FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Bizarre Iranian “Plot” Doesn’t Add Up

The claim that Iran employed a used-car salesman with a conviction for cheque fraud to hire Mexican gangsters to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington goes against all that is known of Iran’s highly sophisticated intelligence service.

The confident announcement of this bizarre plot by the US Attorney General Eric Holder sounds alarmingly similar to Secretary of State Colin Powell’s notorious claim before the UN in 2003 that the US possessed irrefutable evidence Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction.

The problem is that the US government has very publicly committed itself to a version of events, however unlikely, that, if true, would be a case for war against Iran. It will be difficult for the US to back away from such allegations now.

Could the accusations be true? The plot as described in court was puerile, easy to discover and unlikely to succeed. A Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) informant in Corpus Christi, Texas, with supposed links to Los Zetas gangsters in Mexico, said he had been approached by an Iranian friend of his aunt called Mansour Arbabsiar to hire the Zetas to make attacks. A link is established with the Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

None of this makes sense. The IRGC is famous for making sure that responsibility for its actions can never be traced to Iran. It usually operates through proxies. Yet suddenly here it is sending $100,000 (£63,000) from a known IRGC bank account to hire assassins in Mexico. The beneficiaries from such a plot are evident. There will be those on the neo-con right and extreme supporters of Israel who have long been pressing for a war with Iran. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have been vociferously asserting that Iran is orchestrating Shia pro-democracy protests, but without finding many believers in the rest of the world. Their claims are now likely to be taken more seriously in Washington. There will be less pressure on countries like Bahrain to accommodate their Shia populations.

In Iraq, the US and Britain were always seeing Iran’s hidden hand supporting their opponents, but they could never quite prove it. It was also true, to a degree never appreciated in the US, that Washington and Tehran were at one in getting rid of Saddam Hussein and installing a Shia government. There were points in common and a struggle for influence. The same has been true in Afghanistan, where Iran was delighted to see the anti-Shia Taliban overthrown in 2001.

Some Iran specialists suggest there might be a “rogue faction” within the Revolutionary Guard, but there is no evidence such a body exists or of a convincing motive for it to be associating with Mexican gangsters.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of “Muqtada: Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq

 

More articles by:

Patrick Cockburn is the author of  The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

March 25, 2019
Andrew Moss
Immigration and the Democratic Hopefuls
Weekend Edition
March 22, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
The Ghost of Fascism in the Post-Truth Era
Gabriel Rockhill
Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests
H. Bruce Franklin
Trump vs. McCain: an American Horror Story
Paul Street
A Pox on the Houses of Trump and McCain, Huxleyan Media, and the Myth of “The Vietnam War”
Andrew Levine
Why Not Impeach?
Bruce E. Levine
Right-Wing Psychiatry, Love-Me Liberals and the Anti-Authoritarian Left
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Darn That (American) Dream
Charles Pierson
Rick Perry, the Saudis and a Dangerous Nuclear Deal
Moshe Adler
American Workers Should Want to Transfer Technology to China
David Rosen
Trafficking or Commercial Sex? What Recent Exposés Reveal
Nick Pemberton
The Real Parallels Between Donald Trump and George Orwell
Binoy Kampmark
Reading Manifestos: Restricting Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement
Brian Cloughley
NATO’s Expensive Anniversaries
Ron Jacobs
Donald Cox: Tale of a Panther
Joseph Grosso
New York’s Hudson Yards: The Revanchist City Lives On
REZA FIYOUZAT
Is It Really So Shocking?
Bob Lord
There’s Plenty of Wealth to Go Around, But It Doesn’t
John W. Whitehead
The Growing Epidemic of Cops Shooting Family Dogs
Jeff Cohen
Let’s Not Restore or Mythologize Obama 
Christy Rodgers
Achieving Escape Velocity
Monika Zgustova
The Masculinity of the Future
Jessicah Pierre
The Real College Admissions Scandal
Peter Mayo
US Higher Education Influence Takes a Different Turn
Martha Rosenberg
New Study Confirms That Eggs are a Stroke in a Shell
Ted Rall
The Greatest Projects I Never Mad
George Wuerthner
Saving the Big Wild: Why Aren’t More Conservationists Supporting NREPA?
Norman Solomon
Reinventing Beto: How a GOP Accessory Became a Top Democratic Contender for President
Ralph Nader
Greedy Boeing’s Avoidable Design and Software Time Bombs
Tracey L. Rogers
White Supremacy is a Global Threat
Nyla Ali Khan
Intersectionalities of Gender and Politics in Indian-Administered Kashmir
Karen J. Greenberg
Citizenship in the Age of Trump: Death by a Thousand Cuts
Jill Richardson
Getting It Right on What Stuff Costs
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Puddle Jumping in New Britain
Matt Johnson
The Rich Are No Smarter Than You
Julian Vigo
College Scams and the Ills of Capitalist-Driven Education
Brian Wakamo
It’s March Madness, Unionize the NCAA!
Beth Porter
Paper Receipts Could be the Next Plastic Straws
Christopher Brauchli
Eric the Heartbroken
Louis Proyect
Rebuilding a Revolutionary Left in the USA
Sarah Piepenburg
Small Businesses Like Mine Need Paid Family and Medical Leave
Robert Koehler
Putting Our Better Angels to Work
Peter A. Coclanis
The Gray Lady is Increasingly Tone-Deaf
David Yearsley
Bach-A-Doodle-Doo
Elliot Sperber
Aunt Anna’s Antenna
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail