Monday, October 17, 2011

"Foiled" assassination plot of Saudi Ambassador to U.S.


Obama and CIA terrorize Saudis into compliance, setting stage for WWIII; draft on horizon

STRATFOR
10/16/2011

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Oct. 11 that two individuals were charged in New York for allegedly taking part in a plot directed by Iranian government elements to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, on U.S. soil.
    
    Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri face numerous charges, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives), conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism transcending national borders and conspiracy to murder a foreign official. Arbabsiar is a U.S. citizen with both Iranian and U.S. passports, and Shakuri allegedly is a member of Iran’s Quds Force, a special unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) believed to promote terrorist activities abroad. The announcement of the alleged plot and Arbabsiar’s arrest will please the Saudis and further complicate U.S.-Iranian relations. 

Adel al-Jubeir
Arbabsiar allegedly traveled to Mexico several times between May and July. In Mexico, he met with a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confidential source posing as an associate of a violent Mexican cartel in order to hire the source and his purported accomplices to kill the ambassador. Arbabsiar allegedly wired two separate payments totaling $100,000 in August into a bank account in the United States, with Shakuri’s approval, as a down payment to the DEA source for the killing of the ambassador (the agreed-upon total price was $1.5 million).

    Arbabsiar was denied entry by Mexican authorities on his most recent trip Sept. 28, and he was apprehended Sept. 29 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. (The U.S. government has arranged such flights in the past in order to apprehend fugitives on U.S. soil.) Shakuri, meanwhile, is believed to be in Iran. While the news conference highlighted the possibility of follow-on attacks after this assassination attempt, officials said related plots would involve Arbabsiar, which means any future threat connected to this plot is contained.

    The Department of Justice has indicated that the IRGC’s Quds Force was behind the plot. If this is the case, it is likely that a U.S. agency intercepted traffic or had human intelligence about the development of the plot and set up an undercover operation to disrupt it. The United States would not blame the IRGC without substantial evidence. However, this plot seems far-fetched considering the Iranian intelligence services’ usual methods of operation and the fact that its ramifications would involve substantial political risk.

    Iran has been known to carry out preoperational surveillance in the United States, but it has not yet used this intelligence to carry out a high-profile attack. It seems unusual that the Iranians would approach a Mexican cartel to carry out the assassination when the Iranians probably have the capability themselves. However, it could be that Arbabsiar and Shakuri were acting on their own, or that something unusual is going on within the Iranian government. Regardless, because Arbabsiar’s contact in Mexico was a DEA undercover source posing as a member of a Mexican cartel, at this point the cartels have not been directly linked to the plot.

    It is unclear what the Iranians would have to gain by killing the Saudi ambassador to the United States, and the implications of the plot’s being linked back to Iran are huge. That makes the links back to Iran, which so far are only based on Arbabsiar’s alleged confession, seem exaggerated.


This STRATFOR article is republished with permission and thanks from The 5th Estate.








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