October 12th, 2011
01:02 PM ET

Did Iran launch a plot against the U.S.?

Editor's Note: Gary Sick is a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Middle East Institute and an adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs. Sick served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan. He was the principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis. He blogs at Gary's Choices, where this post was originally published.

By Gary Sick

I find this alleged Iranian plot very hard to believe. In fact, this plot, if true, departs from all known Iranian policies and procedures. To be sure, Iran has plenty of reasons to be angry at both the United States and Saudi Arabia. They attribute the recent wave of assassinations of physics professors and students, as well as the intrusion of the Stuxnet worm, to the U.S. and Israel. And the king of Saudi Arabia is reliably reported to have called for the U.S. to bomb Iran.

Iran has reportedly been involved in past assassinations in Europe and bombings in Argentina and elsewhere. But the assassinations were of Iranian counter-revolutionaries in the 1980s, and the bombings were always carried out by trusted proxies — normally a branch of Hezbollah. Iran’s fingerprints were always concealed beneath one or more layers of disguise.

Iran has never conducted — or apparently even attempted — an assassination or a bombing inside the U.S. And it is difficult to believe that they would rely on a non-Islamic criminal gang to carry out this most sensitive of all possible missions. In this instance, they allegedly relied on at least one amateur and a Mexican criminal drug gang that is known to be riddled with both Mexican and U.S. intelligence agents.

Whatever else may be Iran’s failings, they are not noted for utter disregard of the most basic intelligence tradecraft, e.g. discussing an ultra-covert operation on an open international line between Iran and the U.S. Yet that is what happened here. Perhaps this operation is just as it appears. But at a minimum both the public and the Congress should demand more detailed evidence before taking any rash or irreversible action. If Iran is really as stupid and as incompetent as this case implies, then perhaps they are their own worst enemy and not the clever and determined adversary that they are made out to be.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Gary Sick.

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Topics: Iran • Saudi Arabia • Terrorism

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. john dahodi

    It is too bad and sinister when Obama-Hillary take the similar path what Bush-Cheney took some 10 years ago.Only to keep Israel most secured and the only goon in the middle east, America has already launched 2 wars and sacrificed more than 5000 precious American lives, bankrupted our resources, lost our prestige and reputation in the world. Now, we have nothing left to sacrifice except our bread and butter. Are we ready to do that in igniting another more fierce and deadly war, which cannot be stopped even after several decades. By taking any foolish steps using military or more radical steps on such imaginary plot, America will lose her whatever remaining image in the Arab and Muslim world forever. Israel will become the worst enemy of the Arabs and Muslims and Saudi King will lose his crown forever when the Arabs will revolt against him. It is better, we should behave like a compassionate, peaceful, just and fair super power controlling our emotion and giving right advice to our friends including Israel to get used to live in peace with her neighbors accepting civilized behavior and peaceful means.

    October 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  2. sean

    Well said to both Gary Sick and commenter John Dahodi.

    October 12, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      If it's true what Gary Sick said, that this plot was to sloppy to be professional and doubted Iran's involvement, then Iran has all the interests in the world to co-operate with the U.S. to find out who could have pulled the string behind. Iran has enemies in the Gulf and elsewhere in the Arab world that want to settle scores with Teheran.

      October 12, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  3. Thomas Mc

    We have to lie this country into another war, people. Those trillions of tax dollars aren't going to just march themselves from the Treasury over to the Military Industrial Complex, you know!

    October 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  4. Dr. Mobasheri

    Several years ago, Uncle Tom Collin Powell straight looked at world eyes and lied to his teeth about WMD of Iraq and as result, several hundred Iraqis were massacred by our military machine and millions become refugees around the world. And now, our two other Uncle Tomes, Obama and Holder are doing the same thing, only on more idiotic fashion, and as result, only God knows how many lives are going to be lost as result. There are no ends for our blood thirst.

    October 15, 2011 at 1:03 am | Reply
    • Dr. Mobasheri

      I meant Several Hundred Thousand Iraqis were killed by American Military Machine.

      October 15, 2011 at 5:33 am | Reply
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