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Nominating a New Leader for al-Qaeda and its Impact on the Strategic Relationship with Iran

With the recent elimination of Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri at the end of July 2022 and the rise of the new leader for al-Qaeda, Sheik Saif Al-Adel, the organization is now in a position to strengthen its ties with Iran further. While it may seem odd that a Shiite country and a Sunni organization cooperate, the fact of having a common enemy, the US, and Israel, makes this alliance, not just a thought exercise.  

This cooperation is far from new, as Al-Qaeda members visited and met with IRGC operatives and Iran proxies, like Hezbollah, to be advised on training, tactics, and security. The knowledge acquired was used in the 1998 African US Embassies attack, a modus-operandi that closely resembled the 1983 Beirut Barracks bombing by Hezbollah. The cooperation did not stop there; there is also evidence of support, more profound than just sharing knowledge, for the 1996 Khubar Towers in the KSA, where the US intelligence community believes that Bin Laden was involved and that Iran provided logistical and funding assistance. These are just examples of a deeper interaction between Iran and Al-Qaeda that can only increase in the future.