A History of Violence

Written on October 13, 2011 by Ángeles Figueroa-Alcorta in Americas, Foreign Policy, International Conflict, Terrorism & Security, Middle East

Is there anyone who still doubts that Iran is a terrorist state?

By Matthew Levitt

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement on Oct. 11 that a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen and a commander in Iran’s Quds Force, the special-operations unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), had been charged in New York for their alleged roles in a plot to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, represents a brazen escalation in Iran’s struggle for regional dominance. But Iran’s willingness to use brutal means to achieve its foreign-policy goals is nothing new: Since the creation of the Islamic Republic, U.S. intelligence agencies have repeatedly identified terrorism as one of the regime’s signature calling cards.

The timing of this plot suggests Iran feels itself under increasing pressure, both from the international community (led by the United States) and from the regional alliance of Sunni states in the region (led by Saudi Arabia). Intriguingly, the plot seems to have been launched shortly after the Saudi-led military intervention in Bahrain against Shiite protesters, to which Iran objected loudly but was unable to affect.

The plot developed quickly over just a few months, starting this spring and culminating with the arrest of Manssor Arbabsiar, the Iranian-American man, in September. According to a Justice Department news release, Arbabsiar told a Drug Enforcement Administration confidential source (CS-1) posing as an associate of an international drug cartel that “his associates in Iran had discussed a number of violent missions for CS-1 and his associates to perform, including the murder of the Ambassador.” Later, after Arbabsiar was arrested and confessed to his role in the plots, he reportedly called Gholam Shakuri, the member of the Quds Force who was also indicted, at the direction of law enforcement. Shakuri again confirmed that the plot should go forward and as soon as possible. “Just do it quickly. It’s late,” he said.

The fact that Iran plotted attacks in the United States is surprising, and not only because Iranian agents have traditionally carried out such attacks in Europe, South America, or the Middle East. One might assume Iran would behave more cautiously at a time when it has come under increasing international pressure over its rumored pursuit of nuclear weapons, its suppression of human rights at home, and its support of terrorism abroad. Indeed, the U.S. government designated the Quds Force as a terrorist group in 2007 for providing material support to the Taliban, Iraqi Shiite militants, and other terrorist organizations. Most counterterrorism experts expected that future acts of Iranian terrorism would occur in places like Europe where Iranian agents have long targeted dissidents, and not in the United States, where carrying out an attack would risk a U.S. military reprisal.

Iran’s use of terrorism as a tool of foreign policy, however, goes back as far as the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Writing in 1986, the CIA assessed in a now declassified report titled “Iranian Support for International Terrorism” that while Iran’s support for terrorism was meant to further its national interest, it also stemmed from the clerical regime’s perception “that it has a religious duty to export its Islamic revolution and to wage, by whatever means, a constant struggle against the perceived oppressor states.” Read more…

Matthew Levitt is director of the Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

As published in www.foreignpolicy.com on October 12, 2011.


Divorce November 2, 2011 - 7:05 pm

It is hard to create a good case for your divorce without an attorney. If you try to approach a divorce without one, your case won’t have a successful turn-out. Without one, you could lose everything or end up paying out more than you anticipated. Don’t rush into the process of finding a dependable divorce attorney. Take your time so that you feel comfortable when you enter the courtroom. Most lawyers will offer a free consultation. If you are trying to choose between multiple lawyers, take advantage of the consultation so that you can find an attorney who understands your case.

Leave a Comment


We use both our own and third-party cookies to enhance our services and to offer you the content that most suits your preferences by analysing your browsing habits. Your continued use of the site means that you accept these cookies. You may change your settings and obtain more information here. Accept