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Making Sense of Iran and al-Qaeda’s Relationship

The nature of the relationship between al-Qaeda and Iran is one of the most contentious debates in the counterterrorism community, dividing analystspolicymakers and government officials. The stakes of establishing or disproving the relationship are considerable—meaningful state support is immensely useful to terrorist organizations, especially one being hunted by the U.S. government. Current analytic disagreements are not necessarily about whether al-Qaeda and Iran have a relationship; on that point, there is little room for doubt. But some observers argue that ideological differences and deep distrust affect the relationship to the point that it is little more than an “insurance policy” for both sides. Others swing to the opposite extreme, arguing the relationship is more akin to a deep, strategic partnership. Still others argue that the relationship is mostly tactical and falls well short of having any strategic value.

It is important to frame the relationship in its historical context with attention to its trajectory and political implications. Such an analysis suggests that al-Qaeda and Iran’s relationship has overcome conflict to generate strategic benefits to both actors.

Read more at Lawfare

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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