“It has the ring of a far-fetched Hollywood thriller and even the senior law enforcement official involved in the investigation admitted to journalists that the alleged plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the US did not fit with what was known about the methods and practices of the supposed perpetrators, the Quds force of the Revolutionary Guards,” Julian Borger writes in the Guardian. Of the eight “unanswered questions” Borger raises about the affair, the final one is arguably the most pertinent:
Could the alleged plot be provocation by an outside agency seeking to start a conflict between Iran and its enemies? In that case, Arbabsiar is consciously misleading his interrogators or is being used by his cousin and his associates, who are working for this third party.
When it comes to outside agencies provoking conflicts, few in the mainstream media know the most likely culprits better than Borger. In a July 2003 special investigation entitled “The spies who pushed for war,” the Guardian’s diplomatic editor exposed the Israeli source of the false intelligence coming out of Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon that bypassed the CIA and DIA to concoct a justification for toppling Saddam Hussein by force:
The OSP was an open and largely unfiltered conduit to the White House not only for the Iraqi opposition. It also forged close ties to a parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation inside Ariel Sharon’s office in Israel specifically to bypass Mossad and provide the Bush administration with more alarmist reports on Saddam’s Iraq than Mossad was prepared to authorise.
“None of the Israelis who came were cleared into the Pentagon through normal channels,” said one source familiar with the visits. Instead, they were waved in on Mr Feith’s authority without having to fill in the usual forms.
The exchange of information continued a long-standing relationship Mr Feith and other Washington neo-conservatives had with Israel’s Likud party.
In 1996, he and Richard Perle – now an influential Pentagon figure – served as advisers to the then Likud leader, Binyamin Netanyahu. In a policy paper they wrote, entitled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, the two advisers said that Saddam would have to be destroyed, and Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran would have to be overthrown or destabilised, for Israel to be truly safe.