Michael Goldfarb responds to my previous post, in which I quoted Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno in order to rebut John McCain’s erroneous assertion that Iran was “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back” into Iraq. Goldfarb ignores the parts of the quote that he doesn’t like, grabs onto Odierno’s statement that “al Qaeda uses Iran and they do in some cases traffic some of their individuals through Iran to Iraq,” and asks:
Am I missing something, or isn’t that exactly what McCain said? And since no one is disputing that Iran has control over its borders, we are now talking about degrees of support, which is to say, Iran is supporting al Qaeda, we just don’t know to what extent.
Yes, Mike. You are missing something. What McCain said was that Iran was “taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back” into Iraq. Second, while no one is disputing that Iran has control over its borders, I do dispute the idea that al Qaeda individuals moving through Iran translates into “Iran supporting al Qaeda.” And so does Lt. Gen. Odierno.
And, by the way, so does Gen. Petraeus. Asked if Iran is “supporting al Qaeda,” Petraeus told CNN’s Kyra Phillips that the “foreign fighters and suicide bombers that help al Qaeda” are flowing “through Syria”:
PETRAEUS: The flow of foreign fighters and suicide bombers that help al Qaeda typically is through Syria.
This is not to say that it is impossible for Iran to be supporting Al Qaeda, just that the two highest ranking commanders on the ground in Iraq, as well as all the available evidence, say Iran is not supporting Al Qaeda.