Imagine suicide bombers exploding themselves at US and Israeli embassies around the world, the American forces in Iraq being bombarded, and oil prices skyrocketing to $85 a barrel. That is what analysts say is likely to happen if the US, or anyone else, attacks Iran.
"The region is the frontlines," said Reuven Merhav, a former director general of the Foreign Ministry. "If the US attacked Iran, the most likely thing the Iranians would do is attack US interests in the region. It's the natural and easiest place to operate. They can attack the US in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"Through its proxies in Iraq, Iran will increase devastation on US forces and against UK forces if they join the attack on Iran," said Merhav. "Anywhere the US has a presence, civilian or military, they would all be targets," Merhav predicted adding "I'm sure the Americans are taking this into account."
Cargo ships and oil tankers in the Persian Gulf will also become Iranian targets, an act which would affect the whole world. "The prices of oil will skyrocket because it will be difficult to move oil through the Persian Gulf and the price will rise in other places," said Merhav.
According to Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-Israeli analyst who owns a Middle East consulting company called MEEPAS, targets will not be limited to the region, "American interests in Europe could also be in the crosshairs of an Iranian attack." he said.
Some 25 percent of the world's oil passes through the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, said Javedanfar. "If Iran sinks as much as one ship in the strait it would take five days to clear it, assuming Iran does not continue firing on ships," he said. "That means the price of oil hitting at least $85 a barrel."
The Sunday Times
(London) reported that 40,000 suicide bombers were waiting for orders. Javedanfar doubted the number, but not the desire. "Iran of 2006 is not Iran of 1980 when the Iraqi invasion happened," he said. "Iranian people are not as extreme." Nevertheless, he said Israeli sites are also likely targets. "It's a very strong possibility that Iran will attack Israel even if it doesn't get involved," he said. "Moreover, Khaled Mashaal has openly pledged that if Iran were attacked, Hamas would attack Israel."