US Strategic Competition with Iran: The Assassination Plot
October 13, 2011
US competition with Iran has long been the equivalent of a game of three-dimensional chess, but game where each side can modify at least some of the rules with each move. Iran may now have radically changed the rules if Iran’s senior leadership can be tied to the involvement of members of the Al-Quds Force in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US.
While details of the plot are still emerging, such a plot is unusual in in its audacity, and in the level of risk inherent in such an attack. It simultaneously targets both the US and Saudi Arabia in ways that openly make them enemies if Iran’s leaders prove to be involved. It will produce major new concerns in Europe and warn most of the Arab world that Iran is seeking to expand its power and influence in ways that make it a threat.
Yet, regardless of the extent to which Iran’s leaders are involved in this assassination plot, it is only one more event in in a game that now has been going on between the US and Iran, and Iran and many of its neighbors, for some three decades. It is a game that now seems likely to escalate to Iranian possession of nuclear weapons -- unless there is a major change in regime, or the US or Israel exercises its military option. It is also increasingly clear that it is unlikely to be ended by efforts at better dialog and mutual understanding.
The Burke Chair at CSIS is preparing a detailed analysis of the history and character of this competition as part of a project supported by the Smith Richardson Foundation. This has led to the preparation of nine draft reports, and a series of additional new reports that will be released in the next month. These reports provide background and context to the recent assassination plot, and analysis how the US and Iranian competition interacts with the threat Iran poses to Saudi Arabia and to other regional states, as well as Iran’s growing efforts outside its region.
Reports publishes to date include:
The Sanctions Game: Energy, Arms Control, and Regime Change:
Competition in Iraq:
Competition in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and Pakistan:
Competition in EU, EU3, and non-EU European States:
Competition Involving Turkey and the South Caucasus:
Competition Involving China and Russia:
Energy, Economics, Sanctions, and the Nuclear Issues:
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States:
Reports in development include:
US and Iranian Military Competition
Competition in the Southern Gulf, Arabia, and Yemen
Competition in the Levant, Jordan, and Egypt
Competition in Latin America and Other Areas
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