Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Attack and response

A new Asia Times article claims that "Bush 'plans Iran air strike by August'".

The article is sourced to:
a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously
who also says that:
Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.
The attack will possibly be on Iran's Revolutionary Guard bases near the border with Iraq, where they are supposedly training and equipping Iraqi 'Special Groups'.

If Feckless Leader is so feckless as to conduct such an attack, and I fear that he is, the next question is, "What would be the Iranian response?".

I see four basic scenarios:
  1. Do nothing except protest and go to the UN.
  2. Respond through black ops.
  3. Stage a limited counterattack, perhaps some missiles on US bases in Iraq, or in another country on the Gulf.
  4. Massively counterattack.
Option 1 would be an invitation for another attack. Negotiation and diplomacy are other words for weakness in the administration's vocabulary. The Iranians must know this.

Option 2 is pretty much like option 1, except that it is more likely to bring on another attack, and sooner.

Option 3 would put things on a quid pro quo basis, theoretically, and the US and Iran could spend some time and energy bombing each other while, hopefully, trying to deescalate. Of course it could lead to a massive counterattack by the US.

Option 4 would mean war, with no going back. But since the other options seem to lead to it anyway, why wait? Naturally, this has got to be well understood by the US, so what benefit is there to a limited attack?

Let's hope the 'retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state' is full of shit.

UPDATE: Cernig at Newshoggers says that the unnamed official is Richard L. Armitage. That does up the 'full of shit' possibility.


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