terrorism commenced 16 years ago. In this instance, the intensity of the shared enmity between Salafi-Jihadi Sunnis and Shia militants against the United States can never be prudently forgotten.Link:https://warontherocks.com/2017/06/abbottabad-revisited/

11-01-2017, 08:15 PM
Taken from an article by FDD's Long War Journal, on the documents released today by the CIA, from the Abbottabad raid on Bin Laden's villa:
One never-before-seen 19-page document contains a senior jihadist’s assessment of the group’s relationship with Iran. The author explains that Iran offered some “Saudi brothers” in al Qaeda “everything they needed,” including “money, arms” and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.” Iranian intelligence facilitated the travel of some operatives with visas, while sheltering others. Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, an influential ideologue prior to 9/11, helped negotiate a safe haven for his jihadi comrades inside Iran. But the author of the file, who is clearly well-connected, indicates that al Qaeda’s men violated the terms of the agreement and Iran eventually cracked down on the Sunni jihadists’ network, detaining some personnel. Still, the author explains that al Qaeda is not at war with Iran and some of their “interests intersect,” especially when it comes to being an “enemy of America.” Bin Laden’s files show the two sides have had heated disagreements. There has been hostility between the two. Al Qaeda even penned a letter to Ayatollah Khamenei demanding the release of family members held in Iranian custody. Other files show that al Qaeda kidnapped an Iranian diplomat to exchange for its men and women. Bin Laden himself considered plans to counter Iran’s influence throughout the Middle East, which he viewed as pernicious.
However, bin Laden urged caution when it came to threatening Iran. In a previously released letter, bin Laden described Iran as al Qaeda’s “main artery for funds, personnel, and communication.” And despite their differences, Iran continued to provide crucial support for al Qaeda’s operations.
In a series of designations and other official statements issued since July 2011, the US Treasury and State Departments have repeatedly targeted al Qaeda’s “core facilitation pipeline (https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2017/07/state-department-iran-continues-to-host-al-qaedas-core-facilitation-pipeline.php)” inside Iran. Sources familiar with the intelligence used to justify those designations say they are based, in part, on the Abbottabad files. It is likely that still more revelations concerning al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran remain to be found in the cache made available today.Link:https://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2017/11/analysis-cia-releases-massive-trove-of-osama-bin-ladens-files.php

11-14-2017, 06:29 PM
A long piece by Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy authors of 'The Exile: The Flight Of Osama Bin Laden' who cite one of the Abbottabad papers as reinforcing their book:
Against all odds, and despite the most costly counter-terrorism campaign ever waged by the West, al-Qaeda has flourished—its comeback assisted by a remarkable pact with Iran.

06-11-2018, 02:59 PM
An update:
A prominent Iranian politician discussed Iranian facilitation on the passage of al-Qaeda members who later carried out the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, potentially confirming allegations in the 9/11 Commission report. Mohammad-Javad Larijani, a former diplomat, member of a politically influential Iranian family, and current international affairs assistant in the Iranian judiciary, made the comments in an interview with Iranian state TV on May 30, according to an Al Arabiya report (https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2018/06/08/WATCH-In-first-Iran-admits-to-facilitating-passage-of-al-Qaeda-s-9-11-attackers.html). The interview translation was independently confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

What did he actually say?
The al-Qaeda members asked the Iranian authorities not to stamp their passports because the Saudi government would prosecute them if it knew they traveled to Iran, he said.“Our government agreed not to stamp the passports of some of them because they were on transit flights for two hours, and they were resuming their flights without having their passports stamped,” Larijani said. “However their movements were under the complete supervision of the Iranian intelligence.”
One of the pilots who passed through Iranian airspace before September 11 was responsible for carrying out the attacks, and a Hezbollah military leader sat next to him, Larijani added.

09-21-2018, 01:28 PM
From "Foggy Bottom" via the Long War Journal, which starts with:
The State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism today. The report covers events during the previous calendar year. As in past assessments, State says that Iran “has allowed” al Qaeda to operate its key facilitation network on Iranian soil.

It has a summary of previous findings too.


09-22-2018, 10:16 AM
A report from New America by Nelly Lahoud, a SME, which is based on the Abbottabad documents:
This study canvasses nearly 300 declassified documents recovered in May 2011 by U.S. Special Forces during the raid on the compound of Al-Qa‘ida leader Usama bin Ladin (UBL) in Abbottabad, Pakistan. By focusing on Al-Qa‘ida’s voice — in the form of its own communications — this report avoids much of the challenge of politicization that occurs when discussion of Iran’s relationship to Al-Qa‘ida is based on commentary by Iran’s rivals.

There are two links, the first comes complete (41 pgs):https://s3.amazonaws.com/newamericadotorg/documents/Al-Qaidas_Contested_Relationship_with_Iran_2018-08-20_151707.pdf

The second is part by part:https://www.newamerica.org/international-security/reports/al-qaidas-contested-relationship-iran/introduction


11-08-2018, 06:26 PM
A "long read" by Ali Soufan in CTC's 'The Sentinel' on this remarkable opponent, at times it is painful reading. There is a chunk on The Postponed Enemy: Al-Qa`ida, 2001–present, so cross-posted to that thread.

06-07-2019, 07:49 PM
Via Twitter from a respected journalist, Patrick Wintour of The Guardian, alas minus where this was said and quote the tweet in full. The diplomat's text is in bold:
British CT diplomat Jessica Jambert-Gray on Al-Qaeda:"[AQ is] being influenced by a group of Al-Qaeda senior[ leaders] based in Iran who appear to have taken an increasing role in the global organisation" She refused to enlarge on this assessment, one previously made by the US.

Well a little research found the where and when. First her biography:
First Secretary, Counter-Terrorism, British Embassy to the U.S.
Jessica Jambert-Gray is the head of the strategic threats team at the British Embassy. Her team covers a broad range of security issues, including counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism, intelligence policy, counter-proliferation and international security. She has worked in the British Government for over 10 years, including a posting to Pakistan, and roles in Middle East counter-terrorism, intelligence analysis, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and international human rights. She has also completed a number of shorter postings to the UK’s mission to the European Union, the African Union and India.

The where and when: June 4th 2019 @ Middle East Institute, Washington DC; during a ninety minute session 'Countering Terrorism in the Middle East: A Situation Report'. Her remarks that the tweet refers to are: 16;48-16:55.

07-21-2019, 01:34 PM
From a longer NYRB article on teh confrontation with Iran:
A recently released compendium of declassified documents captured in the US raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden makes clear the abiding mistrust between the two sides and the miserable conditions that al-Qaeda operatives have endured as guests of Iran.

Presumably someone knows where this 'compendium' can be located?

08-11-2020, 09:27 AM
Yes,another article on the Abbottabad Records from the journal 'Studies in Conflict and Terrorism' by Bryce Loidot, Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, Washington, DC, USA. I have not read this.

The Abstract:
Through a comprehensive review of documents recovered from Usama bin Ladin’s Abbottabad compound, this study provides a new periodization of al-Qaeda’s relationship with Iran. The analysis reveals that al-Qaeda often had to reconcile conflicting operational and ideational pressures in its interactions with the Islamic Republic over time. Beyond offering insight into the trajectory of this important relation-ship and direction for future scholarship, the analysis suggests someways through which the United States might expand the strategic wedge that exists between these unlikely allies and highlights the need for a more flexible understanding of state sponsored terrorism.