51st: U.S. Iran policy in the hands of Likud--or maybe Peter Sellers? MORE plus bipartisan sabre rattling

The arrest by the FBI of an Iranian-American used car dealer, Mansour J. Arbabsiar, for plotting to kill the Saudi Ambassador and blow up the Israeli embassy in Washington, while also setting up a deal between Mexican drug dealers and an officer in Iran's Quds force, begins to sound like a plot for a Pink Panther movie. And perhaps it is, what with the plot provided by the FBI and fed to Arabsiar by a drug-dealer FBI informant. The improbability of the whole thing isn't stopping the Amen Corner in our Congress calling for punitive actions against Iran, including booting out their ambassador.Juan Cole has the movie plot here.The New York Times on Thursday reports on the 51st's Congressional Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fl-R), and chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, rallying the troops.Eric Holder, Attorney General, made a big splash with his announcement the other day. Was he hoodwinked by the FBI? Does he actually read the indictments? Is this a trade for Israel not bombing Iran (with the Bunker Busters we gave them)--at least not in October!Who needs the theater of the absurd, when our public servant produce such scenarios?MORE: Just for those who think I am over the top, Pat Lang has this: "The overwhelming likelihood is that this is someone's "information operation" intended to condition public attitudes for some purpose. The over riding question is that of where the ovens are located in which this confection was baked and who the bakers might be.'Was it the Iranians as a subtle threat of serious action?'Was it the Israelis?Was it the NSC? (the Obama Administration)"Was it the FBI?"Was it the CIA?"As a former official in the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lang offers his own scenario for organizing such an operation.AND THIS: Accusations of anti-Semitism about post or comments get deleted.More saber rattling: Senator Diane Feinstein (CA-D), "The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says thethwarted Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States shows the "collision course" that awaits unless Iran changes directions." All that from the arrest of a used car salesman!William Kristol: "Lest the administration hesitate to act out of fear of lack of support at home, Congress should consider authorizing the use of force against Iranian entities that facilitate attacks on our troops, against IRGC and other regime elements that sponsor terror, and against the regimes nuclear weapons program."

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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