CBS NEWS: The Obama administration was taking its case against Iran to the world Wednesday, trying to stir up an international response to charges that the Islamic republic plotted to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S. “It’s critically important that we unite the world in the isolation of and dealing with the Iranians,” Vice President Joe Biden said on “The Early Show” Wednesday. […] The State Department sent a cable to all American embassies and consulates around the world telling them to put the Iran case before their host governments. The officials said the cable, sent late Tuesday by Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and classified secret, tells them to detail the evidence against Iran as presented by federal prosecutors. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the classified cable, said the document instructs diplomats to ask nations to consider appropriate steps in response to the alleged scheme. The cable does not suggest any specific measures against Iran, the officials said. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice is to individually brief members of the U.N. Security Council on the foiled plot Wednesday, the officials said. Biden said that U.S. action against Iran could go beyond sanctions, but added that “we’re not going there yet.” MORE
RICHARD CLARKE: Well, if this was, in fact, the Iranian Quds Force or Jerusalem Force, that’s their top special forces organization that reports to the Grand Ayatollah, to the Supreme Leader. That would say to me that the Iranian government at the highest levels, if this is all true, was looking to provoke a confrontation between Saudi Arabia and the United States, on the one hand, and Iran because this would cross a red line that hasn’t been crossed in 30 years. Assassinating a high level foreign official in the United States capitol and probably taking out many, many other people in the bomb that was to go off in a restaurant, ultimately they had to believe that we would find out they were behind it and they had to believe that we would attack them militarily in response. MORE
REUTERS: Kenneth Katzman, an Iran specialist at the Congressional Research Service, said there were elements of the alleged plot that did not make sense. “The idea of using a Texas car salesman who is not really a Quds Force person himself, who has been in residence in the United States many years, that doesn’t add up,” Katzman said. “There could have been some contact on this with the Quds Force, but the idea that this was some sort of directed, vetted, fully thought-through plot, approved at high levels in Tehran leadership I think defies credulity,” he said. MORE
AL JAZEERA: The whole thing smells like a flimsy pretext for a casus belli. The timing of the announcement couldn’t be more suspicious. White House national security advisor Thomas E. Donilon briefed King Abdullah of the plot no less than two weeks ago, in a three-hour meeting in Riyadh. Meanwhile the US government has been carrying not plots, but targeted assassinations of US citizens, as in the Anwar al-Awlaki case. So why now? Holder is caught in yet another scandal – on whether he told lies regarding Operation Fast and Furious (no, you can’t make this stuff up), a federal gun sting through which scores of US weapons ended up in the hands of – here they come again – Mexican drug cartels. So how to bury Fast and Furious, the economic abyss, the 10 years of war in Afghanistan, the increasing allure of Occupy Wall Street – not to mention the Saudi role in smashing the spirit of the Arab Spring? By uncovering a good ol’ al-Qaeda style plot on US soil, on top of it conducted by “evil” Iran. Al-Qaeda and Tehran sharing top billing; not even Cheney and Rumsfeld in their heyday could come up with something like this. Long live GWOT (the global war on terror). And long live the neo-con spirit; remember, real men go to Tehran – and the road starts now. MORE
PHAWKER: We tend to take these ‘yet another spectacular terror plot disrupted’ press conferences with a grain of salt since they almost always turn out to be far less than advertised once the facts actually come out — invariably well after anyone is still paying attention. So this Iran tried to hire the Mexcian drug cartels to blow up the Saudi ambassador in D.C. thing reads like a movie pitch for The Rock and smacks of ulterior motives. In our book, Holder has ZERO integrity after the cruel and shameful medical marijuana double cross, the terrorist tribunal pussyfooting and utter lack of moral courage when it came to closing Gitmo, not to mention his dereliction of duty in not prosecuting the 4th Amendment violations of NSA warrantless spying on Americans after taking an oath to uphold the Constitution. Likewise, we would not be surprised if this turns out to be the new Gulf Of Tonkin Incident when Israeli airstrikes take out Iran’s nukes in the near-to-immediate future. But we are reluctant to swallow conspiracy scenarios with no citation — or as Herman Cain is wont to say ‘I don’t have the facts to back this up, but’ — from Asia Times’ correspondents named Pepe Escobar. Just a little rule of ours.
WIKIPEDIA: Casus belli is a Latin expression meaning the justification for acts of war. Casus means “incident”, “rupture” or indeed “case”, while belli means bellic (“of war”). It is usually distinguished from casus foederis, with casus belli being used to refer to offenses or threats directly against a nation, and casus foederis to refer to offenses or threats to another, allied, nation with which the justifying nation is engaged in a mutual defense treaty, such as NATO.
WIKIPEDIA: The Gulf of Tonkin Incident, or the USS Maddox Incident, are the names given to two incidents, one disputed, involving North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. On August 2, 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox, while performing a DESOTO patrol, was engaged by three North Vietnamese Navy torpedo boats of the 135th Torpedo Squadron. A sea battle resulted, in which the Maddox expended over 280 3 inch and 5 inch shells, and in which four USN F-8 Crusader jet fighter bombers strafed the torpedo boats. One US aircraft was damaged, one 14.5 mm round hit the destroyer, three North Vietnamese torpedo boats were damaged, and four North Vietnamese sailors were killed and six were wounded; there were no U.S. casualties. The second Tonkin Gulf incident was originally claimed by the U.S. National Security Agency to have occurred on August 4, 1964, as another sea battle, but instead may have involved “Tonkin Ghosts” (false radar images) and not actual NVN torpedo boat attacks. The outcome of these two incidents was the passage by Congress of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by “communist aggression”. The resolution served as Johnson’s legal justification for deploying U.S. conventional forces and the commencement of open warfare against North Vietnam. MORE