Letters from an Occupant: The Abbottabad Documents
Posted by Eric Martin
References to Iran show that the relationship is not one of alliance, but of indirect and unpleasant negotiations over the release of detained jihadis and their families, including members of Bin Ladin’s family. The detention of prominent al-Qa`ida members seems to have sparked a campaign of threats, taking hostages and indirect negotiations between al-Qa`ida and Iran that have been drawn out for years and may still be ongoing.
The report goes on to note:
Al-Qa`ida did not appear to have looked to Iran from the perspective that “the enemy of my (American) enemy is my friend,” but the group might have hoped that “the enemy of my (American) enemy would leave me alone.” [...]
Although the documents make it clear that the relationship between Iran and al-Qa`ida is antagonistic, it is difficult to explain Iran’s rationale for detaining en masse these jihadis for years, without due process. One plausible explanation that has been advanced is that Iran held them “in part as a deterrent against a Qaeda attack on Iranian soil.” Another widely reported explanation is that Iran was holding al-Qa`ida members “as a bargaining chip in its war of nerves with the US, and will only allow their extradition in return for substantial concessions.” Whether Iran was aware of it or not, al-Qa`ida had plans to put the released detainees to “work.”
Something to consider, at least in terms of past Iran/al-Qaeda relations. The rest of the report is highly recommended.