Iran *Was* Chummy With Al-Qaeda — Back When Both Were on America’s Side in Bosnia and Afghanistan
Unofortunately for Pompeo
The shameless liar Mike Pompeo is attempting to draw a link between al-Qaeda and Iran so Trump can launch a war on Iran without Congressional approval, under the 2001 Congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force against those whoe “planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons”.
The Bush and Obama administration attempted the same weaving tales of cooperation in the 2000s and 2010s which never existed. The only Iran-Qaeda links which are never brought up are those which actually existed, particularly in the 1990s under Clinton when Iran, al-Qaeda and the US all looked on each other’s involvement in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia with benevolence.
Along with the rest of Yugoslavia Bosnia was placed under a UN Security Council arms embargo in 1991 but that only served to limit the inflow of weapons to those approved by the US. The US collaborated with the Saudis and Iran to bring in arms, fighters and trainers for the Bosnian Muslim side. Iran contributed some weapons, and rotated through 500 trainers. These trained the Bosnian Muslims, but also the Arab Islamist volunteers, some of them al-Qaeda.
It was a time and place when the US, Saudis, Iran and Hezbollah were all backing the same side in a war and building up the Bosnian Muslim army but particularly its Islamist core favored by the Islamist Bosnian Muslim leader Izetbegović and bolstered by 4,000 foreign jihadis (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Osama bin Laden both travelled to Bosnia during the war, the latter was issued honorary citizenship and passport by the US-backed Izetbegović in recognition of services rendered):
Saeed Qassemi (Ghasemi), retired IRGC General, is an outspoken ultraconservative, renowned for his vitriolic attacks on reformist former President Mohammad Khatami, and the incumbent “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani.
In an interview with the state-approved internet channel, Aparat, Qassemi maintained on April 14 that he had visited Bosnia in the 1990s to train Bosnian Muslim fighters against the Serbs while wearing the Iranian Red Crescent uniform.
In the same interview, Qassemi admits that he is divulging the fact since the Americans had already discovered the ruse and written about it.
“In Bosnia, in the heart of Europe, there were many developments. We were side by side with al-Qaeda. The members of al-Qaeda learned from us. From all over the world, Mujahedin poured into Bosnia, and there was a new development. Muslim Jihadi units were established,” Qassemi maintains.
In the 1990s, the Islamic Republic widely supported Bosnian Muslims in their conflict with the Serbs and Croats. The support was orchestrated by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a mid-ranking cleric currently presiding over two authoritative bodies in Iran, the Council of Guardians, and the Assembly of Experts.
To assist the Muslim Bosnians, Tehran launched a Bosnian speaking radio station, and later a TV channel, called “Sahar” (Dawn).
Meanwhile, the Bosnian war helped the IRGC’s extraterritorial arm, Qods Force, to expand, and gain more power.
Saeed Qassemi is an Iran-Iraq war veteran who has turned into a political activist after retiring from his position in the IRGC. Notorious as a short-tempered person who loves to use vituperative words, he is one of the leading orators at the Iranian Hezbollah gatherings and assemblies.
US and Iran (but not al-Qaeda) found themselves on the same side again during the 2003-2011 US occupation of Iraq. During that time the US demonized Iran as being behind the anti-American resistance but in reality the vast majority of the resistance came from the Sunnis over whom Iran had no influence, and the rest came from Shias who followed Muqtada al-Sadr, a nationalist Islamist who preached against Iranian influence in Iraq and solidarity with the Sunnis.
It was precisely the sectarian, pro-Iranian SCIRI and Dawa factions whom the 2003 invasion allowed to come back from exile in Iran that did not seek to challenge the Americans but instead inserted themselves into the collaborationist government and army and quickly took control of them. The US fought the Iraq war on the side of the pro-Iranian Shia factions and for the benefit of their stranglehold on the country.
Sullen that it carried Iranian influence across the Iraqi border in this way the Empire now fantasizes about a war on Iran that would benefit al-Qaeda.