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The Enemy of My Enemy

Distinguishing Fact from Fiction in the Relationship Between al-Qaeda and Iran

On December 22, 2011 a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that Iran was liable for the 9/11 attack because al-Qaeda operatives allegedly were allowed to surreptitiously transit Iran prior to the attack. Recent Treasury Department terrorism designations have also alleged at least limited collaboration between al-Qaeda operatives and elements of the Iranian state. These developments challenge the widely held view that al-Qaeda and Iran are implacable enemies because of al-Qaeda's condemnation of Shi'a Muslims and its vicious attacks on Iran's Shi'a allies in Iraq and elsewhere.

Critics of the Court's decision question the evidence in the 9/11 Commission report and have challenged the veracity of testimony presented during the court case, alleging that such connections are made to advance an argument favoring war with Iran.

At a moment of heightened American tension with Iran, this event endeavors to responsibly parse the relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda and place it within the context of regional upheaval and al-Qaeda and Iran's strategic outlooks.

On Twitter? Follow @afpakchannel and search for this discussion using the hash tag: #alqaedaandiran.


Featured Speakers
Daniel Byman
Professor at Georgetown University
Director of Research at the Saban Center at Brookings

Afshon Ostovar
Research Analyst
Center for Naval Analysis

Brian Fishman
Counterterrorism Research Fellow
New America Foundation

Event Time and Location

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 12:15pm - 1:45pm
New America Foundation
1899 L Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Event Photos

Click here to view these photos.
A range of photos from this event are available on Flickr. Click on the icon at left to view or download the photos.