krauthammer 58 USE THIS.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
“They [the United States and Israel] have decided to attack at least two
countries in the region in the next three months.”
– Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, July 26.
President Ahmadinejad has a penchant for
the somewhat loony, as when last weekend he denounced Paul the Octopus,
omniscient predictor of eight consecutive World Cup matches, as a symbol of
decadence and purveyor of “Western propaganda and superstition.”
all his clownishness, Ahmadinejad is nonetheless calculating and dangerous. What
“two countries” was he talking about? They seem logically to be Lebanon and
Syria. Hizbullah in Lebanon has armed itself with 50,000 rockets and made clear
that it is in a position to start a war at any time. Fighting on this scale
would immediately bring in Syria, which would in turn invite Iranian
intervention in defense of its major Arab clients – and of the first Persian
beachhead on the Mediterranean in 1,400 years.
The idea that Israel, let
alone the US, has the slightest interest in starting a war on Israel’s
But claims about imminent attacks are serious business in that
region. In May 1967, the Soviet Union falsely told its client, Egypt,
Israel was preparing to attack Syria. These rumors set off a train of
the mobilization of Arab armies, the southern blockade of Israel, the
signing of an inter-Arab military pact – that led to the Six-Day
Ahmadinejad’s claim is not supported by a shred of evidence. So what
is he up to? It is a sign that he is under serious pressure. Passage of
sanctions was followed by unilateral sanctions by the United States,
Australia and the European Union.
Already, reports Reuters, Iran is
experiencing a sharp drop in gasoline imports as Lloyd’s of London
insure the ships delivering them.
Second, the Arab states are no longer
just whispering their desire for the US to militarily take out Iranian
facilities. The United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Washington said so
a conference three weeks ago.
SHORTLY BEFORE the 1991 Gulf War, Pat
Buchanan charged that “the only two groups” that wanted the US to
liberate Kuwait were “the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner
United States.” That was a stupid charge, contradicted by the fact that
H.W. Bush went to war leading more than 30 nations, including the
coalition of Arab states ever assembled.
Twenty years later, the libel
returns in the form of the scurrilous suggestion that the only ones who
US to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities are Israel and its American
The UAE ambassador is, as far as ascertainable, neither Israeli,
Jewish. His publicly expressed desire for an attack on Iran’s nuclear
speaks for the intense Arab fear approaching panic, of Iran’s nuclear
and the urgent hope that the US will take it out.
Third, and perhaps even
more troubling from Teheran’s point of view, are developments in the US
NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden suggested last Sunday that over
time, in his
view, a military strike is looking increasingly favorable compared to
alternatives. Hayden is no Obama insider, but Time reports (“An Attack
Back on the Table,” July 15) that high administration officials are once
considering the military option. This may reflect a new sense of urgency
merely be a bluff to make Teheran more pliable. But in either case, it
that after 18 months of failed engagement, the administration is
The hardening is already having its effect. The Iranian regime is
beginning to realize that even President Obama’s patience is limited –
Iran may actually face a reckoning for its nuclear defiance.
pressure would be enough to rattle a regime already unsteady and shorn
Hence Ahmadinejad’s otherwise inscrutable warning
about an Israeli attack on two countries. (Said Defense Minister Ehud
Fox News: “Who is the second one?”) It is a pointed reminder to the
Iran’s capacity to trigger, through Hizbullah and Syria, a regional
This is the kind of brinksmanship you get when leaders of
a rogue regime are under growing pressure. The only hope to get them to
course is to relentlessly increase their feeling that, if they don’t,
states, Israel, the Europeans and America will, one way or another,
ruin is visited upon them.