Assassination plot: New twist in Iran's secret war with US?
The US and Iran have been fighting each other behind the scenes since the Iranian revolution in 1979. The alleged Iranian plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat on US soil is a sign, perhaps, that Iran feels it is in danger and needs to even the score.
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Iran developed a different pattern for hitting at the US and other enemies – most notably Saudi Arabia, but also Israel. It used of proxies like Hizbullah in Lebanon. The attacks on the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 and on the Khobar Towers US military housing in Saudi Arabia in 1996 are both attributed to Iran through proxy operatives.Skip to next paragraph
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More recently, US officials believe Iran has worked directly through its own forces, in particular the Revolutionary Guard Corps cited Tuesday, to attack US forces and interests in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
Some critics of US policy toward Iran say US administrations, stretching back as the Reagan administration, have set a dangerous pattern by leaving Iranian actions unanswered.
But others point to a list of recent actions attributed to Western and US-allied intelligence agencies as part of a covert war that has seen victories and setbacks on both sides. The war has included the kind of blows that the Iranian regime would interpret as aimed at its very existence.
Among those actions are the so-called Stuxnet worm, the case of industrial sabotage last year that set back Iran’s nuclear program. Also, during the past four years at least four top Iranian nuclear scientists have been killed – in one instance by poisoning – while a fifth narrowly escaped a bombing attack.
Iran has accused Western operatives, specifically from Israel and the US, of carrying out these attacks, but both the US and Israel have remained mum on their involvement. Many officials from countries friendly to the US have asserted that the acts are the work of Israeli operatives assisted by the US.
On the scorecard of a 30-year covert war, the deadliest attacks would seem to be on the Iranian side, but the most recent ones would seem to stack up on the side of its opponents.
From that perspective, the alleged plot to assassinate a Saudi diplomat a few blocks from the White House may have been the attempt of someone – at what level we don’t yet know – to even the score.