Iraqi secret services are anxious that the United States is not investing enough in the war on al Qaeda.
Just before US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice touched down in Baghdad Saturday, Feb. 17, Iraq’s General Intelligence Service circulated a set of five documents to a select group of US and Iraqi undercover officials as a wake-up call. They recorded Iraq surveillance agents’ findings on the spread of al Qaeda networks in Iraq and the dangerous extent of Iranian military support.
Iran was documented as having gone a lot further than smuggling al Qaeda fighters into Iraq from Afghanistan and Pakistan – and back. Tehran runs a number of training camps for the benefit of al Qaeda, where they are instructed in techniques tailored for combating the US units deployed in Iraq. After the trainees are sent into battle in Iraq, Iranian agents stay in touch and from time to time use them for their own specific ends.
For the first time, the Iraqi intelligence authors of the documents name names of Iranian officers and al Qaeda commanders running their collaborative projects.
DEBKA-Net–Weekly’s counter-terror sources reveal here the contents of the five documents which span Iraqi undercover observations in the course of 2006.
Summary Dated January 5, 2007
The Iranian official in charge of al Qaeda’s training camps in Iran is Hossein Zamani. The name of his clandestine agency is not given, but he is said to be under the orders of the former Revolutionary Guards commander Mohsein Rezai, current deputy to former Iranian president Hashem Rafsanjani.
The former president officiates in the powerful Assembly of Experts, the body which selects the country’s supreme ruler for life.
The revelation that Rezai maintains ties with al Qaeda raised quite a few eyebrows in the American circles engaged in directing the war against al Qaeda. He is known in the West as one of the few high-ranking Iranian officials involved with the Revolutionary Guards who is accepted – and even welcomed for his original input – at closed meetings in the West that bring together Western and Iranian intelligence representatives for informal exchanges.
The al Qaeda training facilities are not as expected managed by the RGs’ Al Quds Brigades Division, the corps’ arm for terrorist operations, but an organization called Gharargah Ramzan (the Ramadan Command), which our sources disclose operates directly out of the supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s bureau. Its functions focus on organization, training and running non-Iranian terrorist networks across the world.
Al Qaeda’s contact man is revealed in this summary as being Dr. Ahmed Jalali, believed to be of Afghan origin. He organizes the transfer of al Qaeda operatives from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iran and liaises with Rezai and Zamani.
DEBKA-Net–Weekly’s counter-terror sources reveal here the contents of some of the documents submitted in the course of last year.
Report No. 1 Dated March 14, 2006
This document records the surveillance maintained on an al Qaeda operative called Nasuan Abdel Rezak – nicknamed Abdel Hadi – who is in charge of al Qaeda’s finances in Iran and responsible for transferring funds to al Qaeda networks in Iraq, purchases of arms and explosives and current payments to al Qaeda operatives taking military instruction at Iranian facilities.
According to this report, the organization maintains 18 training facilities in Iran. There is also a detailed description of the way in which Abdel Hadi crossed from Iran to Iraq on February 24, 2006. He was summoned to deal with financial problems preying on the jihadist group ever since its Iraq commander, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, was killed by the Americans last June.
Abdel Hadi has set himself up in an office in the Iranian town of Ilam opposite the Iraqi town of Baqouba, north of Baghdad.
This and later reports refer to this operative as the purchasing agent for shoulder-borne anti-air Strela SA-7 missiles and their transfer to Iraq for the campaign to shoot down American helicopters from the ground. Abdel Hadi is said to have transferred 1,000 of these missiles to Iraq in the course of 2006. (In the last month, eight US helicopters were downed in Iraq)
Report No. 2 Dated May 8, 2006
This document details the al Qaeda training installation located in the Khorasan province near the Afghanistan border as being the largest of the 18, capable of handling an intake of 1,500 trainees. Its commander is called Ham Heidari.
Report No. 3 Dated Sept. 10, 2006
According to this report, a training camp is located in northern Tehran, housed in the buildings once used to hold Iraqi prisoners taken captive in the 1979-1987 Iran-Iraq war. This camp accommodates not only al Qaeda trainees from Afghanistan but also members of North African jihadist organizations. The report mentions Libyans, Algerians and Moroccans.
Report No. 4 Dated Nov. 7, 2006
The al Qaeda installation described in this document is called the Shahid Miftah. It is located near Kermanshah, capital of Iranian Kurdistan.
It once served as a rest and recuperation facility for members of Zarqawi’s command and the al Qaeda-linked Iraqi terror group Ansar al Islam. The commander himself occasionally spent short periods at Shahid Miftah.
Today, it is managed by members of the mysterious Iranian Gharargh Ramzan organization which takes its orders from Iran’s supreme ruler.