But, probably Zawahiri tendered his resignation to IJ, and then waited 90 days before hiring on to AQ to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest.
Because if he's IJ, and AQ, and if Saddam is funding IJ, and an IJ is Bin Ladin's second in command, then maybe Saddam is connected to Al Qaeda. And since we've dismissed that out of hand, then, I don' know.
The truth is that Bin Ladin had, and has, a lot of connections. He has his own agenda and he acted as hired gun for others who were trying to use him for theirs.
And the truth is that almost nothing the press has had to say about it is true or complete. Sunnis won't work with Shia? False. Secular nationalists won't work with religious radicals? False. Persians won't work with arabs? False.
Bin Ladin has received help from any and all. And since any and all agree that the US has to be expelled from the middle east, that the Saudi royals need to be overthrown, and that Musharraf needs to go, then there is almost no conflict of interest at all, only in the eyes of the midgets in the press rooms.
EIJ merged with AQ in 1998. They are the same thing. The media are idiots, but the Bush administration is partially to blame for identifying AQ as if it was our primary enemy. AQ is simply a name for a network of various terrorist groups that include EIJ and many other groups.