Belmont Club

Much Ado About Something

Flash: CBS News reports on Twitter that “JUST IN: Terrorists behind the threat closing U.S. embassies Sunday have been selected and are in place, CBS News’ John Miller reports”.

When something seems odd, perhaps it is.  A crime is usually described in terms of three elements: means, motive, and opportunity. “Respectively, they refer to: the ability of the defendant to commit the crime (means), the reason the defendant felt the need to commit the crime (motive), and whether or not the defendant had the chance to commit the crime (opportunity).” Without these elements it doesn’t make much sense.

The most elusive aspect of Benghazi has been motive. Why for example, should the administration be engaged in “changing names” of the Benghazi survivors and “creating aliases” to keep them hidden from congressional investigators and the American people, as Trey Gowdy alleges to Greta van Sustern? Why did the CIA actually denying anyone had  had died that night ? Jake Tapper reported back in May that “internally at the CIA, sources tell CNN there was a big debate after the attacks to acknowledge that the two former Navy SEALs killed – Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty – were CIA employees.”

What were they hiding? Nothing of course. We know that it’s all a “phony scandal”.  Nevertheless, the oddness leaves the field is open to conspiracy theories. Without a widely accepted official version of events (apart from the notion the attack was caused by a Los Angeles video) a number of theories have been advanced. Mark Langfan, writing in Arutz Sheva claims that logically Iran must be the hidden hand behind the attack.

The reason Obama doesn’t want the truth of the Benghazi-to-Syrian Rebels gun-running operation to come out is that all of a sudden the “al Qaeda attacked Benghazi” narrative doesn’t make any sense. For, why on earth would al Qaeda attack a gun-running operation to the Syria rebels when the Syria rebels themselves are al Qaeda? Al Qaeda wouldn’t be attacking their own al Qaeda weapons pipeline.

So, Obama’s real fear is not that he ran guns to al Qaeda, but that if this were know, al Qaeda would be removed as the possible suspect in the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three Americans.

That is the real problem, because if al Qaeda is removed as a possible suspect because it was benefitting from the gun-running, who’s left as a suspect? Who would want an American weapons pipeline to the Syrian rebels shut down? Once al Qaeda is removed from contention, and that question is posed, there is only one answer: the Huzbullah/Iranian axis.

This may be why Obama is doing everything in the universe to shut the Benghazi investigation down. Because the truth of the Benghazi gun-running operation immediately leads to the likely conclusion that Iran, and only Iran, had the motive to attack our Benghazi consulate and murder Ambassador Stevens.

Often cited as circumstantial evidence for Iranian involvement was the meeting between Valerie Jarrett and Iranian negotiators shortly thereafter. The argument is that Benghazi is being hushed up to save the talks to denuclearize Iran.

In the final presidential debate, President Obama dismissed reports about an agreement to hold one-on-one talks with Iranian officials after the election, but now, two weeks later, fresh claims have emerged on the eve of Tuesday’s election, this time tying senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to alleged secret talks with representatives of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Israel’s mass-circulation Yediot Ahronot newspaper cited unidentified Israeli officials as saying the talks had been led by the Iranian-born Jarrett, were held in Bahrain, and had taken place over “several months.”

Mideast expert Barry Rubin, director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Israel, said the “story should be taken very seriously.” He noted that it was reported by the Israeli paper’s defense correspondent, Alex Fishman, “considered to be a reliable reporter with good sources in the Israeli government.”

But conspiracy theories go the other way too. Scott McConnell argues that Israel is trying to smear Iran.  Without the nefarious influence of AIPAC, Teheran bids fair to replace Israel in the affections of the American public. Hence Israel is doing its level best to cast aspersions on Teheran without which relations would doubtless be better.

There is no way the United States would be so near to war, no way even the United States would seem irrevocably hostile to Iran, so lacking real diplomatic contact with the country, without the machinations of the Israel lobby. The Iranian revolution and the hostage crisis were long ago, and there are powerful human and economic incentives, on both sides, to work our way towards some sort of detente.

But an Iran at peace with the U.S. would still be a rival to Israel for influence in the Mideast. Unlike the countries in the Arab world, Iran is a cohesive, fairly effective and fairly modern state, with considerable technical and scientific infrastructure. It considers itself worthy of being treated as a regional power. And Israel doesn’t want that. Period. It prefers, understandably, weak rivals. So Israel works overtime to scare Americans to death about Iran. Credit AIPAC for effectiveness—it has Congress eating out of its hand.

But at any rate, the arms control advocates have high hopes for Hassan Rouhani, the newly elected President of Iran. They write that now is the time to give peace a chance.

Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration today as president of Iran offers an important new opening for the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) to establish satisfactory controls over Iran’s controversial nuclear program. A regime-insider and former nuclear negotiator, Rouhani will likely have influence with Supreme Leader Khamenei that could enable him to cut a deal, if the P5+1 seizes the moment to reinvigorate negotiations.

But for diplomacy to have a chance, the United States needs to do its part not to sabotage this new opportunity before it begins. On the domestic front, Washington needs to do three things to send the right signals to Tehran: 1) set realistic expectations, 2) delay further sanctions, and 3) give the administration time to pursue negotiations.

However, to give a diplomacy a chance it is necessary to avoid antagonizing Iran. Cue Gowdy. Change your names boys. It’s all for the cause. But who knows? The public is being treated like mushrooms in a shed, kept in the dark and nourished with ordure. So even as terrorists silently gather round their intended targets with catlike tread the public tries to make make out the figures on stage, as if watching a Shadow Play.

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