Was Manssor Arbabsiar really part of an Iranian plot to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States? Or is he a pawn in a scheme to drive the United States to war with Iran? Who do you believe when you don’t trust any of the people involved?
The man who the U.S. government accuses of being the ringleader of a bizarre Iranian plot to kill a diplomat has been a used car salesman in Texas for 25 years. He’s also a naturalized U.S. citizen, so he’s probably lucky the Obama administration didn’t just order him killed.
Although the U.S. government claims that Iran’s elite intelligence service was behind the plot, the facts coming out make it clear that it was amateur hour. Not only that, but some legal analysts are suggesting that a paid federal “confidential source” was actually the source of the plot and that the case against Arbabsiar is weak and might fall apart in court.
For their part, the Iranians say the accusation against their country is just a diversion to keep Americans from paying attention to their failing economy and protests on Wall Street. Although I don’t tend to believe much the Iranians say, their story might actually make more sense than the badly plotted spy comedy that the U.S. government is alleging as the work of terrorist masterminds.
With Barack Obama’s polls numbers dropping, could it be that the administration welcomes a chance to grasp at any straw and call it a win for the president? Could it be that Obama — consciously or not — is pulling a play out of Bill Clinton’s playbook? Clinton was the president who started bombing Iraq in the middle of his impeachment proceedings.
Arbabsiar might be foolish enough to have enthusiastically gone along with the amateur plot that was outlined for him, but it seems unlikely that he’s a cog in a plot authorized by the Iranian government. The Iranians aren’t that stupid. It doesn’t fit the pattern of their usual operations, based on everything I’ve read. (Here are five reasons to be skeptical of the allegations.)
The Obama administration and the Saudis are both talking as though this is a serious escalation by the Iranians. From what I can tell, it just seems like a serious escalation of rhetoric by a U.S. administration that’s desperate to divert attention away from a dying economy and an increasingly unpopular president.
This is the kind of insane rhetoric that ends up taking nations to war and getting millions of people killed.