Iran Grooming Bin Laden Successor
A bizarre story in London’s Telegraph is entitled “Iran plotting to groom bin Laden’s successor.” The details are scarce:
Iran is trying to form an unholy alliance with al-Qa’eda by grooming a new generation of leaders to take over from Osama bin Laden, The Daily Telegraph can reveal. Western intelligence officials say the Iranians are determined to take advantage of bin Laden’s declining health to promote senior officials who are known to be friendly to Teheran.
On the one hand, it would certainly be cause for concern if Iran were grooming a set of bin Laden-type terrorist leaders. On the other, it would be shocking, indeed, if Sunni Arab al Qaeda were to allow itself to be taken over by Persian Shiites.
Interestingly, they have a somewhat plausible candidate:
The Iranians want Saif al-Adel, a 46-year-old former colonel in Egypt’s special forces, to be the organisation’s number three. Al-Adel was formerly bin Laden’s head of security, and was named on the FBI’s 22 most wanted list after September 11 for his alleged involvement in terror attacks against US targets in Somalia and Africa in the 1990s. He has been living in a Revolutionary Guard guest house in Teheran since fleeing from Afghanistan in late 2001.
Still, if he is “pro-Iranian,” he would be unlikely to garner much support among al Qaeda’s base.