On June 25, 1996, the government of Iran and its Hezbollah terror wing, almost certainly with assistance from al Qaeda, bombed the American Air Force dormitory at the Khobar Towers complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia – killing 18 U.S. airmen (nearly 400 people, including many Americans, were wounded). Based on overwhelming evidence, a federal judge later concluded that, among other aspects of Iranian orchestration, “the terrorist attack on the Khobar Towers was approved by Ayatollah Khameini, the Supreme Leader of Iran[.]”
It is furthermore worth bearing in mind that the aforementioned Iran-trained Saif al-Adel helped build al Qaeda’s cells in Saudi Arabia. He also built its cells in Yemen, where the U.S.S. Cole was bombed on October 12, 2000, killing 17 American sailors. And … Adel trained some of the 9/11 suicide-hijackers.
That may be far from the limit of Iran’s connection to the latter atrocities, in which nearly 3000 Americans were killed. As the 9/11 Commission summed up the state of play:
[T]here is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers. There also is circumstantial evidence that senior Hezbollah operatives were closely tracking the travel of some of these future muscle hijackers into Iran in November 2000.
Remarkably, in its never-ending quest for a grand diplomatic deal with America’s enemies in Iran, our government has never followed up with a searching public investigation into Iran’s apparent (or, at the very least, potential) complicity in 9/11 – notwithstanding that Tehran gave safe harbor to top al Qaeda operatives who fled Afghanistan following the U.S. military invasion there. With many in Congress alarmed by the Obama administration’s give-away-the-store approach to negotiations, one wonders why this stone remains unturned.
Iran, moreover, has fueled the anti-American jihadist insurgencies in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Among attacks too numerous to list here, that includes the execution style murders of five American troops in Karbala on January 20, 2007. The Karbala massacre was engineered by Ali Mussa Daqduq, a Hezbollah commander who trained a network of Iran-sponsored jihadist cells. To this day, that network continues to operate in Iraq. In late 2011, while our nation turned its holiday attention away from Washington, the Obama administration quietly transferred Daqduq to Iraqi custody, well aware that this would result in his being freed to return to Lebanon and more Hezbollah dirty work.
Secretary Kerry studiously ignored this history in making his offensive claim that the United States and Iran share a bond and common concerns when it comes to being targeted by violent jihadists, including al Qaeda. He also ignored the most recent compilation his own department has published on state sponsors of terrorism. The State Department report begins this way:
Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, Iran increased its terrorist-related activity, including attacks or attempted attacks in India, Thailand, Georgia, and Kenya. Iran provided financial, material, and logistical support for terrorist and militant groups in the Middle East and Central Asia. Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and militant groups to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and stir up instability in the Middle East. The IRGC-QF is the regime’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.
The report goes on to implicate Iran in a plot to murder Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States; the training of Taliban elements waging a jihadist war against American troops in Afghanistan; the arming and training of Shiite terror cells in Iraq; the wholesale support (funds, weapons, training) of the Assad regime in Syria (also a state sponsor of terrorism); the ramping up of military capabilities of terrorists in Yemen; and the harboring of al Qaeda.
In late 2005, when he was among the leading Senate Democrats to join the hard Left’s campaign against the American war effort in Iraq, John Kerry slandered U.S. troops: accusing them of “terrorizing” Iraqi women and children. Now, when Kerry looks at the jihadist regime in Iran – actual terrorists who have for three decades made mass-murder their tactic of choice in both foreign and domestic policy – his reaction is empathy.
What a disgrace.