Wednesday, October 12, 2011


There are elements of this story that seem....farfetched:

If Iranian government operatives really did try to contract a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., as the Obama Administration alleges today, then they weren't just being diabolical. They were being fairly stupid.

Granted, the Zetas – the drug mafia that Iranian-American Manssor Arbabsiar allegedly thought he was dealing with on behalf of Tehran – are certainly Mexico's most bloodthirsty: they are the narcos that brought beheadings and wholesale massacres of innocent civilians to the nightmarish drug war scene south of the border. But even the Zetas, founded more than a decade ago by former Mexican army commandos, know better than to venture north of the border and invite the kind of U.S. law enforcement heat that a political assassination of this magnitude would have brought on them. They're more than willing to murder high and low inside Mexico – the Zetas are the chief suspects, for example, in last year's assassination of Tamaulipas state gubernatorial candidate Rodolfo Torre – but they've rarely if ever directed that kind of mayhem inside the U.S.

And for good reason: they've experienced the vast difference between cops, prosecutors and judges in Mexico, whom they can buy off or kill with impunity, and the U.S. judicial system.

That's exhibit A. Exhibit B?

A friend of a former Texas used car dealer accused of plotting to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador in the United States says he never thought of his one-time business partner as politically motivated, much less a key player in a potential terrorist act.

Manssor Arbabsiar was known as "Jack" to his friends because his name was too hard to pronounce, said David Tomscha, who briefly owned a used car lot with him in the Texas Gulf Coast city of Corpus Christi. Tomscha said his friend was likable, albeit a bit lazy.

"He's no mastermind," Tomscha told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I can't imagine him thinking up a plan like that. I mean, he didn't seem all that political. He was more of a businessman."

Now, this does not exclude Arbabsiar from potentially initiating and carrying out an attack that apparently was developed within the hierarchy of the Iranian military, the Quds. After all, while several of the 9/11 hijackers had college degrees (Atta was even an architect, if memory serves), several were stooges who were hired as muscle, pure and simple. And you really don't need a college degree to pull a trigger, even if Arbabsiar attended Texas A&I.

I mean, just look at Alabama!

Plus, an ambassador from Saudi Arabia only merits a $1.5 million contract? 

It sounds more like a Tom Clancy plot, complete with paper cut-out terrorists, a link to one of the Axis of Evil powers (next, they'll tell me the bomb was made in North Korea,) and involving unsecure borders and home-grown terrorists. 

And yet, it's a lot less farfetched than a guy lighting his shoe on plane, or wearing an underwear bomb, both plots foiled just short of execution. 

Still, I can't get out of my mind two disparate facts: 1) This involves Iran, a nation that America had long ago painted a bulls-eye on, and 2) the best way out of economic catastrophe is to declare a World War. 

That scares me more than the possibility of a terror attack in a restaurant I might frequent.