Thursday, June 11, 2009

"What If Israel Strikes Iran?"

John Bolton addresses the possible options that Iran has in response to an Israeli strike against their nuclear facilities. Here is a brief summary of the options:
1) Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz. Often cited as Tehran's knee-jerk answer -- along with projections of astronomic oil-price spikes because of the disruption of supplies from Persian Gulf producers -- this option is neither feasible nor advisable for Iran...

2) Iran cuts its o wn oil exports to raise world prices. An Iranian embargo of its own oil exports would complete the ruin of Iran's domestic economy by depriving the country of hard currency...

3) Iran attacks U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some Tehran hard-liners might advocate this approach, or even attacks on U.S. bases or Arab targets in the Gulf -- but doing so would risk direct U.S. retaliation against Iran, as many U.S. commanders in Iraq earlier recommended...

4) Iran increases support for global terrorism. This Iranian option, especially stepping up world-wide attacks against U.S. targets, is always open...

5) Iran launches missile attacks on Israel. Because all the foregoing options risk more direct U.S. involvement, Tehran will most likely decide to retaliate against the actual attacker, Israel...

6) Iran unleashes Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel. By process of elimination, but also because of strategic logic, Iran's most likely option is retaliating through Hamas and Hezbollah...
Bolton sums it up:
This brief survey demonstrates why Israel's military option against Iran's nuclear program is so unattractive, but also why failing to act is even worse. All these scenarios become infinitely more dangerous once Iran has deliverable nuclear weapons. So does daily life in Israel, elsewhere in the region and globally.
Read the whole thing.

Unfortunately, the one with the most reason to take the Iranian threat seriously is Israel. Considering the lack of response at the UN to Ahmadinejad's periodic threats against Israel, and the footdragging in response to Iran's march towards nuclear capabilities, there is not much reason to be optimistic.

And Obama is not helping matters.

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