James M. Lindsay

The Water's Edge

Lindsay analyzes the politics shaping U.S. foreign policy and the sustainability of American power.

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The World Next Week: The Alleged Iranian Assassination Plot

by James M. Lindsay
October 13, 2011

Manssor Arbabsiar is shown in this courtroom sketch during an appearance in a Manhattan courtroom in New York, New York on October 11, 2011. Arbabsiar, 56, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen and holds an Iranian passport, was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Sept. 29. U.S. authorities broke up a plot by two men linked to the Iranian government to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the United States, U.S. officials said on Tuesday, escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington. Arbabsiar was ordered detained and assigned a public defender. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

Manssor Arbabsiar is shown in this courtroom sketch during an appearance in a Manhattan courtroom in New York, New York on October 11, 2011. (Jane Rosenberg/courtesy Reuters)

The World Next Week podcast is up. Bob McMahon and I talked about the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States; next week’s Republican presidential debate; and elections for five non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council.

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The highlights:

  • The alleged plot by the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States has baffled many experts on Iran. It’s a high risk gamble that likely would have backfired on Tehran had it succeeded. As it was, it was amateurishly executed. If the Justice Department succeeds in backing up its charges, Washington will find it easier to move ahead with its effort to isolate Iran internationally.
  • Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have both given major foreign-policy speeches in the last week, and they have laid out different visions of how the United States should navigate its challenges abroad. But Herman Cain’s sudden emergence as the new favorite of Republican voters makes it unlikely that foreign policy will be the focus of next week’s GOP debate in Las Vegas. The more likely focus will be Cain’s 9-9-9 plan.
  • Guatemala is running unopposed for the Latin American and Caribbean seat on the UN Security Council.  (Historical aside: Guatemala is one of six original UN members never to have held one of the rotating seats on the Security Council.) But the seats representing the other major regional groups are all being contested. One of the most interesting contests pits Pakistan against Kyrgyzstan for the Asia seat.
  • Bob’s Figure of the Week is President Lee Myung-Bak. My Figure of the Week is 1,565.  If you listen to the podcast we’ll tell you why.

The New York Times reports on how the United States may respond to the alleged Iranian plot and the Economist examines the links between the would-be assassins and the Iranian government. CNN lists the entry criteria for the debate it plans to host with the Western Republican Leadership Conference –requirements that may exclude Huntsman. An op-ed in Dawn encourages Pakistani leadership to focus on winning a non-permanent Security Council seat, while the Times of India discusses a particular challenge Pakistan’s bid faces.

Post a Comment 1 Comment

  • Posted by Tony

    Regarding Iran, this should not be surprising;
    1979-Assault on American embassy and hostages taken.
    1980-Assasination of Ali Akbar Tabatabaie in Bethesda, Maryland.
    1989-Assasination of Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou in Vienna.
    1983-Bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon.
    1983-Bombing of the American embassy in Lebanon.
    1983-Bombing of the American embassy in Kuwait.
    2003 to Present-Launching rockets into the American embassy in Iraq.
    Does this plot really sound like a departure for the regime? It makes perfect sense. They want to show the Saudis who’s boss. It’s a good way to intimidate the Saudis into backing down in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, etc.

    Regarding 9-9-9 presented by Cain, the research must be done to determine if Cain’s plan will reduce the deficit , increase US credit rating and reduces unemployment.

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