A great article by the Gatestone Institute, about the alliance that was forged between Iran, Sudan, Al Qaeda and the Lebanese Hezbollah in the early 90s in Sudan. See “The New, Improved Axis of Jihad”, May 2013. The Gatestone Institute is a very anti-Jihadist and pro-Israel American think tank, and it has great and detailed articles on terrorism. James Woosley, the CIA director for the period 1993-1995, is included in its list of advisors.
This particular article was written in 2013 and it is a bit outdated, because in 2015 Sudan changed sides, and aligned itself with Saudi Arabia, after receiving considerable financial support. But for the previous decades Sudan has been the strongest ally of Iran in Africa. Moreover the US-Iranian relations have improved a lot, at least when compared to what they were in 2013, and therefore Iran cannot support Al Qaeda attacks against the United States in the way it could in the past. Moreover, the war in Syria strained the alliance between Al Qaeda, Iran and Hezbollah, because Al Qaeda is a Sunni terrorist group and it is fighting the Iranian ally Bashar al Assad.
The article writes about the alliance that was forged in Sudan in the early 90s, between Sudan, Iran, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden, one of Al Qaeda’s founders, was a hero of the Afghanistan war against the Soviets (1979-1989). But when the Saudi King invited the Americans to fight Saddam Hussein, when Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990, Osama bin Laden, and many other Saudis, criticized the Saudi King, and he was expelled from Saudi Arabia.
Osama was the sun of one of the largest constructors of Saudi Arabia, and he grew up with the children of the royal family of Saud. We can therefore assume that when he became an enemy of the Saudi King he must had received very large sums of money from members of the royal family who were antagonizing the King. That was the point of the alliance that was forged in Sudan in the early 90s. Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Iran could unite their forces to fight the Saudi King and the Americans.
Osama bin Laden was hiding in Sudan from 1992 to 1996, and he moved to Afghanistan only after the Americans threatened the Sudanese with military action, and the Sudanese had to ask him to leave. I guess that in Afganistan Osama bin Laden must had also support from Pakistan, and the tolerance of China, even though I am sure that China never participated in the terrorist attacks against the United States. China has many problems with Islamic terrorism too. But Pakistan, one of the strongest allies of China, is an Islamic country, and a very corrupt one, with very strong ties to Islamic terrorism. Remember that it was in Pakistan that the American navy seals killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, without asking the permission of the Pakistani authorities. After that the head of the CIA in Pakistan was poisoned, and the Pakistani doctor who helped the Americans trace Osama bin Laden was jailed, supposedly for connections with terrorist. See “Pakistan-Osama bin Laden”.
I must say that when we talk about the alliance between Iran and Al Qaeda we are talking about a partial alliance against the Saudi King and the Americans, and not a full scale alliance, because Al Qaeda is a Sunni and terrorist group, and most of Al Qaeda’s financing comes from Sunni countries i.e. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc. Al Qaeda is a loose sum of Sunni Islamic gangs that operate in many countries, and which are influenced by many countries. A new gang might join, and an existing gang might leave. But Al Qaeda is a Sunni terrorist group, and as you can see Al Qaeda and Iran are killing each other in Syria.
Gatestone mentions the names of the officers who forged the alliance between Iran, Sudan, Al Qaeda and Hezbollah in the early 90s, and it also says that training camps were opened in Sudan and South Lebanon, and Hezbollah was the one training the men recruited by Osama bin Laden for Al Qaeda.
Keep in mind that before the war in Syria, which among other things is a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, it would have been much easier for Al Qaeda to cooperate with Iran. Remember that both Iran and the Saudis are hurt by the American efforts to bring the oil and gas of Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Kazakstan) to the Indian Ocean.
Moreover there are many in Saudi Arabia who perceive the traditional alliance between Saudi Arabia and United States as an obstacle to stronger ties with China, which is now the big importer of Saudi oil. Moreover the American military presence in the Persian Gulf was a main part of the Iranian propaganda. Iran, and the other Saudi enemies, would always use the American military presence in Saudi Arabia to describe the Saudi King as an apostate who brought the infidels to the Holy Cities of Islam i.e. Mecca and Median. In 2003, after the 9/11 attacks, the Americans finally decided to move their bases to Qatar.
The article mentions many attacks carried out by the Iran-Al Qaeda-Hezbollah axis, with the 9/11 attack being the greatest achievement of this alliance. According to Gatestone, Venezuela was the base for the Iranian operations in the American continent, and the Lebanese Hezbollah was using the Margarita Island of Venezuela for its drugs trade with the Mexican drug cartels. Hezbollah is using drug trafficking in order to fill the gaps of its budget.
Note that Venezuela supported Iran, Russia and Assad in the Syrian Arab Spring, even though Qatar has made a lot of investments in Venezuela. Hezbollah was also using the banking system of Venezuela for its operations in the American continent.
See also “Hezbollah VS Al-Qaeda”
For the article see:
“The New, Improved Axis of Jihad”, May 2013
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Paragraph
Indicators and warnings continue to grow concerning the resurgence of an “Axis of Jihad” comprised of Iran, Hizballah, and al-Qa’eda. This axis is not new: its three actors, both national and sub-national, have been working together in an operational terror alliance for over two decades. Still, so many seem unaware not just of this alliance, but of the ideological bonds that brought them together in Khartoum, Sudan, in the early 1990s and have kept them together to the current day. The bond is as old as Islam, and includes the commitment to jihad [war in the name of Islam] and Islamic Shariah law; the threat is to all free and democratic societies which stand in the way of global Islamic government and the forcible application of Islamic Shariah Law.
This modern-day Axis of Jihad was formed in the Sudan under the aegis of the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Omar al-Bashir and his sometime political ally, National Congress Party chairman Hassan al-Turabi. Al-Qa’eda as such had not yet taken its current form, but after the end of the 1980s Afghan war against the Soviet Union, Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri had found safe haven in the Sudan. Al-Bashir and Turabi are pan-Islamists, meaning they see the world in terms of the Dar al-Islam (House of Islam, where Shariah is enforced) versus the Dar al-Harb (everywhere that is not under Islamic Law). Such a worldview chooses to disregard the ancient intra-Islamic schism between Sunni and Shi’a and instead to unify the entire Islamic world in jihad against the “infidel.”
So it was that al-Bashir and Turabi invited the Iranian regime leadership and its Hizballah terror proxies to Khartoum in late 1990 to meet with the future leadership of al-Qa’eda. Then-Iranian president (and once again a 2013 candidate for the office) Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, intelligence director Ali Fallahian, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Mohsen Reza’i and other top Iranian leadership figures accepted al-Bashir’s invitation and traveled to Khartoum, along with Islamic jihadis from around the region.
There, and in subsequent meetings that took place in Khartoum throughout the early 1990s, the alliance was formed among Iran, Hizballah, and what soon would be known as al-Qa’eda. Usama bin Laden was especially interested in the explosives expertise coupled with a “martyrdom” mentality he had seen demonstrated by Hizballah with such deadly effect against Western targets. It was arranged that Imad Mughniyeh, Hizballah’s top terror operative, would commit to training Usama bin Laden’s growing cadre of terrorists in explosives techniques, especially those involving suicide truck bombings that could bring down large buildings. Training camps were set up in Sudan, Lebanon, and elsewhere where al-Qa’eda’s would-be shahid recruits could learn this craft. The attacks at Khobar Towers, the U.S. East Africa Embassies in Dar Es-Salaam and Nairobi, against the USS Cole, and eventually the 9/11 attacks themselves were all the result of this terror alliance.
17th, 18th, 19th Paragraphs
The Tri-Border region of South America, where the borders of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay met, served as an early hub of terror operations from the 1980s onward for the Iranian Embassy in Buenos Aires and Hizballah, which jointly directed the 1992 and 1994 terror attacks against the Israeli Embassy and Jewish Cultural Center, respectively, from this lawless area. Since 2005,Iran’s operational base in Venezuela has become the nexus for its operations across the Western Hemisphere, including South, Central, and North America. Diplomatic relationships with Venezuela and other Latin American regimes hostile to the U.S., such as Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua also provide Iran with a means of evading international isolation and sanctions, obtaining a ready source of fraudulent travel documents, and laundering money.
Hizballah’s operations in the Western Hemisphere, including inside the U.S. and Canada, are noted with special concern by U.S. officials: former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff remarked that Hizballah made al-Qa’eda “look like a minor league team,” while former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage has called Hizballah the “A team” and al-Qa’eda the “B team.” Masters of clandestine intelligence tradecraft, as well as among the most highly trained and ideologically-committed special operations forces anywhere, Hizballah (which is trained by the Iranians) expends considerable effort establishing cell networks across the Americas. These cells are assigned to pre-attack casing and surveillance; fundraising via a variety of scams like cigarette smuggling as well as narcotrafficking; and operational planning for terror attacks. Former U.S. Ambassador Roger Noriega testifies regularly for Congress to detail Hizballah’s collaboration with narcotraffickers and guerrilla groups (such as the FARC — Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) whose drug-running and terror training activities are becoming ever more complex, dangerous, and threatening to U.S. national security, as well as that of friends and allies throughout the hemisphere.
Venezuela’s Margarita Island, better known as a prime tourist destination, has become a safe haven for terrorists and drug smugglers, as well as Hizballah’s banking and finance hub in the Western Hemisphere. According to Noriega, Hizballah runs countless businesses and safe houses on the island. Even closer to home, Hizballah has forged operational relationships with Mexican drug cartels such as Los Zetas. The links are opportunistic, rather than ideological, on both sides; Hizballah increasingly uses narcotics trafficking to fill funding gaps left by cutbacks in Iranian largesse, while the cartels benefit from Hizballah’s explosives, tunneling, and weapons expertise. Al-Qa’eda, too, has boasted about the ease of moving non-conventional arms and weapons of mass destruction into the U.S. via the Mexican drug tunnels. Kahlili’s reportingnames al-Qa’eda operative Adnan Shukrijumah, who has been spotted and tracked over the years by U.S. and allied security agencies from Canada to the U.S., and south into Latin America, among the list of operational commanders awaiting attack orders from Iranian Qods Force commander Qassem Suleimani, the overall Iran-Hizballah-al-Qa’eda coalition commander.