The search for al-Qaeda continues; it seems to be gathering steam. Not only special services but even journalists are currently involved in the search. Sometimes it seems that journalists are more successful.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that several dozens of al-Qaeda terrorists, including two leaders of the al-Qaeda military committee, are currently hiding in the Iranian city of Mashhad, the capital of the northeastern province of Horasan. The region borders Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The Washington Post informed with reference to sources in Arab intelligence that two leaders of al-Qaeda major structures, Egyptian Saif al-Adel and Mauritian Mahfuz Uld al-Valid, are currently on Iranian territory. Since Osama bin Laden and his first deputy Ayman Zawahiri have to be in hiding, Saif al-Adel and Mahfuz Uld al-Valid have taken supervision over the al-Qaeda military committee upon themselves.
It is quite natural that Iranians themselves deny this information. Some al-Qaeda militants may be taking shelter in Iran; however, this version is unconvincing for several reasons.
First of all, it is not clear what Arab countries are meant when “sources in Arab intelligence” are spoken of. There are many Arab countries, and each of them has intelligence of its own. What country exactly told the US newspaper about terrorists hiding in Iran? No wonder that information of this kind is secret; however, it would be nice to name the country that is so successful in the search for al-Qaeda.
Second, we should always keep in mind that Iran has been a member of Bush’s “axis of evil” for half a year already. Such an attitude toward Iran is unlikely to change soon. Publications of this kind could have appeared in the US media long ago.
Therefore, information about al-Qaeda militants hiding on Iranian territory is not sufficiently substantiated. The Washington Post publication is very likely just a propaganda attack against the Iranian leadership.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/08/28/46327.html