In a 21-page indictment filed in New York federal court, two Iranian agents are charged with conspiring to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in the United States. U.S. Department of Justice officials say the suspects tried to hire a member of a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the assassination with a bomb attack while al-Jubeir dined at his favorite restaurant in Washington, D.C. The hit man was actually an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. We speak with Toby Jones, author of "Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia." "We know that the United States has pursued an uneven policy in the Middle East with respect to the Arab Spring, where it has championed the cause of democracy, or at least the overthrow of autocracy in places like Libya," Jones says. "It has been much less clear or certain in its position when it comes to Bahrain or Saudi Arabia. And in many ways, Iran is a central part of American uncertainty in the Persian Gulf. The United States agrees with Saudi Arabia that it doesn’t want to see Iranian power expanded there. So, revealing the indictment or sort of having the indictment go forward, unsealing the case at this particular moment provides the Americans with a great deal of political cover in continuing to pursue a political line and a policy vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in the Gulf that continues to put Iran at the center of the story." [includes rush transcript]moreless
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