Notes From the Margins…

The Iran Assassination Plot – a Pretext for War?

  • October 13, 2011
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After so many years of threats and sabre-rattling, is the United States trying to provoke Saudi Arabia into a war against Iran?   If so, it must be truly desperate,  because this supposed plot to kill the Saudi Arabian  ambassador  is so wildly implausible that it really makes no sense at all.

First, allow me to laugh at Barack Obama’s outraged description of the plot as a “flagrant violation of international law”.

There, I’ve got that out of the way so let’s move on with a simple cui bono.   Why would Iran want to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador in the first place?  To achieve what exactly?  And if the Iranians were going to do something like this, why would they get an Iranian-American car salesman to try and recruit the Mexican Zetas, when they no doubt have plenty of people who would be capable of doing this far more effectively – and who would be able to cover their tracks in the first place.

The only logical explanation for this ‘assassination plot’  is the desire of the US – or certain sub-groups within the US state –  to get Iran.   For years the US has blamed Iran for just about everything in the Middle East and Central Asia that goes against their interests.

There’s the Iraq insurgency (regardless of the fact that it was American stupidity and incompetence not Iranian Machiavellian cunning that ended up with a pro-Iranian Shi’a government in Iraq).  There’s Afghanistan, even though America’s supposed ally Pakistan is clearly far more deeply involved in the various Taliban/Haqqani manifestations than Iran – assuming that Iran is even in Afghanistan at all.

Then there’s the nuclear issue, which the US appear to have given up on, presumably in the knowledge that even if Iran is developing nuclear weapons, there’s nothing much it can do about it except bomb the whole country to smithereens.   There are those in the US political establishment and media who would like to do this, but so far these voices haven’t prevailed.

There’s also the US foreign policy objective, repeated in various strategy papers over the years, not to allow the emergence of regional powers in any part of the world that might challenge American interests.   The US knows very well that its own actions have changed the strategic balance in the Middle East and enhanced Iranian influence in the region and it wants to reverse this in some way.  But saner heads know that it can’t afford another full-on war right now.

Last but not least, there’s Hizbullah, which the US and Israel see as the ‘terrorist A Team’, the face of evil and an Iranian puppet.   For years there have been rumours that Israel is about to attack Iran, but even the Israeli establishment must know that this is a war they might not win.

So is it too conspiratorial to suggest that cometh the hour, cometh Saudi Arabia?   And if it is a stitch-up, then it is very likely that the Saudis are also involved in it.  For the Saudis also blame Iran for a lot of things, not least of which is the current unrest in their Shi’a dominated eastern provinces.

And now  the former Saudi intelligence chief and longtime US crony Prince Turki al-Faisal has declared that the evidence is ‘overwhelming… and clearly shows official Iranian responsibility for this. Somebody in Iran will have to pay the price.’

The ‘evidence’ shows nothing of the kind, but that may not stop the Saudis from attempting to use some of that military hardware the US and Britain have been selling them for so many years, regardless of the plot’s credibility.

The Guardian quotes ‘ A former western diplomat with an intimate knowledge of Iranian affairs’, who says “I don’t believe Iran’s regime was behind the plot. If we assume it was Iran’s plot, then it would seem like a group of professional gangsters hiring a careless agent for their most important project. It’s impossible.”

It really is.  And to see the Obama administration presenting this childish fabrication as a serious possibility is either a demonstration of how low it is prepared to sink in order to whack Iran – or an indication of its equally low opinion of the intelligence and attention span of the American and international public.  But then, as    Patrick Cockburn points out

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.

That was pretty crude and infantile too.  But we all know what happened, don’t we?

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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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