Following the widely reported Iranian government plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington and alarming new reports of civilian deaths in Syria, the White House has issued several findings to the intelligence community authorizing stepped-up covert action against both Damascus and Tehran. A “finding” is top-level approval for secret operations considered to be particularly politically sensitive. Taken together, the recent findings, combined with the evidence of major intelligence operations being run in Lebanon, amount to a secret war against Iran and its allies in the Mideast.
Since 2008 the United States has regarded the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. This enables the Department of the Treasury to freeze its business interests and bank accounts. But it has also permitted aggressive steps against the group itself, including killing its members under the White House doctrine that all terrorists are potential targets anywhere in the world. A finding approved by the Bush administration in 2003 and strengthened in 2006 on the pretext that Iran was “interfering” in Iraq and Afghanistan authorized the use of intelligence assets to disrupt Iranian Revolutionary Guard activity in border zones. These included areas adjacent to Pakistan inhabited by ethnic Baluchs, the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, and the ethnically Arab province of Khuzestan, which borders southeastern Iraq.