That Mecca of counter-revolution and hatred for the Arab Spring - also known as the House of Saud - can hardly believe their luck. It's Christmas in October - as the United States government has just handed it the perfect gift; in the excited words of US Attorney General Eric Holder, "A deadly plot directed by factions of the Iranian government to assassinate a foreign ambassador on US soil with explosives."
Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal, former ambassador to Washington, former head of Saudi intelligence, former great buddy of Osama bin Laden, took no time to tell a conference in London, "The burden of proof and the amount of evidence in the case is overwhelming, and clearly shows official Iranian responsibility for this. This is unacceptable. Somebody in Iran will have to pay the price."
So "Iran" - the whole country - has already been delivered to the guillotine by the Washington/Riyadh axis, even as the Justice Department's murky Wag the Dog-style story - Operation Red Coalition (no, you can't make that stuff up) - requires increasing suspension of disbelief.
Operation Red Coalition centers on one Mansour Arabsiar, a 56-year-old car salesman from Corpus Christi, Texas, holding both Iranian and US passports, and an Iran-based co-conspirator, Gholam Shakuri, an alleged member of the Qods force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director Robert Mueller insisted the allegedly Iran-masterminded terror plot, in his own words, "reads like the pages of a Hollywood script". Yet this Fast and Furious spin-off would be hurled at the garbage can in any self-respecting Hollywood script conference.
Faster, muchachos - kill, kill
The US government expects an unsuspecting world to believe that a washed-up car salesman in Texas was tasked by a select intelligence arm of the Iranian government to fish for anyone who looked like a Mexican drug gangster and then order them a US$1.5 million hit on the Saudi ambassador in Washington - in the meantime promising them unfettered access to "tons of opium".
Yet in the Sealed Amended Complaint against Arabsiar and Shakuri, signed by FBI special agent Robert Woloszyn, there is absolutely nothing specifically stating the involvement of the Iranian government, at the highest or at any level.
According to the US government narrative, Arabsiar was foolish enough to trust an infiltrated Drug Enforcement Agency agent who posed as a member of the Zetas Mexican drug cartel. He told this agent and his buddies he was the nephew of a Tehran high official - and that he was acting on behalf of the highest echelons.
So we are asked to believe that an Iranian general asks a Dumb and Dumber relative in the US to go contract a drug cartel for a political hit - as if US intelligence would never be able to track the whole thing back to him, especially after the matter of $100,000 wired to the US, allegedly from Iran, to a guy convicted of check fraud, as the down payment for the hit.
Beyond any ideological bias, anyone who knows how professional the IRGC and the Qods force can be cannot but dismiss this as utter rubbish - especially as part of a complex international operation involving Iran, its mortal foe the US, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. By the way, Arabsiar "confessed" to all this after 12 days of non-stop interrogation (waterboarding, anyone?)
Then there's the target. According to the Department of Justice, the target was not the US. Thus attacking a House of Saud ambassador - a "precious" ally - on US soil can only be explained by a death wish exhibited by seriously deranged, suicidal Iranians bent on inviting a US strike, nuclear or otherwise.
To believe that a Mexican drug cartel would invest in a troublesome political hit in the US capital expecting to collect a bundle of opium (from "liberated" Afghanistan) is also a non-starter. But the picture changes if one considers the benefits for the Mujahideen-e-Kalq - the fundamentalist, terrorist organization that wants to bring down the Islamic Republic. Or the possible benefits for a ghostly al-Qaeda in terms of creating a three-way-war involving Washington, Tehran and Riyadh.
There's also the Israeli false flag option. Apart from the fact that the plot does look like an American Israel Public Affairs Committee wet dream delivered to Holder on a silver plate, the Israel lobby in Washington as well as assorted Zionists would love nothing better than to rally alongside a causus belli established in Washington itself, leading perhaps to a US strike of some sort against Iran without direct Israeli involvement.
According to the official mantra, Americans should always be reminded that Iran is an "existential threat" to the Jewish state. Targeting the Saudi ambassador is perfect in terms of involving the House of Saud in logistical support for such a strike.
Even assuming some sort of rogue Qods force faction with a drug smuggling connection might have been involved in this sloppy would-be operation, there's also the possibility this could have been construed as retaliation for the recent targeted assassination of senior Iranian nuclear scientists inside Iran. But still that does not explain the choice of a Saudi ambassador on US soil. (See Israel wages war on Iranian scientists Asia Times Online, August 27.)
Once again; why now? The plot has allegedly been known for months. President Barack Obama was briefed about it in June. King Abdullah was briefed about it in mid-September. So why now? It's back to the usual suspects.
The neo-conservatives. Factions of the industrial-military complex. Right-wing, bat-shit crazy Republicans and their media shills. The Israel lobby. The House of Saud - now painted as a "victim" of the "evil" Iranians, when it has in fact been conducting the fierce counter-revolution that has destroyed any possibility of an Arab Spring in the Persian Gulf - the invasion and repression of Bahrain included.
The plot is very handy to divert attention from Saudi Arabia as the beneficiary of a multi-billionaire US weapons sale. And also very handy to divert attention from Holder himself - caught in yet another monstrous scandal, on whether he told lies regarding Operation Fast and Furious (no, you can't make this stuff up), a federal gun sting through which no less than 1,400 high-powered US weapons ended up, untracked, in the hands of - you guessed it - Mexican drug cartels. Seems like the Fast and the Furious franchise is the entertainment weapon of choice across all levels of the US government.
Washington wants to "unite the world" against Iran ("world" meaning the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - NATO) and is graphically threatening to take Iran to the United Nations Security Council - all over again.
So let's anxiously wait for a hushed R2P ("responsibility to protect") resolution ordering NATO to establish a no-fly zone over every House of Saud prince across the world. A resolution which would be interpreted as a NATO mandate to bomb Iran into regime change. Now that's a script you can believe in.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).