Not so fast

Yesterday AG Holder announced that the government had uncovered an Iranian terrorist plot:

Alleged Terror Plotter Claims He Was ‘Directed By High-Ranking’ Iranian Officials

The new case, called Operation Red Coalition, began in May when an Iranian-American from Corpus Christi, Texas, approached a DEA informant seeking the help of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, according to counter-terrorism officials.

The Iranian-American thought he was dealing with a member of the feared Zetas Mexican drug organization, according to agents.

The DEA office in Houston brought in FBI agents as the international terror implications of the case became apparent.

The Iranian-American, identified by federal officials as Manssor Arbabsiar, 56, reportedly claimed he was being “directed by high-ranking members of the Iranian government,” including a cousin who was “a member of the Iranian army but did not wear a uniform,” according to a person briefed on the details of the case.

Arbabsiar and a second man, Gohlam Shakuri, an Iranian official, were named in a five-count criminal complaint filed Tuesday afternoon in federal court in New York. They were charged with conspiracy to kill a foreign official and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, a bomb, among other counts. Shakuri is still at large in Iran, Holder said.

As usual whenever our government says something, I was immediately skeptical.

The Atlantic:

Would Iran Really Want to Blow Up the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.?

What would it really mean for Iran if the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. were killed in a terrorist attack in Washington? The U.S.-Saudi relationship has been bad and getting worse since the start of the Arab Spring, with the Saudi monarchy working increasingly against the democratic movements that the U.S. supports. A senior member of the royal family even threatened to cut off the close U.S.-Saudi relationship if Obama opposed the Palestinian statehood bid, which he did. If the U.S. and Saudi Arabia really broke off their seven-decade, oil-soaked romance, it would be terrific news for Iran. Saudi Arabia depends on the U.S. selling it arms, helping it with intelligence, and overlooking its domestic and regional (see: Bahrain) abuses.

If the U.S.-Saudi alliance fell apart, the Shia-majority Islamic Republic of Iran would have an easier time pushing its regional influence against Saudi Arabia, especially in some of the crucial states between the two: Iraq, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. Iran would be able to reverse its increasing regional isolation and perhaps flip some Arab leaders from the U.S.-Saudi sphere toward its own. The best part of this, for Iran, is that it probably wouldn’t even have to do anything: the U.S.-Saudi special relationship, if it collapses, would do so without Iran having to lift a finger. The dumbest thing that Iran could possibly do, then, would be stop the collapse, to find some way to bring the U.S. and Saudi Arabia back together. For example, by attempting to blow up the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. on American soil.

The Iranian leadership, for all their twisted human rights abuses and policies that often serve the regime at the cost of actual Iranians, are not idiots. Though they use terrorism as a foreign policy tool, the attacks in Iraq and Lebanon and elsewhere have clearly been driven by just that — a cool-headed pragmatic desire to further Iranian foreign policy interests. Unifying the U.S. and Saudi Arabia at a time when they are drifting apart with a plot that would galvanize American publics and policymakers to support Saudi Arabia, and all without actually doing much strategic damage to either country, would be monumentally stupid. They’ve made serious, ideology-driven mistakes before — as government often do — but this plot comes so far out of left field that it should raise more questions than accusations.

If they would go through all the trouble to organize a bombing attack on U.S. soil — no easy thing to do — why target someone so low-level? For that matter, why launch an attack on U.S. soil at all, something Iran has never done in the tumultuous decade since September 11? Why now, as opposed to, for example, during the height of the Iraq war? Why incur the wrath of the U.S. now, so soon after releasing the U.S. hikers detained in Tehran? (Their release was a modest and long overdue concession, but one that suggests the path of Iranian diplomacy.)

And why get involved with Mexican drug cartels? Is that really someplace where Iran has good contacts these days? As Ken Gude of the Center for American Progress asked, “Wiring money into US? Talking about plot on phone? Does that sound like an intel service to you?”

This sounds pretty flaky to me. So far we have ONE person who did some things. There may have been one or more others involved. It’s not clear whether anyone involved had any actual connection to the government of Iran.

I’m pretty sure if the Iranians wanted to kill someone they could find a skilled hitman within their own network.

This case doesn’t reek of entrapment the way previous “terrorist” cases have, at least not yet. But how come with all the eavesdropping our government does they never seem to discover any cases that don’t require the assistance of undercover agents to become operational?

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20 Responses to Not so fast

  1. votermom says:

    If you remember my post yesterday, secretly instigating bombing stuff/people then blaming the bad guys and using it as an excuse to grab power (declare an state of emergency, or impose martial law, or whatever) is a classic move in the game of You Too Can Have a Banana Republic of Your Very Own.

  2. DeniseVB says:

    Yet we haven’t heard about the Iranian threat to put war ships off our Atlantic Coast? Or is that next year’s October surprise?

  3. votermom says:

    You know who this helps?
    Mexican drug cartels, need for strong posturing against Eye-ran, willing to use predator drones on the border …. I bring you, Cowboy in Chief numero dos, Rick Perry!

    • WMCB says:

      In Perry’s defense (gawd, that stings), he has never advocated a shooting war with drones. Not ever. He has wanted more surveillance drones, because the few that have been used have been very good at tracking where the latest crossing/pipeline area is. Since the cartels and coyotes shift sites frequently, drone camera patrols would help us know where more border patrols are needed for the latest “hotspot”.

      • votermom says:

        Believe me, I would hold my nose and vote for Perry over Romney & Obama.
        But for heaven’s sake, is he throwing his campaign on purpose or is Mitt slipping opium into his coffee?

        • WMCB says:

          I have no idea. He’s never been a good debater, but he’s always been at least aggressive and putting himself out there – even if it was mostly talking points. He sat there looking shell-shocked last night.

          Perry is best and at his most charming and glib in one-on-ones with reporters – heck he did well on JON STEWART’S show for pete’s sake! Watch the video sometime – he held his own and got applause even on Stewart’s show. Yet he has done almost NO media interviews. Is he there to draw votes off of Cain or any other populist challenge to Romney? Something weird is going on, either with him, the R primary, or his handlers.

  4. votermom says:

    As usual whenever our government says something, I was immediately skeptical.

    I have to tell ya, myiq, when the revolution comes you’re going to be the first one to get sent to the re-edumacation camp.

    Save me spot by electrodes.

  5. Pingback: Obama's Iran Contra BoobaPalooza: No Preconditions Leads to Iran Terror Leads To Fast And Furious Mexican Drug Cartels Hired To Murder For Iran — Hillary Is 44

  6. r u reddy says:

    A few days ago on BBC I heard President Clinton’s former counter-terrorism person Richard Clarke (I forget his official rank and title) offer this conditional theory: that if indeed it was elements within the Iranian government which instigated this plot, they were doing it as part of a power struggle against other elements within the Iranian government. The whole point of the “plot” was to get detected either before or after execution and either way be tracked back to Iran. This would even more worsen relations between America and Iran which would strengthen the anti-normalization factions within the Iranian government and weaken the pro-normalization factions within the Iranian government. Anyway . . . that’s what Richard Clarke thinks.

  7. r u reddy says:

    And here is a blogpost by Juan Cole called Wagging The Dog with Iran’s Maxwell Smart. Cole offers some well argued and supported reasons as to why this plot is a foam-rubber potemkin-replica with no real Iranian government involvement at all. Cole argues that it is just a concocted stage upon which the Obama Administration plans to Stand Tall.

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