Alleged Washington bombing plot is out of character for Iran's professional killers
Former CIA operative Robert Baer.
October 12th, 2011
03:27 PM ET

Alleged Washington bombing plot is out of character for Iran's professional killers

By Robert Baer, TIME

Just when you think the Middle Easy couldn't get any weirder, along comes an Iranian plot to assassinate the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Washington. The plot has was described by FBI Director Robert Muller as plucked right out of a Hollywood script — if so, it would be a truly awful Hollywood script. None of it measures up to Iran's unsurpassed skill in conducting assassinations. As for motives, there are no convincing ones.

According to the Department of Justice indictment, an Iranian-American used-car salesman attempted to recruit a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the hit. Other parts of the plan included bombing the Israeli embassy in Washington, as well as the Israeli and Saudi embassies in Argentina. The Iranian was willing to pay the cartel assassins $1.5 million to murder the Saudi ambassador. But the plot came undone when the man representing himself as a cartel operative turned out to be a paid informant of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The Iranian, who confessed after his arrest, is now behind bars. The other man in the plot, a member of the Quds Force, a secretive special forces unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, remains at large. FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: Iran • Saudi Arabia • Terrorism
April 15th, 2011
09:00 AM ET

Showdown in Syria: will Friday protests force Assad's hand?

Editor's Note: Robert Baer is a former Middle East CIA field officer and TIME.com's intelligence columnist.  He is also the author of See No EvilThe Devil We Know and The Company We Keep.

By Robert Baer in TIME

Syria could very well learn its fate this Friday. According to a source from the country with close ties to the regime, if large-scale demonstrations break out after midday prayer in Syria's two largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo, the regime will be faced with a stark choice: either crack down with unlimited violence, or meet the demonstrators' demands. In either case, Syria is looking into an abyss....

FULL POST

Post by:
Topics: Middle East • Perspectives • Revolution • Security • Syria