The motivation for the foiled Iranian-instigated plot to murder the Saudi ambassador to Washington at his favorite eatery, Café Milano in Georgetown, is revealed by DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources as a bid by a super-radical faction at the top of the Iranian regime to draw the United States into a limited military clash. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved the plot when his son and heir Mojtaba, 42, and the Al Qods Brigades commander Gen. Qassem Soleimanipresented him with their “grand plan.”
US President Barack Obama said Thursday, Oct. 13 that a person charged with plotting to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s US ambassador “had direct links, was paid by” and “directed by individuals in the Iranian government. He also said he would not take any options off the table in dealing with Tehran.
The American UN ambassador Susan Rice later met with her Iranian counterpart about the plot. The contents of their conversation were not revealed.
DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources disclose how the “grand plan” was intended to unfold. The first stage was kicked off last week with the flare-up of new Shiite-led riots in Bahrain which Iranian agents helped to expand into the neighboring Qatif oil region of eastern Saudi Arabia.
This week, Revolutionary Guards and Al Qods experts in mayhem organized pilgrims heading for the Umrah, the little pilgrimage, in Mecca starting on Nov. 4, as agents provocateur for stirring up riots among the massed pilgrims. The first batch of 20,000 Iranian pilgrims is already in the shrine cities of Mecca and Medina.
Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir’s assassination was planned to coincide with riots in the holy cities and disturbances in the oil regions and so cause a breakdown in national security and shake the throne to its foundations.
The Americans would then come running to save the kingdom, Mojtaba (picture on the left) and Soleimani figured, and head straight into a limited armed clash with Iran. This is what the pair was aiming for to further the following objectives:
1. To head off the spread of unrest in Syria into the Iranian Republic. The downtrodden ethnic and religious minorities which make up 60 percent of the population would not venture to rise up against the minority Persian rulers at a time of war for fear of being punished as traitors.
2. To push the controversial Iranian nuclear program down to the bottom of the international agenda and stop in its tracks the US-led campaign to halt its development.
3. To win international Muslim acclaim for diverting the military focus of the West away from Syria and saving President Bashar Assad’s regime.
4. By sacrificing a few of Iran’s warships and planes in a limited clash, Tehran would win support from Russia and China, which are both strongly opposed to Western military intervention in Syria or any other part of the Middle East.
5. They would produce a Tehran-led anti-American Muslim military line-up to stand up against the pro-American Sunni Muslim military bloc sponsored by the West, which Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is assembling.
DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources say there is nothing paradoxical about the super-efficient professional Al-Qods Brigades enlisting a Mexican drug cartel for a hit squad to assassinate Ambassador al-Jubeir. For at least 20 years, Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hizballah has kept itself in funds by drug trafficking, gunrunning and fencing stolen goods and today controls entire networks in Latin America and Africa.
This fact is well known, fully recorded and easily available to anyone interested.
The most competent clandestine organizations often use inept losers like the Iranian-born New York American Mansour Arbabsiar for “dirty operations.” They tend to be a far cry from the high-IQ superspies of film and fiction. In this case, he may have been the best foot soldier available. Al Qods maintains small sleeper cells among the 900,000 Iranian expatriates living in the United States, more than half of them in California and Texas. But its active agents are by and large of the same substandard caliber as Arbabsiar.
There is another possibility: His Al Qods controllers expected the plot to be foiled. They knew Arbabsiar was under FBI surveillance after an unsuccessful attempt to enter the drug market, and watched him walk into a trap when he tried to hire a DEA agent posing as a member of the Mexican drug cartel.
Had the assassination taken place, it would have been treated as an act of war by the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel. (The Saudi and Israeli embassies were to be bombed at the same time in Buenos Aires.)
Mojtaba and Soleimani did not intend to go that far or provoke a full-blown war. A foiled plot was to be the cue for a limited armed confrontation which was all their “grand plan” required – and that result appears to be building up.