Straws in the Wind: Assassination Plot in DC and Prisoner Exchange in Middle East

A Round Table Discussion with Jonathan Schanzer and Kenneth Timmerman
by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates
(October 2011)


prisoner exchange deal involving Hamas and Israel came amidst current efforts by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas seeking to obtain a majority of the 15 UN Security Council votes to obtain UN membership and statehood based on a Unilateral Declaration filed on September 22nd at the fall Session of the General Assembly in Manhattan. The US has announced its intent to veto such a vote for Palestinian Statehood when the UN Security Council takes up the application. Added to that were the enfolding news reports from Egypt about the bloody pogrom against Coptic Christians the prior weekend that resulted in more than 35 killed and 300 injured, many run over by Army tanks and armed personnel carriers.

indictment of a 56-year old naturalized US citizen American Iranian, Manssor Arbabsiar. He is a Corpus Christi, Texas used car salesman. Also indicted was Gholam Shakuri, a case officer in Iran’s Qods (Jerusalem) Force, special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Arbabsair, who upon arrest confessed to the plot, cited a cousin, Abdul Reza Shahlai who he alleged was a high ranking officer in the Qods Force and superior of Shakuri. The federal indictment accused Abbasiar and Gholem of conspiring to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Jubeir with C-4 explosives to be detonated at a Washington, DC restaurant. The plot involved a meeting with a representative of a Mexican drug cartel facilitated by a DEA informant. It included transfer from abroad of more than $100,000, a purported down payment of a total fee of $1.5 million for carrying out the bombing attempt. The picture of Abbabsair that emerges from public records in Texas doesn’t make him out as someone the IRGC would trust for an operation of this type. Arbabsiar had a felony conviction for possession of a drug, had failed at a number of businesses and was notoriously forgetful according to friends and business partners. One former business partner of Arbabsiar’s remarked: “If they’re looking for 007, they got Mr. Bean.”

Reuters article about the plot said:

Kenneth Timmerman, however, is convinced the case is genuine:

Daily Caller piece, if only yet had picked the right Mexican we might never have known of their involvement.

1330AMWEBY of Pensacola, Florida, Senior Editor Jerry Gordon of the New English Review, Jonathan Schanzer, Vice President for Research at the Washington-DC based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Kenneth Timmerman author, columnist of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran held a radio round table discussion.

 Jerry Gordon:  Glad to be back.

Jonathan Schanzer:  Thank you very much.

Kenneth Timmerman:  Thanks for having me on.

Listen to the original broadcast here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.


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