Iran attempts to assassinate Saudi Arabian Ambassador

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Gonk, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    Hello,

    As many of you may know, an alleged plot has been foiled that was to take place on U.S soil: The Iranian Quds force is accused of targeting the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the United States. The details of the plot were such that members of a Mexican drug cartel were to be paid to attack embassies in Washington.

    The fallout from this has been quick: Saudi Arabia has been incensed, as has the United States, and certain people in the government have called this an act of war.

    Opinions are welcomed and I give my own below:

    My gut feeling on this is skepticism. CIA operative Bob Baer notes a certain level of disbelief when he notes that the Quds force is usually quite thorough and this operation appears to have been rather sloppy compared to acts they have taken in the past.

    I would not use the capacity of the Quds force myself as evidence of the unliklihood of the plot -- to say how good they were in the past as compared to now is something intelligence personnel would have to speak to. It may be that the Quds force has always had the comfort of operating within a certain sphere of influence and that they were out of their element working in the US and Mexico.

    However, of more note to me is how pointless the operation's aim apparently was, and this draws a lot of my attention. Killing the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States doesn't seem like it would gain Iran anything: policy would not be changed and it would seem rather tenuous to hang this on many other actors: why, for instance, would Al Qaida resort to using Mexican drug cartels rather than using their own men? And even if Al Qaida or another terror group were blamed, this would only intensify American attention in the region of Iran if not Iran itself. Getting angry with Pakistan over another Islamic terror group, for instance, does not give anything to Tehran.

    In point of fact, this seems to work exactly counter to Iranian interests. What is in Iranian interests now is to do very little actively on the world stage. It has gained control in Iraq, and its nuclear ambitions are not enough in and of themselves for nations to be willing to stop. Such an action carries the possibility of many nations turning against it, and seems unwise on many, many levels.

    In short, what makes me most skeptical about this plot is that it seems a plan of great risk that gains little or nothing at all. This is not to say that it is something cooked up by the CIA to prompt a manufactured crisis with Iran -- something like the Japanese blowing up their own bridge in Manchuria to blame on the Chinese -- although it's true that Iran has manufactured enough crises of its own in taking foreigner hostage within Iran or close to its borders. There may have been some CIA help, but the one who gains the most from this confrontation is Saudi Arabia.
  2. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Not sure of the truth here, but it does seem like the perpetrators "wanted" to be discovered, and the use of such obvious middlemen is a bit suspect.

    Then again, the President of Iran is downright crazy, but I wouldn't put it past him, or past the leaders of Iran overall to try and "test" the United States at a time of incredible, perceived weakness.

    Hopefully there will be a cool, rational investigation, rather than a hot-headed rush to judgement.

    I'm not holding my breath, though.

    Peace,

    V-03
  3. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I've been talking about this in a JCC thread, and in the election thread here.


    Basically... I'm thinking this plot was meant to fail, so Iran could be threatened and the government can rally the people on a wave of nationalism. Iran is probably more fragile than we thought. Another possible benefit could be higher oil prices, to aid their ailing economy.

    But one of the two plotters was in the Quds Force... basically Iran's Navy SEALS. They report directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, or at least that's who they're supposed to report to. Under US supervision, the captured plotter made contact with senior commanders in the Quds Force.

    Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden say there is no doubt, that "all options are on the table," and they're trying to rally the world to universally and harshly condemn Iran. Everyone knows that new sanctions won't do anything.

    Even if we don't do anything, you can bet that Israel and Saudi Arabia are planning something, and they'll at least want our naval and air support if we don't lead a response. It was their embassies that were to be bombed.

    We need to investigate more, but if we do end up going to war with Iran then you can bet we'll be taking out their allies in Syria too. But would that rally the Iranian and Syrian people to their governments, or would it encourage them to overthrow them? Or is this an act of desperation, and Iran is close to collapsing on its own anyways?


    EDIT:

    And I just heard that the Quds Force has had a presence in Latin American embassies, in particularly a base on an island off of Venezuela, for decades.
  4. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Honestly this doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that needs to be blown out of proportion. Either it was an act of extraordinary incompetence, or it was a set up by American intelligence, or it was, as you note, meant to fail.

    Do we need some kind of silly pretext to wage war on Iran if we're not already waging war with them over their emerging status as a nuclear power? Nothing will come of this. What's come out of this so far? We've arrested another American citizen. He's screwed, but everyone else can go about their business.

    Lucky for those American "hikers" they made it out of Iran before this crisis.
  5. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    If this was a false flag operation, then what do we have to gain from this? Nothing.
  6. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    My thoughts are more that both the Israelis and the Saudis want the US to go to war with Iran. Which is not in the interests of the United States, since it is the US that would be paying for such a venture.

    If this was true -- and there's doubt if it was -- why is it being made public in such a dramatic fashion as a press conference? If the American government wanted, it could have just stayed mum about this operation. It has everyone in custody that was involved and there was no public outcry to be had until they, just now, told everyone about it.

    Whether it is Israel, Saudi Arabia or Iran trying to draw the US into a war, the US appears to be open to the venture, if this is any indication.
  7. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    I don't have any grounds for a reasoned opinion on what actually happened. I don't understand who gains from it or how no matter who was responsible and why. But if the point were somehow to ratchet up the interest of the American public in military action against Iran, I think it was a miscalculation, unless of course making it public was meant to demonstrate the American people's lack of interest in an Iranian war, in which case I applaud the American people for showing a bit of common sense for once. Maybe there's some other, better reason. I have no idea what it is. I don't think it plays either as an Iranian message to itself.

    In general, the American people have been getting mixed signals from our leaders about Iran for so long we've lost interest, and it will take more than a conveniently exposed plot to assassinate a Saudi (big deal!) to make us care.
  8. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I don't think the U.S. wants a war with Iran, but if all these facts are true than this is a just cause for war.

    It is a little surprising that there isn't more popular outrage over this.

    But one of the guys, the plotter who was actually in the Quds Force, is still at large.
  9. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    The media services are certainly giving this a fair amount of attention. If the American public is uninterested in a war with Iran, that remains to be seen -- once upon a time I thought they were uninterested with another war with Iraq. Of course, that was closer to the time of 9/11 (although still a year and a half since that event has occurred).

    The best I can figure is that the US gets to show "restraint" in the face of this sort of provocation. I agree that I don't see how serious musings on war gets anywhere with Iraq and Afghanistan leaving such a bad taste in everyone's mouth. True, Libya's fared better, but then there were no actual military troops in Libya -- only covert personnel at most. It might be used as an excuse to bomb Iran rather than invade it though, in the interests of going ahead and trying to knock out its nuclear programme.

    As for who gains, both Israel and Saudi Arabia gain because both are fighting Iran already -- Israel in proxy conflict with Hezbollah and to another extent, Hamas, and Saudi Arabia with the situation in Iraq as well as fighting with Iran for the oil market. The situation in Bahrain a few months back brought their power struggle into the light recently, and it's supposedly been the pretext for the operation itself.


    But one of the guys, the plotter who was actually in the Quds Force, is still at large.

    Ah, I see. Convenient. Have they even released that guy's name?
  10. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Yeah, it's in all the articles from yesterday.

    Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri.

    Arbabsiar was captured, but contacted the Qud Force while in capture.

    Shakuri is in the Qud Force, and a massive manhunt is underway for him, but he's probably outside the country by now.
  11. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Ghost, is that your opinion - that it's a just cause - or is that something you got from Il Principe or something?

    I can tell you right now that the general American public will not view this incident as a just cause for an immediate war, nor will the international community.

    [image=http://thescreamonline.com/photo/photo06-01/mortensen/machiavelli.jpg]
  12. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    It's technically a valid reason for war according to US law, international law, and the UN charter. And I said that's if the facts are right, and I don't see any evidence that they're not correct yet. We shouldn't rush to judgement, we need to investigate more. But Biden and Clinton seem confident.

    I'm hoping Iran will just collapse on its own. But there is now a legal reason for us to go to war.

  13. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Seriously?

    And would you agree if the US went to war with Iran over just this?
  14. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Maybe you posted this before my edit, but re-read my post above.

    I hope we don't, this seems to show Iran is more unstable than we thought so it could collapse on its own soon. We need more information. But an attempted terrorist attack on US soil is absolutely grounds to go to war. We have a legally valid reason for it, under international law, if these facts prove to be correct (which Biden and Clinton are convinced they are, haven't heard from Obama yet).

    If we do go to war, no invasion by US troops. Just do what we did in Libya, and take out Iran's military, especially the Revolutionary Guard, as well as the nuclear plants. I don't think it will come to that.

    But Saudi Arabia and Israel may be planning something.

    I've always been very skeptical about Iran building nuclear weapons, and didn't think that was a reason for war. But a foiled terrorist attack? Yes, it is. American lives were in danger, as well people in embassies entrusted to our care.
  15. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Shouldn't they be allowed to assassinate as many Saudis as they like without Americans going to war over it? I think Americans will demand a better reason than that.

    Biden and Clinton are rattling sabres about this, I'll give them that, but I don't think Americans share your interest in military retribution for a botched and possibly faked up terrorist plot.
  16. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    No evidence that it was faked yet.

    Americans lives were in danger, they planned to bomb an American restaurant he usually goes to.

    And their embassies are on our soil.
  17. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    WMDs, my friend. WMDs. Maybe Americans are slightly less credulous than they used to be when their leaders go on tv trying to market grounds for military action. If that's what's happening. I don't know.

    I don't know for sure that this plot was intercepted at a point where it even qualifies as an actual attempt. No bombing or assassination ever took place. So, as of now it remains an alleged plot, not a bombing. Not an assasination.
  18. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. - Karl Marx
  19. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    Iraq never attempted to bomb an American restaurant, with agents arrested in the country.

    Whether you agree or disagree that we should go to war, it is a fact that (if these facts hold) then technically this is a just cause for war.

    Like I said, I'm hoping Iran is just close to collapsing on its own. But Saudi Arabia and Israel might not see it that way.
  20. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Wasn't Iraq already the repetition?
    I lost count.

    If it's technically a just cause, then technicality leaves a lot to be desired. It's certainly not convincingly or appropriately a just cause.

    And it isn't technically a just cause either. This ain´t in no UN Charter. Or would you call a U.S.-initiated war against Iran "self-defence"? In that case, see quote above.
  21. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I'm just not really seeing the benefit to Iran from these actions. Shadow wars in Lebanon during the 1980s and Iraq in the 2000s? Sure; they enforce the notion of Iran as a regional power. Assassinating the Saudi ambassador doesn't make sense in that context; it's simple thuggery and will be responded to in kind. Iran stands-and stood-to gain nothing besides even further cementing the Arabic disdain for them.

    I don't think it'll result in war (we've not gone to war with nations over far more provocative terrorist acts-the Lockerbie bombing for one) but I don't doubt that even more harsh sanctions will be enacted. Iran's economy is going to wind up looking like North Korea's before very long.
  22. Vader_vs_Maul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2003
    star 3
    False flag terrorist plots or military provocations are common in history as a tool to whip up public support for a wanted war. The question to ask is: who benefits from this? Certainly Iran would have nothing to benefit from assassinating ambassadors, who have no executive power or influence. The US would have a casus belli to invade, I guess. But this is not enough to get the American public behind a war. If that was the goal, they should have allowed the alleged plot to happen. Public outrage would have been greater then. As is, it's not enough. The populations of Israel and Saudi Arabia, however, already have enough paranoia/enmity toward Iran for even a foiled attempt to be enough to rally support. If anyone would benefit from this, it would be those two.

    In the case of Saudi Arabia, it knows that Muslim populations outside of the Arabian peninsula will view an attack on a fellow Muslim neighbour as sinful, so all the more reason to have the initiating provocation play out in the US, where it would make news all around the world, rather than at home, where most Muslim populations wouldn't know about it. The attempt on the Israeli ambassador is almost not focused on at all, which makes me suspect that maybe the Israel angle was just tacked on to make the story more plausible.
  23. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Frankly I'm much more concerned about what happens when the Iranians perfect their technology to launch monkeys into space. What are they going to train those monkeys to do up there? Space-based feces slinging is a more legitimate threat than comical Iranian intelligence/Mexican drug cartel links.
  24. LtNOWIS Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    This isn't one of the typical American-style ambassadors, like when a politician sends a big donor to France as a reward. Reportedly, the Saudi ambassador is a top foreign policy adviser to the king, and he's had a pretty long diplomatic career.
  25. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 6
    The entire episode is troubling whether it is true or false.

    If the plot is true -- and my own BS detector readings have started high and get increasingly higher -- the reasons for concern are self-evident because Iran is either much wackier than previously thought or perceived, or they have less control over their human resources than previously thought or perceived.

    If the plot is false, the far more likely scenario to me in this case, then its troubling firstly for the willingness of whoever came up with the plot to put it through: someone wants a war with Iran quite badly to try at this seemingly mad caper. Secondly, it's troubling for the attention it's receiving from the media and senior officials at the WH. Clinton and Biden are both saber-rattling as a result of this story, and it seems pretty easy to have gotten them to that point. So someone somewhere in America's current corridors of power is either part of said a false plot to engineer ill-will towards Iran, or is too eager to believe such a report without the degree of skepticism that many other would give it (and many indeed say the majority of the American public gives it).

    War with Iran by America or any state in retaliation seems unlikely. Bombing also seems unlikely. Additional sanctions seem more likely. But still, it just seems to me that for a nation whose government should, at least, not particularly desire a war with Iran, they came public with this information in a peculiar fashion.

    For instance, I once worked with someone who was interrogated by my country's intel services. Apparently as the story went, he worked at a hotel in a small-ish city where a few individuals were staying. When they left, he helped pack their luggage into a car and off they went. A short time later -- days, a week, I dunno -- intel services descended and looked into my former co-worker quite thoroughly. They asked descriptions, what had happened, etc... and they're probably looking into all his contacts and associations to this day. So whoever these people were, it was probably a pretty important matter.

    But guess what? Not a single news story on it. Yeah, maybe my co-worker was lying and made the whole thing up, but he seemed a stand-up guy to me.

    So that meant that a few potentially dangerous individuals were running around our country. Intel services could have come public with the info. They could have staged some sort of manhunt, canvassing the public for help. They did not. I don't know what happened, but it never made front page in any media service here or elsewhere. I was told this story 3 years ago, so it must have happened at least 4 years ago if not more.

    The point I'm making here is: they stage a press conference only because they're trying to find this guy from the Quds force and they hope making it public will help nab him? Eeeh, I don't buy it. There was some reason somebody decided to go public with this story. I doubt it was to pre-empt 'America's Most Wanted'.