Quds Force II – The Storyline Repeats Itself

(Washington, DC) A faction of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard called the Quds Force (QF) is center stage in the War on Terror for the second time in five years. In 2007, President George W. Bush hauled out the group of middle and upper level Iranian government officials as a rationale for military action against Iran. The decisive shutdown of the Bush effort marks a critical turning point in recent history and will be discussed later in the article.

QF II began last Tuesday when FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder unified the terror storyline between the rabid neoconservatives of the Bush era and the low key loyalists to the national security state in the Obama administration.

Holder and Mueller accused, “elements of the Iranian government of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington,” the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. In essence, this military faction allegedly hired an outsider to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States. With the full knowledge of the Iranian government, the outsider tried to hire a Mexican drug lord for the high level hit. Attorney General Holder announced that the United States is “holding the Iranian government accountable.” Holder went on to state the official position of the government, namely that the Iranian government entity behind the plot was the Quds Force.

The current version of Quds Force-as-archvillain was met with challenges from the start. Early on in the Post article, an unnamed White House official offered this qualifier: “There’s a question of how high up did it go.” That makes sense. The QF is not the entire Iranian government. The anonymous spokesman said that the Iranian government has a “responsibility to explain that.”

The broader reaction has been more direct. The Christian Science Monitor ran three articles questioning the link between QF and the alleged plot to kill the Saudi Arabian Ambassador, Adel A. Al-Jubeir. Commenting on the hearing for accused plotter, Manssor Arbab Arbabsiar, the Monitor’s Scott Peterson reported widespread skepticism, “Why the plot doesn’t add up?” He quoted a Rand Corporation researcher who noted that the case doesn’t fit Iran’s normal mode of operation. Peterson went on to report that when Iran’s government murders individuals overseas, they do it with trusted insiders to kill, not rookies who contract with drug dealers. The second Christian Science Monitor story was a report by Roy Gutman of McClatchy News noting the refusal of Saudi Arabia’s government to implicate Iran in the plot.

CNN carried the outline of the charges but hedged by quoting former CIA agent Robert Baer and former National Security Council mainstay Gary Sick, both of whom voiced serious doubts.

The most comprehensive critiques of the allegations by Holder and Mueller came from Glenn Greenwald and Cenk Uygur. On the Young Turks, Uygur openly mocked the claimed plot. Glenn Grunwald delivered a scathing critique of the facts, logic, and motivation of the alleged plot.

When President Bush held the Quds Force responsible for killing U.S. soldiers in 2007, the stakes were higher since the charge was close to, if not an actual act of war. The response at that time was forceful but not well covered in the news, even though it came from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, and longtime foreign policy actor and scholar, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Quds Force I, February 2007 – Revving Up to Go After Iran

This is the second time that the Quds Force has been accused of attacking the United States. In 2007, when President George W. Bush was making his case for going after Iran, he and the neoconservatives claimed that the group provided weapons to Iraqis who, in turn, were using those weapons to kill U.S. soldiers. The following sequence of events demonstrates how elements of the power structure at the time undercut Bush.

February 9, 2007: Seville, Spain. Gates surfaces the Iranian connection to Iraqi weapons with tentative statement: “‘I think there’s some serial numbers, there may be some markings on some of the projectile fragments that we found’ that point to Iran, he said.’ (Washington Post)

February 11: “Senior military officials” in Baghdad give an anonymous press briefing with evidence of Iranian weapons used to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The Quds Force is named as the supplier. (Washington Post)

February 12: Canberra, Australia. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, denies that there is a demonstrated link between weapons found in Iraq and the Iranian government. “We know that the explosively formed projectiles are manufactured in Iran. What I would not say is that the Iranian government, per se [specifically], knows about this.” (Voice of America)

February 13: Jakarta, Indonesia. General Pace reiterates that the military briefers, under his command, are over reaching: “That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this.” (Like the skeptical anonymous Obama White House source on QFII, Pace said Iran had to explain how its weapons got to Iraq.) (Associated Press)

February 14: Washington, DC. President Bush claims that Iranian weapons found in Iraq are from the QF and, as such, from the Iranian government. “What we do know is that the Quds force was instrumental in providing these deadly IEDs to networks inside of Iraq. We know that. And we also know that the Quds Force is a part of the Iranian government. That’s a known.” (CNN)

February 14: Honolulu, Hawaii. General Pace states for a third time that there is no proven link between the weapons found in Iraq and the Iranian government. He repeats the statement quoted above from February 13, exactly. (Voice of America)

February 15: Washington, DC. President Bush holds a press conference and backs off on the link between the weapons found in Iraq and the Iranian government: “Whether (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad ordered the Qods Force to do this, I don’t think we know.” (ABC) Had Bush asserted the claim as fact, he would have had a rationale for a military response to Iran and a likely war. He would have been obliged to fire General Pace as well, since his head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had directly contradicted Bush as commander in chief. The first QF storyline failed. It was not forgotten.

Most remarkably, before the intensity of the claims and counter claims from February 11 through the 16th, long time actor and insider, Zbigniew Brzezinski testified before Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said:

February 1, 2007: “If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large. A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a “defensive” U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan…” (Zbigniew Brzezinski, Senate Foreign Relations Committee)

Brzezinski predicted a terrorist act committed by some entity that would be “blamed on Iran.” If he had some intelligence that Iran had plans to do this or a strong belief based on evidence, he wouldn’t have used the phrase, “blamed on Iran.” He would have simply said, ‘Iran will commit an act of terror.’ This is an extremely strong statement. Brzezinski is a pillar of the foreign policy community. He was a founding member of the Trilateral Commission. Is he saying that some in the Bush administration were going to create a false flag event with Iran as the target and patsy? What did he know?

In fact, this statement aligns with one of the core arguments of the 9/11 Truth movement. Their literature is replete with references to the Project for a New American Century statement that the timeline for a “revolutionary change” in U.S. foreign policy “is likely to be a long one absent some catastrophic and crystalizing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” 9/11 is viewed as the rationale that provided the excuse to begin the “revolutionary change” by invading Iraq.

Brzezinski’s message was clear. A major path to justify attacking Iran involved a fabricated act of terror, a false flag, as an excuse for military aggression.

Back to the Future

Here we are again with the same storyline used in 2007, revived to justify a violent response to Iran for acts they likely didn’t commit. Is this a reprise of the tactic that Brzezinski warned us about in his Senate testimony in February 2007?

Shame on the Iranian government, if it tried to hire a Mexican drug lord to kill the Saudi Ambassador (or anyone else).

If the alleged conspiracy lacks any real credibility and coherence as reported in the public media, the implications are chilling. The nation’s top two law enforcement officials have either dropped the ball in a way that complicates an already hostile relationship with Iran or they’re pushing a fictional conspiracy theory that represents a real danger to every citizen; a harbinger for another endless war that we shouldn’t fight, one that we can’t even begin to afford.

It is time to review what Dr. Brzezinski said about the uses of terror, misdirection and blame to create a pretext for war.

END

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Michael Collins

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  • …this silliness, this deadly silliness.
    It would seem we entered endless war starting on 9/11.
    And even the people are loath to wrest back, what used to be, “their government”.


    Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them,and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,or with both~FDouglas

  • …is that the average reader would be left with the impression that the Iranians weren’t running EFP nets into Iraq as a matter of policy. They were. Issue is whose policy within the government it was. Coarse grained constructions like the “Iranian government” have little meaning here. If one is truly interested in the issue, one should look to IRGC decision making.

    More significantly, this was an issue that ran for years – not something that sparked up in early 2007 and then went away. It subsided greatly when the Iranians found out what it was like to be on the receiving end of a full court press from the boys at Balad and the “special groups” were significantly attrited. Additionally, I know that contingency planning was undertaken to hit IRGC targets within Iran – I rather suspect that the Iranians were let in on this told to “knock it off”.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=105486

    U.S. Officials Peddle False Intel to Support Terror Plot Claims
    Analysis by Gareth Porter*

    WASHINGTON, Oct 17, 2011 (IPS) – Officials of the Barack Obama
    administration have aggressively leaked information supposedly based
    on classified intelligence in recent days to bolster its allegation
    that two higher- ranking officials from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard
    Corps (IRGC) were involved in a plot to assassinate Saudi Ambassador
    Adel al-Jubeir in Washington, D.C.

    The media stories generated by the leaks helped divert press attention
    from the fact that there is no verifiable evidence of any official
    Iranian involvement in the alleged assassination plan, contrary to the
    broad claim being made by the administration.

    But the information about the two Iranian officials leaked to NBC
    News, the Washington Post and Reuters was unambiguously false and
    misleading, as confirmed by official documents in one case and a
    former senior intelligence and counterterrorism official in the other.

    The main target of the official leaks was Abdul Reza Shahlai, who was
    identified publicly by the Obama administration as a “deputy commander
    in the Quds Force” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Shahlai
    had long been regarded by U.S. officials as a key figure in the Quds
    Force’s relationship to Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in Iraq.

    The primary objective of the FBI sting operation involving Iranian-
    American Manssor Arbabsiar and a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
    informant that was started last June now appears to have been to use
    Arbabsiar to implicate Shahlai in a terror plot.

    U.S. officials had learned from the DEA informant that Arbabsiar
    claimed that Shahlai was his cousin.

    In September 2008, the Treasury Department designated Shahlai as an
    individual “providing financial, material and technical support for
    acts of violence that threaten the peace and stability of Iraq” and
    thus subject to specific financial sanctions. The announcement said
    Shahlai had provided “material support” to the Mahdi Army in 2006 and
    that he had “planned the Jan. 20, 2007 attack” by Mahdi Army “Special
    Groups” on U.S. troops at the Provincial Coordination Center in
    Karbala, Iraq.

    Arbabsiar’s confession claims that Shahlai approached him in early
    spring 2011 and asked him to find “someone in the narcotics business”
    to kidnap the Saudi ambassador to the United States, according to the
    FBI account. Arbabsiar implicates Shahlai in providing him with
    thousands of dollars for his expenses.

    But Arbabsiar’s charge against Shahlai was self-interested. Arbabsiar
    had become the cornerstone of the administration’s case against
    Shahlai in order to obtain leniency on charges against him.

    There is no indication in the FBI account of the investigation that
    there is any independent evidence to support Arbabsiar’s claim of
    Shahlai’s involvement in a plan to kill the ambassador.

    The Obama administration planted stories suggesting that Shahlai had a
    terrorist past, and that it was therefore credible that he could be
    part of an assassination plot.

    Laying the foundation for press stories on the theme, the Treasury
    Department announced Tuesday that it was sanctioning Shahlai, along
    with Arbabsiar and three other Quds Force officials, including the
    head of the organisation, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, for being
    “connected to” the assassination plot.

    But Michael Issikof of NBC News reported the same day that Shahlai
    “had previously been accused of plotting a highly sophisticated attack
    that killed five U.S. soldiers in Iraq, according to U.S. government
    officials and documents made public Tuesday afternoon”.

    more

  • ENDLESS Can you imagine if they had ‘got their war on’? We’d be done as a nation, given the cost on top of the $5 trillion for Iraq and the hatred generated in the Middle East and South Asia. Yikes. We depend on the kindness of strangers.
    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • I tried to maintain a tight focus on the analogy between the 2007 events, February, and what we’re hearing today. The background is important and there was no propping up the Iranian leadership and government, which I find repellant (particularly in view of the stolen election and the beatings and other harassment of demonstrators).

    What I find amazing is Brzezinski’s statement, just stunning, and, equally remarkable, Pace’s consistent, almost to the word, dismissal of the Bush claims. i saw the Bush press conference and heard the commentator say, ‘If Bush maintains his position, he has to fire Pace,’ which was correct. Had Pace not done the right thing it is impossible to calculate the damage.

    I find it interesting, if not odd, that there isn’t a book on this or some major article that, in some depth, lays out the real importance of February 2007.

    As for today’s iteration, the corporate media is doing a half way decent job as are others. In fact, the anonymous source in the White House sounds a lot like Pace back in 2007. The damning charges were introduced with a trap door. Hidden history.
    ————-
    The Money Party RSS

    They can’t process me. I’m not normal. Charlie Sheen

  • …that are germane here. Among them (working from memory here) would be Mark Urban’s Task Force Black, O’Hern’s The Intelligence Wars and Finkel’s The Good Soldiers. The major challenge that you are going to find is that they don’t map well onto your focus on February 2007, in large part because that focus is an artifact of where you are sitting. It’s fundamentally something created by the blogosphere, not an accurate reflection of events on the ground.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

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