The Iranian Plot
I realize this is terribly untimely, but I still haven’t quite figured out what to think about the Iranian plot uncovered last week, to assassinate the Saudi ambassador and destroy the Saudi and Israeli embassies. It’s definitely in the category of distressing if true. While it does seem to have been order by the Quds Force, and thus probably not by the people “up top”, that’s not necessarily reassuring. It means that there’s a lot of hatred directed towards America, to the point of attempting to launch attacks within America, and more importantly that the central authorities (cooler heads, in this context) lack the control over their own military to prevent them.
However, Steve Walt raises the disturbing possibility that this is some sort of false-flag operation. It wouldn’t be totally impossible to imagine; I personally find it kind of odd that that the Saudi Ambassador would be the first priority target of the operation. If the Israelis were running this, it would mean they didn’t want to run the risk of their agent actually succeeding. If the Saudis were running this, it would mean they were making themselves Target #1 in order to argue for more security assistance from the US.
The key point here: If there’s even the slightest chance that the evidence doesn’t hold together, it’s very dangerous for the US to be publicly accusing Iran of being behind this. It does seem extremely oddly amateurish, almost like he was trying to get caught. And the US has enough credibility problems after Iraq. This whole thing kind of smells funny to me.