I honestly do not know what to make of this story.
The administration says it has credible evidence that Iran plotted to kill the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. But the plot is so stupid, that it has some people wondering if the whole thing is not some sort of hoax.
There are some points that would make one question this whole garish tale. Most important:
–This does not match past Iranian practice. Many “experts” think this is the clincher, but precedent is not always a reliable guide. Things change. Be careful on this point.
–Why should some Iranian-American businessman in Texas be a key Iranian agent? It’s called secret agent work for a reason. A sleeper cell should not be obvious. And he did have a relative in the Revolutionary Guards.
–Why didn’t Iran use its own assets? I think this is a stronger argument. The whole thing is amateurish. Even if Iran was going to do this, it would have developed these contacts and not immediately entrusted some drug gang official that one of their guys barely knew. Wouldn’t they have preferred to use Middle Easterners and Muslims?
–What was the Iranian goal? Certainly, Iran has been threatening the United States with dire consequences for a while. But why the sudden decision to escalate? Revenge for sanctions? And what was their plan for concealing Iranian involvement if the attack did happen? One can explain such a change, but one cannot explain it very well. This raises questions, but again is not a definitive answer.
(If I had to make a guess–and it is too early–I’d speculate that the Iranian agent(s) involved didn’t have full authorization to organize such attacks but that’s speculation.)
All that’s important is this: If the U.S. government has persuasive evidence that it can present, then it happened. Since the main defendent has turned state’s evidence then he will supply details and we would see that the story is true and the trail does lead back to Iran’s government. BUT if the Obama Administration can make the charges stick that is only the beginning of its problems!
So then what? If its true, this could be very bad news. Very bad. If its not true then the US has egg on its face and then this is very bad news. Either way, bad news.
I have to assume that the US has its ducks in a row on this even to come public with it, but who knows these days?
I can’t help but think that the ludicrousness of the plot works to Iran’s benefit. If it succeeds, it succeeds. If not, the craziness of it gives them some distance and deniability. Even if true, it makes it very hard to act on it because Iran will deny it and the ridiculousness of it helps their case.
Whatever happens now, the US better make a very convincing case very public or you will “wag the dog” about a million times over the next few weeks.