Joscelyn: Mughniyeh, Iran, and 9/11

Thin and circumstantial until the middle of page two, when things start hopping. A lot of it’s old news from the 9/11 Commission Report but you’re probably seeing it for the first time; our media tends not to dwell, shall we say, on terrorism against America by nations whom the Bushitler has his eye on. Flashback to the early 1990s, after an alleged meeting between Mughniyeh and budding mass murderer Osama Bin Laden, seeking pointers on the tricks of the trade:

The type of training described by Mohamed took place not only in Sudan, where hundreds of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah operatives had built terrorist training camps, but also in Lebanon and Iran. The 9/11 Commission reported that “senior al Qaeda operatives and trainers traveled to Iran to receive training in explosives.” Then, “in the fall of 1993, another such delegation went to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon for further training in explosives as well as in intelligence and security.” Among the al Qaeda trainees sent to the Bekaa Valley in 1993 were some of the perpetrators of the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. According to the 9/11 Commission, the al Qaeda delegation included “top military committee members and several operatives who were involved with the Kenya cell.”

And now to 2000, with big plans afoot and AQ operatives traveling hither and yon — including to Iran. Was it just a transit hub between Europe, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan? Huh:

As described by 9/11 Commissioners Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton in their book Without Precedent, the evidence included “connections between al Qaeda, Iran and the 9/11 hijackers.”…

Like al Ghamdi, some of the other hijackers traveled to Iran through Hezbollah’s home turf–Lebanon. In November 2000, Salem al Hazmi, one of the American Airlines Flight 77 hijackers, traveled to Beirut. The same month, three other hijackers–Wail al Shehri, Waleed al Shehri, and Ahmed al Nami–“traveled in a group from Saudi Arabia to Beirut and then onward to Iran.” An unnamed associate of Mugniyah’s accompanied them on the Beirut-to-Iran leg of their trip. The 9/11 Commission noted: “Hezbollah officials in Beirut and Iran were expecting the arrival of a group during [mid-November 2000]. The travel of this group was important enough to merit the attention of senior figures in Hezbollah.”

Verdict: inconclusive. But read the whole thing, as it challenges the quasi-religious belief that Sunni and Shiite jihadists never, ever coordinate. Evidence contradicting that has been floated in the past few years, some of it circumstantial, some of it dubiously spectacular (per the updates), some of it provocative, but it’s all been subordinated to the paramount concern of keeping Bush’s hands off Iran, not unlike the way connections between AQ and AQ in Iraq are ignored in the interest of separating the “real” war on terror from the fake one. Maybe once the White House is full of Hope and Change it’ll be safer for the media to acknowledge it.