Al Qaeda only operates in separatist regions or areas beset by tribal conflict; whilst it thrives wherever there is a sectarian atmosphere. The same applies to Iranian policy in our region, for Tehran is supporting the Baathist, secular and Alawite al-Assad, whilst at the same time supporting the extremist Sunni Al Qaeda organization, which – for its part – is coexisting with the [Shiite] Huthi movement in Yemen!
Yesterday, Asharq Al-Awsat published an astonishing report in cooperation with Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, revealing the frenetic Iranian movement to support the southern separatists in Yemen. This report clearly indicates the danger of what Iran is doing in our region, whether in Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria or the Gaza Strip with regards to distributing funds and arms, establishing poisonous media outlets – whether we are talking about television or newspapers or the internet – whose sole objective is to allow Iran to infiltrate our countries, including Egypt and the Arab Maghreb. The Guardian report sheds light on the manner in which the Iranians are operating, and this is similar to the way that Al Qaeda operates, as we see Tehran is active in separatist or sectarian regions. This is not to mention the Iranian’s presence amongst those who have been deceived by Tehran, sometimes in the name of “resistance”, and this is a lie that has been publically exposed, or at other times in the name of revolution. Indeed, here we see a senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp [IRGC] protesting against the term “Arab Spring”, saying this phenomenon should instead be called the “Islamic Awakening”, however does this then apply to what is happening in Syria and Bahrain? If this is the case, then why does Iran stand with al-Assad against the people of Syria? Why then does the Iranian-backed Shiite opposition in Bahrain call for democracy? This is truly confusing!
Therefore the importance of The Guardian report, which was also published in Asharq Al-Awsat, is that it clearly shows Iran’s relationship with the Huthis, and its desire to infiltrate southern Yemen, particularly as Iran stipulated that the southern Yemenis could only be armed via the Huthis! The importance of this report is also revealed in the information regarding the 15 Yemenis who travelled to Tehran and who, upon their arrival, were dealt with as if they were detainees; this is also what happened with the Al Qaeda elements present in Iran, and this includes some of Osama Bin Laden’s children. The Yemeni sources who travelled to Tehran also revealed that the Iranian officials they met there were using aliases. The report also revealed that the Iranians had informed the southerners that Tehran was interested in investing in infrastructure programs in southern Yemen, including building a hospital and paying the salaries of activists. The source added “most importantly, they said they would send us weapons and train people.”
This is what Iran is doing in our region, in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, and this is what Al Qaeda did previously in Afghanistan, and indeed what it is doing today in Yemen. In addition to this, they are also providing some regions of Yemen with free water and electricity, and so the situation has reached the point where we can no longer see any difference between the behavior of Al Qaeda and that of Iran! To further clarify the picture, it is enough to consider the following…whilst the world discovered that the Saudi security apparatus was responsible for foiling the Al Qaeda terrorist plot targeting a civilian airplane travelling from Yemen, it has also been revealed that Iran today is trying to arm and train the southern Yemenis, in the same manner that it does with the Huthis, Sadrists, Hezbollah and al-Assad…so can we say that there is any difference between Al Qaeda and Iran? Of course not!
Therefore, Iran represents no less grave a threat to our region than Al Qaeda, and they both use the same methods, in a blatant manner.