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Al-Qaeda’s Iran Dilemma: Evidence from the Abbottabad Records

By Bryce Loidolt Studies in Conflict & Terrorism

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After patrolling through a wadi and searching its caves for evidence of smuggling, scouts from Company C, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion move back toward their vehicles to conduct further Reconnaissance in the area west of Mosul. Task Force Ninewa, the ground-combat element for Operation Defeat Al Qaeda in the North II, is built around 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (Task Force Highlander). It is comprised of Marines from 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Battalion 2nd Marine Regiment, as well as augments from ANGLICO, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, and other combat assets of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and now controls the open areas of northern Iraq near Mosul.
After patrolling through a wadi and searching its caves for evidence of smuggling, scouts from Company C, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion move back toward their vehicles to conduct further Reconnaissance in the area west of Mosul. Task Force Ninewa, the ground-combat element for Operation Defeat Al Qaeda in the North II, is built around 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (Task Force Highlander). It is comprised of Marines from 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Battalion 2nd Marine Regiment, as well as augments from ANGLICO, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, and other combat assets of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and now controls the open areas of northern Iraq near Mosul.
After patrolling through a wadi and searching its caves for evidence of smuggling, scouts from Company C, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion move back toward their vehicles to conduct further Reconnaissance in the area west of Mosul. Task Force Ninewa, the ground-combat element for Operation Defeat Al Qaeda in the North II, is built around 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (Task Force Highlander). It is comprised of Marines from 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Battalion 2nd Marine Regiment, as well as augments from ANGLICO, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, and other combat assets of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and now controls the open areas of northern Iraq near Mosul.
081113-M-4507D-004
After patrolling through a wadi and searching its caves for evidence of smuggling, scouts from Company C, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion move back toward their vehicles to conduct further Reconnaissance in the area west of Mosul. Task Force Ninewa, the ground-combat element for Operation Defeat Al Qaeda in the North II, is built around 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (Task Force Highlander). It is comprised of Marines from 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Battalion 2nd Marine Regiment, as well as augments from ANGLICO, Explosive Ordinance Disposal, and other combat assets of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and now controls the open areas of northern Iraq near Mosul.
Photo By: Cpl. Dean Davis
VIRIN: 081113-M-4507D-004

Through a comprehensive review of documents recovered from Usama bin Ladin’s Abbottabad compound, this study provides a new periodization of al-Qaeda’s relationship with Iran. The analysis reveals that al-Qaeda often had to reconcile conflicting operational and ideational pressures in its interactions with the Islamic Republic over time. Beyond offering insight into the trajectory of this important relationship and direction for future scholarship, the analysis suggests some ways through which the United States might expand the strategic wedge that exists between these unlikely allies and highlights the need for a more flexible understanding of state sponsored terrorism.

Read the rest in the Journal of Studies in Conflict & Terrorism - 

Dr. Bryce Loidolt is a Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, Center for Strategic Research at National Defense University.