Thursday, April 27, 2006

Iran Supreme Leader Warns Of Reprisals If Attacked

The Iranian leadership is certainly doing their part in keeping to the timetable of the drama we are watching by enabling--with carefully chosen words--circumstances favorable to a precipitating event dramatic enough to keep the audience enthralled at the end of the first act.

Iran's supreme religious leader vowed Wednesday that Iran would retaliate "twofold" if it were attacked by the United States over its refusal to comply with demands regarding its nuclear activities. He made his comments as other senior Iranians traveled to Vienna just days ahead of the deadline for international monitors to report on Iran's nuclear program.

"Iranian people and the Islamic regime will not invade any country, but the Americans should know that if they invade Iran, their interests around the world would be harmed," the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told workers gathered ahead of May Day, the international workers' holiday, the ISNA news agency reported.

"Iran will respond twofold to any attack," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

In escalating rhetoric, a number of Iranian officials have made similar threats in recent days, but the Bush administration has insisted it is pursuing a diplomatic path, even while vaguely holding open the distant option of imposing sanctions or taking military action if diplomacy fails.

For military action being a "distant option", today's Washington Post provides details of a specific nature:

Two main options are under consideration, say people familiar with Air Force thinking. The first would be a quick series of strikes against several dozen nuclear-related facilities, lasting only a few days and followed by a U.S. statement that the bombing would resume if Iran retaliated.

The second option envisions a lengthier, more ambitious campaign of waves of strikes by bombers and cruise missiles aimed at hundreds of targets, hitting not just nuclear-related facilities but also the headquarters of intelligence agencies, the Revolutionary Guard and other key government offices.

Many experts worry that Iran, dominated by Shiite Muslims, would retaliate against U.S. and British forces in neighboring Iraq by mobilizing Iraqi Shiites. It might also attack U.S. and British installations in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain through the help of Shiites in those countries. In other scenarios, Iranian agents would stage terrorist strikes against civilians in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

During Cold War-era war gaming exercises, nations were officially considered to be "rational actors". This made predicting military moves and counter-moves possible.

The "experts" of the type quoted above are making their forecasts of likely Iranian reprisals based on Iran being a "rational actor." And, all evidence of recent Iranian statements aside, they actually fit the description.

It is the United States that, in the face of worldwide condemnation of the Iraq fiasco--by contemplating starting another war in a larger and more populated Muslim country--does not fit the definition of a "rational actor."


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