Saudi claims of “busting a spy ring” involving Iranian and Lebanese nationals this week smell of yet more dirty tricks by the creaky House of Saud.
But the repeated formula for attempting to smear Iran used by the Saudis and their Western and Israeli partners is in danger of becoming a parody.
Saudi authorities detained 18 individuals across the kingdom this week, who, it is claimed, were working for a “foreign state” in a plot to target vital installations.
“Sixteen Saudis, an Iranian and a Lebanese were arrested in coordinated and simultaneous operations in four regions of the kingdom,” including the capital Riyadh and the holy city of Mecca, the Saudi interior ministry said in a statement.
Wow. Do you feel the bombast in those words “coordinated and simultaneous operations”?
The suspects “gathered information on vital installations which they provided to the country” they had been working for, added the Saudi intelligence experts.
Iran was not mentioned specifically, but the inclusion of an as-yet unnamed Iranian national is something of a finger of accusation that tries to be subtle, but is in fact a clumsy attempt to fabricate. The Lebanon connection can also be seen as a Saudi bid to implicate Hezbollah. That combination is a gauche effort to appear neat, from the Saudi point of view, to resonate with the hoary Western stereotype of Iran and its alleged sponsorship of international terrorism.
The purported busting of an alleged Iranian-led spy ring in Saudi Arabia makes for good headlines in the supine Western media. But between the headlines is the unmistakable stench of another dirty tricks operation, aimed at smearing Iran and covering up the reality of Saudi repression and state-sponsored terrorism across the Middle East.
Scarcely mentioned in the Western media coverage is that the arrests also involved Saudi nationals from among its Shia population in the country’s Eastern Province. This hard-pressed minority within Saudi Arabia has been holding peaceful protests for political freedoms for the best part of two years, closely aligned with their confessional brothers and sisters in nearby Bahrain. In both Bahrain and Saudi’s oil-rich Eastern Province, the House of Saud has sent its shock troops in to try to crush the movement for democracy with brutal, unremitting repression.
Since Saudi forces entered Bahrain in March 2011, up to 100 unarmed civilians have been killed and thousands more mutilated or imprisoned for daring to demand the right to democratic government. Likewise in Saudi Arabia, hundreds have been arrested and thrown into unknown dungeons by the same system of monarchial tyranny that the Western governments have backed to the hilt.
What better way to distract from this reality of crushing democracy than to cook up a tall story about a foreign spy ring – and an Iranian spy ring at that.
That relocates the problem from one of long-overdue political rights among the population of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to one of foreign subversion. Irony upon irony, it also diverts from the fact that Saudi Arabia has over the same period been backing terrorists in Syria causing murder and mayhem for the criminal Western objective of regime change.
The latest claims by the Saudi authorities bear the usual hallmarks of a psyops smear. Details are all-too vacant and the allegations rely on innuendo and sensationalism. Observers familiar with Bahrain will recognize the tired old pattern of “foreign subversion”. Arrests, accusations, momentary headlines, bombastic claims of probes to “reveal the foreign plotters”… followed, always, by scant substance of anything. Political theatrics that have become ridiculous parody.
Recall the “sensational plot” that the Saudis and the Americans made media song and dance of when they accused Iran of trying to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington at the end of 2011.
Whatever happened to the follow-up substance to that risible ruse? Or the two hapless Iranians who allegedly were planning an all-out bombing blitz on Israeli properties in Kenya in May 2012?
Then there were similar claims by Israeli intelligence of Iranian international terror plots in Georgia, Thailand, India, Azerbaijan and Bulgaria, also last year.
Despite copious coverage in the Western media of these threadbare tales, none of these “sensational plots” have amounted to follow-up prosecutions, let alone proof of official Iranian involvement.
All these fabricated accounts are evidently nothing more than tall stories with no legs; fables involving dogs that don’t bark and the fishiest of tales.
The only tangible pattern that is evident is the collusion of Saudi spooks with Western and Israeli black ops, aided and abetted by Western so-called news media.
The latest Iranian spy ring story in Saudi is yet another black episode.
But the sorcerers behind these tall stories have used this formula way beyond its sell-by date for anyone to give it the slightest credibility.