Drug routes are opportunities for terror.
Like Claude Rains in Casablanca, official Washington and its quasi-official media resonators were shocked, shocked, that Iran tried to hire the Mexican drug cartels for a hit on the Saudi ambassador to the United States, reportedly offering $1.5 million and even wiring a down-payment of $100,000.
Attorney General Eric Holder, facing subpoenas and nasty questions from Congress over his department’s dubious program of selling firearms to those same cartels, quickly credited the FBI with detecting the Iranian plot. But unnamed law enforcement officials told the Los Angeles Times that the news took them by surprise:
“Initially, our reaction was, ‘This doesn’t make sense. Prove to me this is really possible’” . . . [The Iranian military’s own] Quds Force, he added, was viewed as “the A Team,” and “the tradecraft here seemed inconsistent with the high standards that we have seen previously.”
In a series of statements, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pronounced herself equally baffled while vowing — as usual — to hold Iran fully accountable.
But the truly shocking thing is that anyone was surprised, much less shocked. These are dots that could have been connected by anyone not blinded by inattention, agency agendas, or a worldview reflecting preferences rather than facts. The basics:
1. Whether Iran’s intentions resulted from central planners or rogue elements is irrelevant. Assassinating diplomats in any country is an act of war against the host country as well as the diplomats’ home country.
2. Iran’s actions here are consistent not only with its sorry record of contravening human rights and international law, but also with its well-documented use of covert forces. The regime has constantly used such methods to extend its influence and to strike directly at lesser rivals as well as the greater Satans.
3. The Mexican drug cartels are the only group that may be more professional and lethal than the Quds Force. The cartels preside over a logistical empire extending from just south of my San Antonio home to nationwide outlets as close as your neighborhood 7-11. If you seek to do serious harm to the United States, they’re an excellent choice thanks to the scope and reach of their networks, just as Hertz and Avis make a good choice for car rentals.
In the media’s sensational coverage of this story, you may have noticed a strange connection with Texas. The expatriate Iranian national at the center of plot has ties from Corpus Christi to the Austin suburbs, where large Iranian-immigrant populations now enjoy lifestyles unimaginable under the ayatollahs. But demographic changes affect lots of other things and, several years ago, I noticed some interesting connections.