The “What-The-Hell-Is-Going-On” Iranian Terror Plot

In case you have not heard, the United States recently unveiled a plot by the Iranian government to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States by having a failed used car salesman from Texas hire a Mexican drug cartel to come to Washington DC and blow up a restaurant in which the Saudi ambassador was eating. Crazy right? Well, fortunately, the United States is not going to just sit tight while irrational, Iranians turn DC into terror-town. Forget the fact that there is no proof that the Iranian government is involved. Forget the fact that there is a complete lack of logic behind the allegations. Forget the fact that the American government assassinates foreign targets in foreign countries around the world on a regular basis. This foiled plot was a clear breach of international law and the Iranians must pay the price!

In the words of Hillary Clinton:

The idea that they would attempt to go to a Mexican drug cartel to solicit murder-for-hire to kill the Saudi ambassador, nobody could make that up, right?

Right? Right? Anyone? Bueller?

A review of the plot (simplified): Mansour Ababsiar and Ali Gholum Shakuri worked with elements within the Iranian government to direct a plot to assassinate the low-level Saudi ambassador on American soil, by hiring a Mexican drug cartel. So far, only a complaint has been filed (far different than a formal charge) that is simply full of holes. Hillary Mann Leverett talks about her doubts in the video above and Glenn Greenwald goes to town on how absurd the entire episode is:

To begin with, this episode continues the FBI’s record-setting undefeated streakof heroically saving us from the plots they enable. From all appearances, this is, at best, yet another spectacular “plot” hatched by some hapless loser with delusions of grandeur but without any means to put it into action except with the able assistance of the FBI, which yet again provided it through its own (paid, criminal) sources posing as Terrorist enablers. The Terrorist Mastermind at the center of the plot is a failed used car salesman in Texas with a history of pedestrian money problems. Dive under your bed. “For the entire operation, the government’s confidential sources were monitored and guided by federal law enforcement agents,” explained U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and “no explosives were actually ever placed anywhere and no one was actually ever in any danger.’”

Why would Iran so overtly and clumsily pick a fight with the United States? Why would Iran assassinate the Saudi ambassador (there are clearly tensions between Tehran and Riyadh, but Iran has never involved itself in such idiotic assassination plots of foreign politicians)? If Iran wanted to assassinate a Saudi diplomat, why a relatively low-level character as the ambassador to the US? Why would Iran take such a foolish risk as to attempt a plot on American soil? Why would the well-trained and highly organized Quds force rely on a failed used car salesman to hire Mexican drug lords that they don’t know?

I think you see where I am going with this. This entire plot seems to be something dreamed up in Hollywood and adapted to fit the current tensions between Washington and Tehran without worrying about things like details and logic.

The most worrisome aspect about all this is that mainstream pundits and high-level politicians have immediately accepted the notion that the Iranian regime set up this entire mission and are all ready to punish Tehran for what is a ridiculous affair. Attorney General Eric Holder has said that the US is ready to hold Iran accountable; Vice President Joe Biden says that no options should be taken off the table; and Republican, neocon politicians are calling the event a declaration of war:

FORMER REP. PETE HOEKSTRA (R-MI)

Pete Hoekstra told the right-wing magazine Newsmax that the plot allegedly coordinated by Iran constituted “acts of war”:

The plot will “heighten the tensions throughout the Middle East… These are acts of war, and they need to be viewed and treated as such,” said Hoekstra, the former ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Newsmax in an exclusive interview.

REP. PETER KING (R-NY)

House Homeland Security Committee Chairperson King told CNN that he considered the plot an “act of war” and said “the Iranians have crossed a red line”:

KING: This is such — again, this violates all international norms, violates international law. Basically, you’re talking about an act of war. I think we have to — the United States has to really consider taking very significant action. […][W]e should not be, I don’t think, automatically saying we’re not going to have a military action. I think everything should be kept on the table when you’re talking about a potential attack against the United States, an act of war.

SEN. MARK KIRK (R-IL)

Appearing on a Chicago talk radio show, Kirk boosted his recent legislative attempt to collapse the Iranian currency by going after the Iranian central bank. Though Kirk didn’t endorse “military action” by the U.S., he justified a new push to move his legislation forward by saying that the Iranian government has already declared war on the U.S.:

KIRK: I think the declaration of war has already happened by Iran on us. If their intelligence service, called the MOIS, is seeking to blow up American targets, we are already in a state of conflict with them, but for the good work of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department.RADIO HOST: …You believe this to be true? This is an act of war?…

KIRK: …This is pretty in-your-face by the government of Iran, to be trying to put together bomb plots inside Washington, D.C. And it’ll be now time for the Obama administration to take action. [Emphasis in original]

The Obama administration, on the other hand, has already started using the event – despite the lack of evidence connecting the Iranian regime to the plot – to bring countries together to further isolate Tehran:

Clinton was blunt in saying the United States would use the case as leverage with other countries that have been reluctant to apply harsh sanctions or penalties against Iran. Clinton said she and President Barack Obama called world leaders to tell them of the developments.

“This really, in the minds of many diplomats and government officials, crosses a line that Iran needs to be held to account for,” Clinton said. She said she and Obama want to “enlist more countries in working together against what is becoming a clearer and clearer threat” from Iran.

Potential bombing runs?

This whole plot reeks of something fishy. Not to be an apologist for the oppressive regime in Iran, but couldn’t we at least wait for a definitive link between these dumb-as-rocks, would-be terrorists and the regime before we escalate already high tensions with threats of war, further sanctions and other dastardly deeds? Clearly something is going on here. It is difficult to say who arranged this plot and why they would (Enduring America has some theories.) Considering the anti-Iranian rhetoric that is consistently espoused by American politicians (“Hey let’s support a terrorist group that the opposition in Iran views as potentially more dangerous than the current regime!” “The US must bomb Iran and soon!” “Let’s give bunker busters to Israel to attack Iran!”) it is hardly surprising that US politicians are jumping on the attack Iran bandwagon, but that does not mean that it is a good idea.

Ready for some real conspiracy theory juiciness? Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu concluded the Shalit deal with Hamas now in order to clear the path for an attack on Iran that was now possible with the American-delivered bunker buster bombs. The plot on the Saudi ambassador primed the US public for increased hostility against Iran while opening Saudi Arabia up to cooperating with Israel on the attack on Iran.

Do I believe it? Not particularly. Is it possible? Umm….

Photo from Tikun Olam

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3 thoughts on “The “What-The-Hell-Is-Going-On” Iranian Terror Plot

  1. I actually have to agree with you on this one. I think this Iranian guy was a lone wolf. But something tells me that the administration has some intelligence that may support their position that is not readily available to the public. It may be deemed “top secret” or “classified”. Who knows?

    But in the end, I don’t think the administration will do anything further than sanctioning. Iran is pretty much isolated already. And I believe Israel will not make any unilateral moves without discussing it with the US.

    But I have to say, your bias toward Iran is propagated on your serious disgust and questionable intentions of Israel. Israel is not an angel, but neither is Iran.

    But I think the people of Iran, particularly the younger generation, is fed up with its leadership. They are going to revolt soon no matter how much their government tries to squash their dissent.
    I say, now with Qaddafi gone, hold on to your seats, my man. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Hahaha.

    1. Agreed, though my bias toward Iran? Really? Saying that I think the Iranian government would be stupid to support this half-hearted and poorly organized attack is not bias. It is logic. Saying as much does not mean that I support Iran, that I think the Iranian government is good, that current government is good for the region…

      Saying that I don’t think the Iranian government is behind the plot and that I think an attack on Iran would be an awful idea also has nothing to do with my views concerning Israeli policy. Despite the massive amount of political commentary linking Iran to Israel’s existence, I really do not think that the two are that connected. They hate each other sure, but realistically the rhetoric on both sides is being used to feed public fears. Iran, without provocation, is unlikely to attack Israel as it would be akin to suicide. Israel, without provocation, is unlikely to (unilaterally) attack Iran as it would ignite a regional war.

      The former head of the Israeli Mossad said the exact same thing just the other day, warning that Iran is not an existential threat to Israel and that an attack would engulf the entire region for decades. Does he have a pro-Iranian bias based on dissatisfaction with Israeli policy as well?

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