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Iran Attempts to Assassinate Saudi Ambassador?!?  Reply with quote


WASHINGTON -- News of an alleged Iranian plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States represents a "huge deal" that would, had it not been foiled, have marked the first political killing by Iran on U.S. soil since 1980, according to an expert on the regime.

"This was one big f**k you to the West," said Michael Rubin, a Middle East analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who has written extensively about Iran. "The scary thing is the Iranians or the Qods force" -- the U.S.-designated terrorist arm of the Iranian military U.S. officials say is implicated in the plot -- "believed they would get away with it."

But not all observers are convinced Iran was behind the alleged plot. Barbara Slavin, a senior fellow at The Atlantic Council and author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation, was skeptical Iran could pull off such an elaborate plan.

"Frankly, the entire case seems quite bizarre. Iran has not been in the business of foreign assassinations for some time, and in those cases the victims were Iranian dissidents," Slavin said.

According to the Department of Justice, one of the two suspects, Iranian-born U.S. citizen Manssor Arbabsiar, confessed to hiring Mexican narcotics traffickers to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in Washington. Court papers said the plan was to use plastic explosives to blow up the Saudi Embassy or an unnamed restaurant frequented by the ambassador and a number of U.S. senators.

When the hired assassin -- an undercover informant for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration -- told Arbabsiar that there could be mass casualties if the killing took place in the restaurant, the Iranian allegedly said, "They want that guy done -- if the hundred go with him f**k 'em."

According to a report by the Iran Human Rights Center, between the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and 2008, the senior leadership of Iran's ruling Islamic party has been linked to at least 162 killings of regime opponents in 19 countries.

The last assassination on U.S. soil was also in the Washington area, in the suburb of Bethesda, Md. On July 22, 1980, the former press attache for the Iranian Embassy, Ali Akbar Tabatabai, was shot dead at his home by an African-American convert to Islam, Daoud Salahuddin. The assassin later confessed to the killing and received a warm welcome upon fleeing to Tehran.

Rubin said the opaque nature of Iranian decision making makes it unlikely U.S. analysts will find the definitive "smoking gun" that links Iran's rulers to the alleged plot against the Saudi envoy.

"The big question we will face is whether this is a rogue action or whether we can hold the entire Iranian government culpable," Rubin said. He noted that while Iran has denied any involvement in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85, one of the men wanted in the attack is now the country's defense minister.

Despite an alleged confession in this latest case with the Saudi ambassador, Slavin is among experts who are not convinced the plot was hatched at the highest levels of the Iranian regime.

"Given the power struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, this could be a case of deception perpetrated by the Saudis to discredit Iran," Slavin said, adding that based on the facts released "it appears that the DEA entrapped the defendants. I would want to see more of the evidence before giving credence to the charges."

In a later email to HuffPost after reading the indictment, Slavin added, "If Iran was really responsible, then it has certainly gone downhill in terms of tradecraft," Slavin noted. "Also, how was Iran able to transfer funds at a time when Iranians can barely send money home to their folks because of U.S. banking sanctions? How could the Iranians have believed that this would have been blamed on a Mexican drug cartel? It doesn't add up."

But the long-time enmity between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran has worsened in recent years, said Rubin, as each as jockeyed for influence in the volatile Middle East and to fill the power vacuum that will soon be left when most U.S. troops leave Iraq by year's end.

...but it looks pretty fishy:

...or is Tehran just sinking into incompetence?

Why would Iran want to kill the Saudi Ambassador? Why did they fuck it up so badly? Or, why would the white house make up such an elaborate story? To go to war with Iran? Should the anti-war-with-Iran movement get started now? Could someone else be behind the whole thing? Like the Saudis themselves? Its all very shady and delicious!
Post Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:54 pm
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Like we're not assassinating people every week under Obama.
Post Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:50 pm
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Plum Puddin'

Joined: 26 May 2008
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Annnd awaaay weeee go!
Post Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:39 pm
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Joined: 04 Aug 2006
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Well, I always thought the U.S would be at war with Syria first. But now it looks like the U.S. wants to dip their dick into everybody's mashed potatoes. Again.
Post Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:58 am
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Jesse Custer

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Woo... Feels like 1986 all over again!
Post Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:50 am
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Man, remember when Obama was running for president and talking about having face to face negotiations with Iran's leadership? And how they needed to be included in the world community?

I kind of think he would have been a better president if Hilary had got this, and then Obama came in AFTER Hilary, and after he had had more experience in politics. His inexperience really killed the momentum of his campaign into his presidency.
Post Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:36 am
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Dan Shay

Joined: 30 Aug 2003
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I just emailed this letter to AKPD Message and Media.


Dear David Axelrod,

This Iranian Assasination attempt story is mad corny. They're all laughing at you.

We're Colin Powell in front of the UN with Yellow Cake right now, and it's way too smack dab in the middle of the Occupy Wallstreet newscycle not to smell like Limburger cheese.

Could we be getting Swiftboated?

Could we be getting Downing Streeted?

Does it matter?

They're Jimmy Carter'ing us on the Capital Flight tip. Capital flight withers the grassroots erytime.

My Macciavellian tinted glasses love you for getting Obama in there. Where can we pull rabbits from? The scene is ripe for Iran Hostage type schenanigans. You can't kill Osama twice.

You're Truly,

Daniel Shay

PS: Love your work with MCCullum's seminal classic, The Edge.

Post Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:37 pm
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Hellen Earth
could be a girl. could be a guy.

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Dan - if that's the case - what do you think the motivation is?
Post Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:07 pm
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Dan Shay

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Hellen Earth wrote:
Dan - if that's the case - what do you think the motivation is?

they're rhetorical questions.

it doesn't matter what rabbit hole you poke your head down in my world.
Post Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:38 pm
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There is no better (and more humorous) source on this subject than The Angry Arab (As'ad Abukhalil)...

"An Iran expert on Al-Arabiyya, the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law, said that Ahmadinajad was in charge of an assassination carried out by Iran in Berlin in 1992. He said he was reminded of that when the plot in DC included the assassination of the Saudi ambassador at a restaurant. The dude did not know that the restaurant plot, according to the US press, came from the DEA drug dealer and not from the alleged Iranian agent."

"More reporting on the site of Al-Arabiyya (the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law): it maintains that Iran relied on armed gangs AND terrorist organizations to carry out the assassination and bombing plot in the US. So Iran, not only decided to kill the Saudi Ambassador in DC, of all places, but it decided to just make it clear to everyone around the world that it is behind it, to contact terrorist organizations AND criminal gangs. It is not clear whether Iran also sought the help of LA youth gangs to carry out the attack. More on this sensational developing story."

"Well, Gulf students in Texas area have come up with an important detail about the accused. Apparently, he was an opponent of the Iranian regime. So wait: we have a new important detail. The Iranian government contacted an opponent of the regime to undertake an assassination and bombing plot in the US. So he went and sought the help of drug gangs in Mexico. OK. It is now making more sense."

"The site of Al-Arabiyya (the news station of King Fahd's brother-in-law) "reports" that they were able to identify the "master mind" behind the bombing and assassination plot in DC. His name is Ahmadinajad. Kid you not.

PS Al-Arabiyya is now reporting that US officials are now suggesting that Khamenei may be involved. I am not sure whether Khomeini approved the diabolical plot before his death. "
Post Sun Oct 16, 2011 12:51 pm
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i really doubt this plot was known to the higher ups* in the iranian govt. for one, what does it accomplish for iran? it wouldn't weaken saudi arabia in the least and would actually force them to tighten their relationship with the US (which has faltered somewhat as a result of the arab spring). second, the plot is ridiculously amateur. this guy had no idea what he was doing. iran was involved in plenty of assassinations in the past (one of them in US soil in fact). they're not new to this. they know better than to send a used car salesman to hire the mexican mafia for a hit.

i think this is another scenario where FBI (and maybe in this case CIA) agents find some moron who would like to be a terrorist so they walk him through the process and at the last minute they arrest him and say "WE CAPTURED A TERRORIST MASTERMIND!" this case happened to come with the bonus that we could blame iran.

i don't the US govt is laying the groundwork for war, it's just an attempt to make iran look bad.

*from what i understand he was wired a significant sum to pay for the hit. i don't know if there's proof that it came from iran but i don't think there's enough evidence at this point to say the plot was fabricated. there could very well be elements in iran who thought this was a good idea. i don't see how the leadership could be in on it though.
Post Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:40 pm
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