Iran’s Faulty Toolbox

-

Thumbnail image for Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad_(Brazil_2009).jpgThis is a guest post written by Matthew M. Reed, a research intern with the New America Foundation/American Strategy Program.
Iran’s arsenal is familiar by now. It includes the “oil weapon,” armies, proxies, and ultimately nuclear weapons. Each tool of leverage is seriously flawed but that does not prevent alarmists from overstating their effect. Upon further review, Tehran’s arsenal is generally weak.
Use of the “oil weapon” is unrealistic. According to the US Government Accountability Office, “between 50 and 76 percent of the Iranian government’s revenues in recent years” came from oil exports. Limiting output to punish Western economies with higher prices would thus be suicidal for an oil-dependent regime. Saudi Arabia also makes the threat less viable with their spare production capacity and willingness to stabilize markets during crises. Saudi spare capacity (i.e. the ability to pump extra oil as needed) and Iran’s total daily crude exports now hover around the same mark: 3-4 million barrels per day. If Iran uses the oil weapon, the Saudis will compensate.
Any threat from Iran’s conventional army is also overrated. The Revolutionary Guard Corps and regular army are competent but aging fast. This limits their ability to project power, which is a prerequisite for intimidating neighbors. Provision 8 of UN Resolution 1929 prevents any decisive accumulation of Iranian conventional arms including advanced weapons and spare parts. Perhaps most importantly, Iran’s immediate neighbors – Iraq and Afghanistan – are states which Iran sees no gain in attacking; any substantial Iranian force could also never cross the American-controlled Gulf. Iran’s armed forces can certainly defend their own borders but the military poses no threat to neighbors enjoying American protection.


It is true, however, that Iran’s mastery of asymmetry is problematic. Should conflict arise, Iran could lash out globally with a flourish of small-scale kidnappings, assassinations, and bombings. But these attacks would be disruptive, not decisive. Same goes for Iran’s proxies. Tehran maintains no “on-off” switch for Hamas and Hizballah, and their support is specific to resisting Israel, meaning these groups could not destabilize the entire region. Iran’s most capable proxies are geographically concentrated, so much so that the threat is minimal.
Beyond this, Iran could disperse explosive sea mines in the Persian Gulf and harass commercial shipping as it did in the late 1980s. Such action would cost too much, however. First, mining the Gulf would be suicidal because the regime – as stated above – depends on oil revenues and could not export its only commodity. Second, doing so would cross an international “red line” and result in the conversion of the US Fifth Fleet into an active force off Iran’s shores. Mining vital shipping lanes would be ruinous and invite retaliation.
Finally, nuclear weapons scare many with good reason: Iran’s leadership is less predictable because its decision-making process is opaque. Complicating this is the absence of any direct US-Iranian dialogue. But at the same time, recent developments are encouraging. The $60 billion Saudi arms deal received the most attention last month but other Gulf states are arming anew: Kuwait will receive new Patriot interceptors soon and the United Arab Emirates will enjoy the protection of more advanced anti-ballistic missile systems before Iran weaponizes. These deployments, combined with Israel’s activation of the Iron Dome and David’s Sling anti-missile systems, will cheapen nuclear threats. Cost-benefit considerations matter also: the Islamic Republic will not develop a sizable nuclear arsenal soon, meaning the regime would probably not gamble away the crown jewels if they could be shot down.
Every tool at Iran’s disposal comes with serious limitations: the “oil weapon” is self-defeating; Iran’s conventional military is too modest; any asymmetric attacks would be small-scale or prompt massive retaliation; and nuclear intimidation is evaporating with the deployment of new anti-missile systems. Iran’s leaders might still make rhetorical threats, but their tools are too weak if they wish to convert verbal attacks into physical ones.
— Matthew M. Reed

Comments

57 comments on “Iran’s Faulty Toolbox

  1. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Nadine. Nadine. Please return to base for refueling and additional programming”
    I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate Steve’s last admonitions to us about our posting. I can assure you, he seems quite serious about this and I would hate to see him shut down the comments. I am not basing this opinion just on what he has posted in the comment section. Surely, if an obnoxious contributer like myself can tone it down, so too can the less viral of the posters here. Of course, I strongly suggest to Nadine that she be as venomous as always, but my motives for that suggestion are hardly obscure.
    Seriously, people, I think Steve means it this time.

    Reply

  2. Mossad1 says:

    Nadine. Nadine. Please return to base for refueling and additional programming.

    Reply

  3. nadine says:

    “Israel is the chief cause of the turbulence and insecurity of modern Lebanon. The problems began when 100,000 Palestinian refugees were forced to flee their homes for Lebanon in 1948 in the culmination of the first stage of the Israeli conquest of Palestine. The subsequent Palestinian presence in Lebanon divided the country and provoked the civil war to come. Theses divisions were deeply exacerbated by the 1982 Israeli invasion which brought Hizbollah into existence.” (Dan Kervick)
    Do you really know so little history? The Palestinians refugees (kept to this day in Dickensian UN ghettos) did not much disturb Lebanon, until the PLO took them over after they were kicked out of Jordan during Black September in 1970. Arafat then turned South Lebanon into Fatahland, a state-within-a-state. His mistreatment of both Christians and Shia touched off the Lebanese civil war. I’m sure you remember Sabra and Shatilla in 1982, right? Well, that wasn’t the first Christian/Palestinan massacre — it was well down the list of massacres, with both sides trading off who killed and who was killed.
    As for who brought Hezbullah into existence, that was the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, right from day one. The Revolutionary Guard created Hizbullah, trained them, and funded them. Nasrallah’s allegiance to Tehran is open, as you will see by A’jad’s visit, which Nasrallah will come out of hiding to join. Master and man together at last in what is now Hizbullahland. Iran has supplied Hizbullah hundreds of millions of dollars by now — and no, I’m not exaggerating the number. After the 2006 war, Iran gave Hizbullah enough cash to hand out $10,000 cash to the owner of every bombed house AND replaced Hizbullah’s rocket arsenal and doubled it. In contravention to one of those UN resolutions you like to put stock in.
    I notice it’s a kind of Freudian slip with you that no Arab or Persian can never be the instigator of anything. Only the Israelis can act; the Arabs and Persians merely react.

    Reply

  4. Kathleen says:

    Are folks aware of:
    http://www.raceforiran.com/far-right-attacks-about-meeting-ahmadinejad-and-engaging-iran-hillary-mann-leverett-responds
    FAR-RIGHT ATTACKS ABOUT MEETING AHMADINEJAD AND ENGAGING IRAN: HILLARY MANN LEVERETT RESPONDS
    The meeting last week between Hillary

    Reply

  5. Cee says:

    No wonder Egypt has problems with Israel. Actions like this make Jews have to run for their lives…straight to Israel.
    I mention the the Lavon Affair again.
    Egyptian analyst: Can’t rule out that Mossad was involved in attack
    Published: 04.24.06, 23:49 / Israel News
    Retired General Salah al-Din Salim, an Egyptian researcher at the Strategic Studies Institute in Cairo, said that it could not be ruled out that the Israeli Mossad was involved in the terror attack in Dahab.
    “The Mossad’s ability to penetrate the Bedouins in Sinai is known,” Salim said in an interview with al-Jazeera. (Roee Nahmias)
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3243397,00.html

    Reply

  6. Dan Kervick says:

    “And if policing the gangbangers is your cup of tea, I suggest you turn your eyes towards Lebanon, where there is going to be a mighty big rumble in the very near future. With or without the Jews’ involvement.”
    Israel is the chief cause of the turbulence and insecurity of modern Lebanon. The problems began when 100,000 Palestinian refugees were forced to flee their homes for Lebanon in 1948 in the culmination of the first stage of the Israeli conquest of Palestine. The subsequent Palestinian presence in Lebanon divided the country and provoked the civil war to come. Theses divisions were deeply exacerbated by the 1982 Israeli invasion which brought Hizbollah into existence.
    The world has paid a heavy price for its failure to slap down the Israeli troublemakers when it had a chance.
    The international community should create an anti-Nobel prize for “world’s biggest nitwit”, and name the prize in honor of Lord Balfour.

    Reply

  7. Dan Kervick says:

    “The irony is that you belong to same crowd that runs around deploring US imperialism and crying that the US is not the policeman of the world.”
    I don’t want the US to police the world. I want the world to police the world. As you know, I have long supported the construction of a more globalized international security system to replace the antiquated and increasingly ineffective US-based system, a system which is proving to be especially harmful to Americans themselves. In the particular case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I have argued that the rest of the world needs to move to dislodge the US from its self-appointed czarship over Middle East affairs, a uniquely American approach to mucking up the Middle East which has now become totally laughable in its pretensions, incompetence and subservience to short-range domestic political considerations.

    Reply

  8. nadine says:

    “If that’s true then it was pretty damn stupid for all of the nice westernized Jews to move there. Anyway, the civilized world shouldn’t tolerate these gang wars. We need to combine our latent and unused police power and bring it to bear on the gangbangers.”
    Perhaps you might be able to recall that mid 20th century Europe had become a tad uninviting for all those nice westernized Jews. And then all those nice Levantine Jews had to run for their lives from the Mahgreb, Iran, Iraq and such places. So they really didn’t have a whole helluva lot of choice.
    And if policing the gangbangers is your cup of tea, I suggest you turn your eyes towards Lebanon, where there is going to be a mighty big rumble in the very near future. With or without the Jews’ involvement.

    Reply

  9. ... says:

    it has been a while, but i note the same stupid inane topics promoted on washington note and the same usual folks commenting on both sides of the topic… one has to wonder why this is even a topic, but alas if some right wing nuts think something must be a topic, then all of washington must bow down before these same bozos and accept it as such…
    it doesn’t change the fact it is a wasted thread written by some guy named reed, or that it is another wasted moment at the washington note…it is yet another re run! happy trails folks…this site has not improved from my pov…how much is somebody getting paid for putting up this stuff, and who is paying?

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Posted by nadine, Oct 07 2010, 9:06PM – Link
    Carroll, if you think Egyptian poverty is caused by a plan to develop and give tax advantages to Egyptian manufacturing, and not by 60 years of authoritarian socialism, then you are a complete economic illiterate. This is your example of horrible US Imperialism? A plan for economic development? The Egyptians rioted because they are bigots who have been trained from their cradle (with full government connivance) to hate Jews. Oh look, you have something in common
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Hummm…I think you are headed back to that danger zone of incivility Steve warned us about nadine.
    For myself I have decided mostly not have lengthy discussions or back and forths with US zionist or the militant Israelis on these threads.
    It’s useless and unproductive. You zionist are you and we Americans are we and never the twain shall meet.
    About all I will do is correct the more ridiculous disinformation with facts or examples or poke a little fun at your hypocrisy occasionally when I just can’t resist.
    So go forth and rant,the floor is all yours.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    Posted by nadine, Oct 07 2010, 8:20PM – Link
    Carroll, everybody knows that the UN is a dictators club that spends 80% of its effort bashing Israel while making sure that no big country’s dirty laundry is ever washed in public. You know it too, but you hate Israel just like they do so you pretend their resolutions have meaning.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    LOL….yes I do dislike and find Israel,at least their governments, and US zionist repugent.
    Hate is too strong a word since I don’t want to go out and slaughter Israelis and zionist or imprison and starve them or deny them equal or human rights, but indeed I do not like them or Israel. For all the obvious reasons…obvious to the non zionist world that is.
    So 80% of the world doesn’t like you, so what?
    No news there. 80% of Israelis and Jews and 100% of the zionist hate Arabs and Gentiles also judging from the things they and their leaders say and write about us both. No news there either.
    Any rate, your and Israel’s unpopularity is your problem.
    The world and the UN can only try to minimize or correct the Israeli/ zionist injustice in I/P before it gets any worse.

    Reply

  12. nadine says:

    Carroll, if you think Egyptian poverty is caused by a plan to develop and give tax advantages to Egyptian manufacturing, and not by 60 years of authoritarian socialism, then you are a complete economic illiterate. This is your example of horrible US Imperialism? A plan for economic development? The Egyptians rioted because they are bigots who have been trained from their cradle (with full government connivance) to hate Jews. Oh look, you have something in common.

    Reply

  13. DonS says:

    Nadine, I lay down my arms. In a pissing contest you are queen. All hail Nadine, the queen of pissing.

    Reply

  14. nadine says:

    DonS, Evan Sayet tells a parable about the loyalty of the Left to America. Let me see if I can remember it:
    He said, every week I used to have lunch with an old friend, and every week my friend would tell me “I hate my wife.” I never believed him. I thought, you’ve been married for 30 years, your daughters are just like your wife and you love them. You don’t really mean it. Then one day we looked out the window of the restaurant, and we saw a woman being mugged — and it was my friend’s wife! I cried, “Come on, we have to help her!” But my friend just shrugged and said, “Nah. I’m sure she deserved it.”
    That’s when I knew that he really did hate his wife.

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    “I will leave it to the astute commenters here to figure out what deep harm we have done to Egypt to merit this hatred. Is it our bases in Egypt? oh wait, there aren’t any.”..nadine.
    Please educate yourself nadine, if ignorance is your real problem in this statements.
    “In December 2004, Egypt signed an agreement 266 with Israel and the US for the establishment in Egypt of seven qualifying industrial zones allowing goods to be exported duty free to the US provided they contain an 11.7% minimum proportion of Israeli input.”
    This bit of US arm twisting for Israel put a large number of Egyptians out of jobs.
    That 11.7% Egypt was “Required” to purchase from Israel or be denied the free trade zones from which to export their goods was primilary buttons and bows so to speak, which companies in Egypt and Egyptian workers has previously produced for the Egyptian cotton clothing.
    There were riots in Egypt over this by the affected workers. Egypt has an even worse income equality problem and the majority of Egyptians live in near poverty. Yet the US improvished them further to benefit Israel.
    So they hate the greedy Jews and the US, who can blame them? I certainly don’t.

    Reply

  16. nadine says:

    “We need to combine our latent and unused police power and bring it to bear on the gangbangers.” (Dan Kervick)
    The irony is that you belong to same crowd that runs around deploring US imperialism and crying that the US is not the policeman of the world.
    Ah, but for one tiny country only you’ll gladly make an exception.

    Reply

  17. DonS says:

    “You are just so prejudiced that you ascribe virtue to any enemy of America, and delicately look the other direction when they kill.” (nadine)
    If I were the type to be creative, as some here are, I would suggest that you apply your erroneous accusation to yourself, that is, if ANYONE epitomizes ascribing virtue to any heinous act of Israel, and have never seen a heinous act ascribed to Israel that you disavowed, it is you.
    Further, I claim undivided loyalty to America,imperfect and flawed and painful as it’s manifestations are. You? Is it Israel, or is it the US that you salute? Nevermind, your representations here make you out for the not even a dual loyalist, but as Zionist drone selling out the US with every breath.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    Carroll, everybody knows that the UN is a dictators club that spends 80% of its effort bashing Israel while making sure that no big country’s dirty laundry is ever washed in public. You know it too, but you hate Israel just like they do so you pretend their resolutions have meaning. In the UN Libya, Cuba and the Sudan are all honored members of the Human Rights Council. No human rights problems to notice there, no, no, not according to the UN.
    Was Cyprus an independent country? Check. Unlike the Jordanian-occupied West Bank.
    Did Turkey invade it? Check. Unlike the West Bank, where Israel repelled a Jordanian invasion.
    Did Turkey ethnically clear it? Check. No Greeks left. Not a one. No so in the West Bank.
    Did Turkey resettle its own population in Cyprus? Check. Except nobody calls them “settlers” since Turkey is a big country.
    Cyprus fits the case of occupation far better than the West Bank. You would admit it if there were a shred of honesty in you.

    Reply

  19. nadine says:

    Kowtowing to Hizbullah, you mean. Did you read Michael Young? And he is being circumspect, he has to, Nasrallah may hold the power of life and death over him tomorrow.
    You are just so prejudiced that you ascribe virtue to any enemy of America, and delicately look the other direction when they kill.

    Reply

  20. DonS says:

    “Lebanese sources are now also predicting a Hizbullah coup when A’jad arrives” (nadine)
    Because Lebanon isn’t kowtowing, yassuh-ing, genuflecting, on their knees enough to their gang boss next door?
    Or what? Hizbullah will suddenly gain the legitimacy it already has withing the ME . . . save for the Western press, and State Department propaganda?
    I beg your pardon. I thought I was on TWN. I must have stumbled into Powerline.

    Reply

  21. Carroll says:

    Posted by nadine, Oct 07 2010, 5:08PM – Link
    “First…You gotta love it takes Turkey to take the ‘ridiculous’ out of settlements bargaining. ” (Carroll)
    Even for international relations, that takes hypocrisy to new heights. Northern Cyprus, anyone?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    nadine, there is no essential similarity to the Palestine situtation in the Cyprus dispute that would be in Israel’s favor.
    I encourage anyone interested in nadines example to look up the Cyprus dispute for themselves if they aren’t familiar with it.
    nadine,many of us have posted numerous times the links and findings of the ICC, the UN and other legal entities on the illegality of Israeli land seizures in Palestine and Israeli settlements.
    I won’t bother to cite them yet again

    Reply

  22. Cee says:

    The only way the US can want peace more than that parties is if the US is willing to conquer and colonize the Middle East.
    I laughed at this chick twice today! She is exposed for all of us to see.
    Translated by
    Israel Shahak
    June 13, 1982
    A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties
    by Oded Yinon
    This essay originally appeared in Hebrew in KIVUNIM (Directions), A Journal for Judaism and Zionism; Issue No, 14–Winter, 5742, February 1982, Editor: Yoram Beck. Editorial Committee: Eli Eyal, Yoram Beck, Amnon Hadari, Yohanan Manor, Elieser Schweid. Published by the Department of Publicity/The World Zionist Organization, Jerusalem.
    http://members.tripod.com/alabasters_archive/zionist_plan.html
    and
    http://www.counterpunch.org/heard04252006.html

    Reply

  23. Dan Kervick says:

    “No, obviously he couldn’t have won it, or he would have won it. Netanyahu is not a punk, but the Prime Minister of a independent country.”
    Yeah, right, so is Kim Jong Il.
    Netanyahu is just the crime boss of a gang of thieves. You don’t earn dignity just because your thug constituency slaps a political title on you.
    “You don’t get it either. There is no international law in the Middle East but the law of the tribe: Woe to the vanquished.”
    If that’s true then it was pretty damn stupid for all of the nice westernized Jews to move there. Anyway, the civilized world shouldn’t tolerate these gang wars. We need to combine our latent and unused police power and bring it to bear on the gangbangers.

    Reply

  24. Don Bacon says:

    How can Iran’s threats be overrated when Iran hasn’t threatened anyone?
    Iran is the big winner of misplaced US military effort. The US has overthrown an Iraqi government hostile to Iran and replaced it with a new government (almost) which looks right now like it was Iran-mandated to be friendly to Iran (Maliki again) although the big vote-getter in the election seven months ago was Allawi, an ex-CIA thug who was favored by the US.
    On Iran’s eastern flank the US is tied in knots in Afghanistan. In the region Iran is tight with Syria and now Turkey, and in Asia China and India are Iran supporters along with most other countries in the world.
    Within Iran Russian engineers were standing by as Iran fired up its new Bushehr nuclear plant.
    So Iran doesn’t need to threaten any other country, it has had the fumbling US helping it gain predominancy in the Middle East

    Reply

  25. nadine says:

    BTW, the new supreme head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badi, has explicity endorsed every part Al Qaeda’s anti-American jihad.
    I will leave it to the astute commenters here to figure out what deep harm we have done to Egypt to merit this hatred. Is it our bases in Egypt? oh wait, there aren’t any. How about the tribute we demand from them? oh wait, we send them $2 billion a year. But clearly America have deserved it somehow — that being the only conceivable reason for the Muslim Brotherhood suicide bombers who will now be setting themselves off.
    The idea that the Muslim Brotherhood’s position has anything to do with their interpretation of Islam will be dismissed as ridiculous.

    Reply

  26. nadine says:

    Lebanese sources are now also predicting a Hizbullah coup when A’jad arrives. Nice timing on the happygram about how harmless A’jad is, what a “faulty toolbox” Iran has, Mr. Reed!
    Is Hizbullah trying to take over Lebanon with Iran’s help?
    By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
    10/07/2010 15:59
    Analysis: The Lebanese guerrilla group is about to have its true face unmasked by the UN Hariri investigation – of course it’s panicking.
    Hizbullah and Iran now have a common interest in escalating tensions in the Middle East: Hizbullah, with the help of Iran, may be planning to stage a coup in Lebanon to cover up and divert attention from its role in the assassination of former Lebanses prime minister Rafik Hariri.
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s plan to visit Lebanon in the coming weeks should be seen in the context of Hizbullah’s plot to take over the country. Some Lebanese have gone as far as condemning the visit as a “provocation,” noting that it would also raise tensions between Lebanon and Israel because of Ahmadinejad’s plan to tour the border between the two countries.
    The UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon is about to publish the results of its investigation into the killing of the former prime minister. According to reliable sources, the report is expected to hold Hizbullah responsible for the assassination.
    Now that its true face is about to be unmasked, Hizbullah is of course panicking and searching for ways to get out of the sinkhole.
    Hizbullah’s rhetoric and actions in recent weeks suggest that the Shi’ite organization is up to no good.
    Statements issued by Hizbullah leaders in the past few days indicate that the organization has evil plans. Nawwaf al-Moussawi, a Hizbullah MP in the Lebanese parliament, warned that any Lebanese who accepts the international tribunal’s indictment findings would be killed as a “collaborator” with Israel and the US.
    According to reports from Lebanon, Hizbullah militiamen have been deployed in several “sensitive” locations throughout the country in preparation for overthrowing the government and taking over the entire country. Hizbullah’s message to the world is: If you publish the truth – that we killed Hariri – we will seize control over Lebanon and turn it into another Iran.”
    A few weeks ago, Hizbullah militiamen stormed their way into Lebanon’s international airport in Beirut to escort a former security official, Jamil al-Sayyed, from the plane to the VIP lounge.
    Sayyed has accused the international tribunal on Lebanon of being biased. He has also accused Hariri’s son, Sa’ad [the current prime minister] and other Lebanese security officials, of misleading the tribunal into concluding that Hizbullah was behind the assassination.
    The incident at the airport shows once again that Hizbullah is in fact a state-within-a-state in Lebanon. The Shiite organization has its own security forces and intelligence services and communications system.
    “Hizbullah does not acknowledge the Lebanese state as sovereign,” said Michael Young, an opinion editor at Beirut’s The Daily Star and author of “The Ghosts of Martryrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon’s Life Struggle.”
    Young pointed out that Hizbullah had already staged something similar to a coup two years ago. “The armed takeover of Beirut in May 2008 confirmed that Hizbullah would fire on its fellow citizens and regarded state authority and the rule of law as thin veneers to be swept away when necessary,” he said.
    Ahmadenijad would of course welcome the opportunity to export the “Islamic Revolution” to Lebanon. Instability in the region would divert attention from his nuclear ambitions and allow him to fulfill his dream of wiping Israel off the map.
    A victory for Iran and Hizbullah in Lebanon would also be a victory for Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad – and Al-Qaida.
    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=190578

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    “First…You gotta love it takes Turkey to take the ‘ridiculous’ out of settlements bargaining. ” (Carroll)
    Even for international relations, that takes hypocrisy to new heights. Northern Cyprus, anyone?

    Reply

  28. Carroll says:

    Posted by John Waring, Oct 07 2010, 12:12PM – Link
    Food for thought:
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/10/obamas-toast-time-for-the-europeans-to-step-in.html
    >>>>>>>>>>>
    Even better than food for thought it’s what should be done.
    For all reasons mentioned.
    First…You gotta love it takes Turkey to take the ‘ridiculous’ out of settlements bargaining.
    “He stressed the illegality of Israeli settlements under international law and pointed out that bargaining for a temporary freeze on
    an activity that was already illegal made no sense.”
    But the following is really the way to go for a non violent solution to I/P if Europe was to assert itself in the interest of peace and stability…..
    ” It would allow the Europeans to use their much greater economic leverage against Israel whose
    trade with Europe is almost double what it is with the U.S. Israel’s import trade with Europe is three and a half times larger than its import trade from the U.S.”
    According to the last congressional requested report on Israel, Israel has to export 50 to 75% of it’s total production to stay afloat economically.
    A trade embargo with Europe might also make the Israelis realize they better start fitting into the Arab neighborhood to foster trade with them instead of forever relying on the US to strong arm various ME countries into concessions for Israel as the US did to Egypt on their cotton goods exports industry, causing a whole group of Egyptians to lose their jobs. Which is but one example of many why the Arab street so despises the US and Israel. Who wouldn’t despise that kind of economic meddling in the jobs of another nations people?
    OT but BTW, I am pissed off that in these times Intel, a US company, is sending several billion to Israel and providing 600 jobs for Israelis when they could have just as well ‘enlarged’ one of their plants here instead of enlarging their plant in Israel and provided US jobs.
    But I’ll delve into how that came about when I have more time as neither my mail or any of my friends mails to Intel’s investors relations office on this has gotten a reply or an answer.

    Reply

  29. nadine says:

    “I think Obama could easily have won the fight on the settlement freeze in early 2009. He had plenty of political capital back in those days and could have used it to squash a petty little punk like Netanyahu along with his embarrassing foreign minister. But I agree that if he wasn’t prepared to fight to impose his demand, he never should have made it. As a result, Obama has empowered and legitimized a far-right government and far-right views.” (Dan Kervick)
    No, obviously he couldn’t have won it, or he would have won it. Netanyahu is not a punk, but the Prime Minister of a independent country. If he is holding a position that he thinks essential to national self-interest and he has 90% of his population behind him, the US cannot just insist he take the opposite position. As it was, Netanyahu gave him a 10 month moratorium. And what did the Palestinians give him? or the Egyptians? or the Saudis? Nothing whatsoever.
    Successful politics consists of picking your fights wisely. Obama has a penchant for charging into fights he can’t win because he is too ignorant to pick wisely and too arrogant to know better. So he picks stupidly. All Obama had to do was pick a fight over those settlements that are far from the Green Line and won’t remain in Israel after a settlement. But no, he picked them all — the settlement blocs near the Green Line, and Jerusalem as well. So instead of splitting the Israeli population, Obama united it against him.
    It was a political own goal, which Netanyahu took advantage of to survive. And don’t start making excuses about Congress — their opinion was no surprise to anybody. Skillful politicians, unlike Obama, assess the terrain before starting the fight.
    “I agree that he has completely underestimated the nature and tenacity of the conflict. I also disagree with Obama’s assessment that the United States can’t want peace more than the parties themselves.”
    Not only that, Obama promised over and over that he would solve the conflict quickly once he was President. An intractable conflict that’s defeated all diplomatic efforts for the last 80 years! And he put it front and center and magnified its importance!
    Obama was so ignorant of foreign policy that he believed all the Leftist dogma that Rashid Khalidi taught him. But it’s not true, and more importantly, it doesn’t work if you try it. The only way the US can want peace more than that parties is if the US is willing to conquer and colonize the Middle East.
    “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be viewed as a global policing or law-and- order matter. Just as the police and law-abiding citizens can and do want civil peace more than the warring gangs, the United States and much of the rest of the world needs to bring an end to the gangland turf battle on that congested strip of Mediterranean shoreline.”
    You don’t get it either. There is no international law in the Middle East but the law of the tribe: Woe to the vanquished. But no, you won’t allow yourself to notice the actions of the Arabs or Persians. That would be racist! You prefer to pretend that there is international law already, where there is none.
    But you can’t build a working foreign policy on a game of make-believe.

    Reply

  30. Hass says:

    Meanwhile, the most advanced military in the entire history of the world, can’t win a war against cave-dwelling goatherders, as the war in Afghanistan has thus far lasted more than twice as long as it took to defeat the Fascists, Nazis and Imperial Japan. Yeah. Lets pick on Iran now.

    Reply

  31. Carroll says:

    Posted by JohnH, Oct 06 2010, 8:50PM – Link
    So let’s ask the real question: why are so many in Washington so intent on trumpeting the apparently non-existent “Iranian threat?” The need for a bogeyman to justify exorbitant military budgets? The need to deflect attention from Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing and war crimes?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Thanks for the opening to the real motivation..hehehheh.
    IN THE BEGINING…..those who really know said, are still saying, that Iran is about the hegemony thingy…not a nuclear attack by Iran if they had nukes. No one who actually knows anything about Iran, believes Iran is stupid enough to pop off and preemptively nuke some country and be blown up in return.
    Mainly the US does not want Iran to have influence with other states in the ME region that might upset US influence/advantage. Policial power for Iran that could come from Iran being untouchable or a country to be reckoned with because they have nuke deterence might provide a umbrella to other countries who oppose US policies or Israel in the ME.
    Mainly Israel wants to be hegemon no. 2 in the ME and possibly eventually even become hegemon no 1, given free rein by the US over the ME. Yea, slightly delusional but.
    ‘If’ Iran were to have nuclear weapons it would diminish Israel’s ability to use the Israeli nukes fear factor on it’s neighbors and the region. Then again, it could either curtail or on the other hand increase Israel’s habit of using it’s nukes as blackmail on the US as they have in some past instances when they insinuated they might have to resort to nukes if the US didn’t come to their aid with more conventional weapons and money. Israel using that threat on the US if Iran did have nukes might not work as well or could work even better depending on how crazy the US would think Israel was in that sceniro.
    Realistic people would go either for a nuke free ME or for MAD a a second choice, which has worked since WWII.
    But then there are still problems with those choices, getting Israel and others to give up it’s nukes in the first, and in the second just how crazy are the Israelis and would they really “bring the world down with them” as they have threatened repeatedly if Israel is ever attacked or is it just bluster? And of course just how mad would the Mullahs be if they were attacked by Israel and the US and had nukes to use?
    I prefer the nuke free choice but that is probably less likely than MAD. As long as there is a hostile country with nukes other countries in their region that have the means will also try to aquire them for deterence…and in the extreme to use.
    So far the US is the only country ever to use nuclear warfare. So….who can guess what a country would do? I am sure all countries remember what the US did and think about it.

    Reply

  32. JohnH says:

    Phil Girardi agrees that Obama has “something up his sleeve” post election–more of the same:
    “And to ice the cake there is fear-mongering that occasionally even exceeds the frenetic output of the Bush Administration. The American public has been warned that the domestic terrorism threat is growing in the form of disenchanted Muslims living in the US, something that Bush would likely have avoided saying, and is also being told to be wary when traveling to Europe. Obama has demonstrated overall that there is nothing too low for him to contemplate if it means PAC money, votes in next month

    Reply

  33. JohnH says:

    Kudos to BiBiJon for stating the obvious, even more so than Matthew Reed–Iran’s defense strategy is aimed at deterrence, not aggression. Strange how all those self professed geniuses occupying positions in think tanks and lobbyist firms in occupied Washington never happened to notice!!!
    The interesting part here is how effective Iran’s minuscule defense really is. It has deterred an attack by an ever more hawkish America for over 10 years now. History’s greatest military machine appears afraid to attack anyone but the world’s weakest–Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan, and Iraq, which was exhausted after years of war and sanctions.
    In the case of Iran, an ounce of defense spending brings a pound of protection, because the US military is terrified at the prospect of getting another bloody nose, like it is suffering at the hands of some of the world’s poorest people. The security industry doesn’t really want a serious fight, only enough of one to justify massively profitable “defense” budgets.

    Reply

  34. JohnH says:

    Obama does indeed have “something up his sleeve” post election–more of the same.
    With the 2012 election only months away, Obama will become ever more craven to whatever monied interests wish to yank his chain–the Israel lobby, defense contractors, etc. etc.

    Reply

  35. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I think Obama could easily have won the fight on the settlement freeze in early 2009. He had plenty of political capital back in those days and could have used it to squash a petty little punk like Netanyahu along with his embarrassing foreign minister”
    Only if you ignore history could you formulate such a paragraph. The steady stream of Congress people that imediately sought to undermine Obama’s efforts, through public statements, inter-governmental correspondences, and actual trips to Israel belie your claim of “plenty of political capital”. If he had such “capital”, where was the Congressional support for his position on settlements? As far as the issue of settlements, Obama had exactly ZERO in “political capital”. To state that he could have “easily won the fight on the settlement freeze in early 2009” is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen you say, Dan. I find it hard to believe you dedicated much thought to the statement.
    I think it is fairly obvious that Obama, being a relatively inexperienced neophyte, with very little previous interaction with the fuckin’ scum in Congress, underestimated the power Israel exercises over the inner workings of DC. He was prepared to take on Netanyuahu, but entirely unprepared for the war he would have to wage with his own party. With virtually NO support from Congress, and his own SOS, he was impotent to change our policies towards the fascist state of Israel, or have and say in Israel’s expansion of settlements.
    Obama’s original position, and the ensuing events that have brought us to the present situation only underscore the immense power Israel lords over the dynamics of Washington policy as it pertains to the Middle East. It is ISRAEL that has the “political capital” in the United States’ Congress, not Obama. Only a blithering fool can continue to discount the power of the Israeli lobbies, and the corrosive effect this power has on our ability to fairly mediate the struggle of the Palestinians against an occupying power. There will be no peace in this conflict as long as the United States continues to meddle in the process. Israel needs to be brought to heel by sanctions and global outrage, or she will not be brought to heel at all. The odds of this happening are very slim, which means the global community is going to stand idly by as Israel continues to push the Palestinians into the abyss of oblivion. On the current course, it is inevitable. Israel holds all the chips.

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I think Obama could easily have won the fight on the settlement freeze in early 2009. He had plenty of political capital back in those days and could have used it to squash a petty little punk like Netanyahu along with his embarrassing foreign minister”
    Only if you ignore history could you formulate such a paragraph. The steady stream of Congress people that imediately sought to undermine Obama’s efforts, through public statements, inter-governmental correspondences, and actual trips to Israel belie your claim of “plenty of political capital”. If he had such “capital”, where was the Congressional support for his position on settlements? As far as the issue of settlements, Obama had exactly ZERO in “political capital”. To state that he could have “easily won the fight on the settlement freeze in early 2009” is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen you say, Dan. I find it hard to believe you dedicated much thought to the statement.
    I think it is fairly obvious that Obama, being a relatively inexperienced neophyte, with very little previous interaction with the fuckin’ scum in Congress, underestimated the power Israel exercises over the inner workings of DC. He was prepared to take on Netanyuahu, but entirely unprepared for the war he would have to wage with his own party. With virtually NO support from Congress, and his own SOS, he was impotent to change our policies towards the fascist state of Israel, or have and say in Israel’s expansion of settlements.
    Obama’s original position, and the ensuing events that have brought us to the present situation only underscore the immense power Israel lords over the dynamics of Washington policy as it pertains to the Middle East. It is ISRAEL that has the “political capital” in the United States’ Congress, not Obama. Only a blithering fool can continue to discount the power of the Israeli lobbies, and the corrosive effect this power has on our ability to fairly mediate the struggle of the Palestinians against an occupying power. There will be no peace in this conflict as long as the United States continues to meddle in the process. Israel needs to be brought to heel by sanctions and global outrage, or she will not be brought to heel at all. The odds of this happening are very slim, which means the global community is going to stand idly by as Israel continues to push the Palestinians into the abyss of oblivion. On the current course, it is inevitable. Israel holds all the chips.

    Reply

  37. DonS says:

    On I/P while it may feel good to scratch that Obama is an “incompetent neophyte, etc.” itch, I lean towards Dan’s thought about “something up their sleeves”. In a normal country, important political moves would be put off until aftaer an election, not pushed for hard on the election. Of course, the US is in a perpetual election cycle anyway, more of the national equivalent of the soaps, sadly.
    As to the November surprise, could we expect everything in the ME to unravel if/when Israel pulls the trigger on Iran, leading to the US inevitably stepping in to exert force on the side of Israel? That almost seems a given . . . if and when. But before or after the US elections? A little more uncertain; but perhaps the balance of opinion in the WH is to avoid a hot encounter with Iran. That would be a harder position to maintain before the election, perhaps. At least according one conventional wisdom as well as the firebreathing fundies and neocons. And ‘liberal interventionists’. And we know the zionists rally round the flag; at least the politically connected ones.
    Quick question for some non-zealous Jew? How can the community ‘allow’ the rw zionists to cozy up to the Christian fundies when the recognition has always been there that rw ‘christians’ detest Jews? And Jews can smell it a thousand miles away? I know this subject gets bandied about here. But rarely plumbed as to the emotional dissonance involved.

    Reply

  38. Dan Kervick says:

    Well, maybe WigWag. But I’m more interested in the possibility that they have something up their sleeves that they are afraid to initiate or roll out before the election.
    I think Obama could easily have won the fight on the settlement freeze in early 2009. He had plenty of political capital back in those days and could have used it to squash a petty little punk like Netanyahu along with his embarrassing foreign minister. But I agree that if he wasn’t prepared to fight to impose his demand, he never should have made it. As a result, Obama has empowered and legitimized a far-right government and far-right views.
    I agree that he has completely underestimated the nature and tenacity of the conflict. I also disagree with Obama’s assessment that the United States can’t want peace more than the parties themselves. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be viewed as a global policing or law-and- order matter. Just as the police and law-abiding citizens can and do want civil peace more than the warring gangs, the United States and much of the rest of the world needs to bring an end to the gangland turf battle on that congested strip of Mediterranean shoreline.

    Reply

  39. BiBiJon says:

    A few points:
    a) Though Reed prefers to label it as a faulty toolbox, Iran

    Reply

  40. WigWag says:

    “Why in the world did Obama start up these talks and allow the Israelis and Palestinians to push him into a box of desperation walled-off by the US election cycle?” (Dan Kervick)
    Oh, that’s an easy one; it’s because he’s an incomptetent neophyte who exagerated the importance of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians and over-promised when he said he could deliver it. Then, to compound his mistake, he pushed for a settlement freeze that had never before been a precondition for talks and that he was never in a position to deliver. The Palestinians, being understandably unable to accept less on settlements than the U.S. President and Secretary of State demanded, then found they had the perfect excuse first to delay direct peace talks by months and then, once the started, to escape the peace talks that they never really wanted.
    It should have been entirely clear to anyone who had their eyes open that Obama’s strategy was disasterous. Members of the chattering classes, like Steve Clemons, who supported Obama on pushing for a settlement freeze but should have known that Obama couldn’t win that fight, share in the blame for the entire fiasco. Now Obama has precisely one paramount ambition; to distract the public from his very stupid mistakes. Why does he want a two month extension? Why not one month? Why not three months? Why not six months?
    It’s because the Obama Administration understands that the talks are going no where and that in short order, after they collapse, the terrible strategic blunders in what Obama foolishly made his signature foreign policy issue, are going to be obvious to everyone.
    At this point all Obama wants to do is push that discussion off until after the midterm elections.

    Reply

  41. DonS says:

    “You’ve got a lot of nerve . . . after berating the US government day after day . . .
    “I don’t know where you are getting your information
    Dan, with such posters, accuracy,inconsistency, or even the attempt to be truthful is irrelevant. The object seems to be to occupy space, cause disruption and keep others dazed and confused, hence derail discussions this ilk dislikes. To me there is hardly a question as to whether it involves state sponsored propaganda.
    More importantly, your last paragraph raise troubling questions:
    “I think some of these reporters need to ask more questions about precisely why it is that the White House is so deeply and absolutely desperate to extend these going-nowhere talks for 60 days and beyond the US election. . . ?” as well as other good questions. (Dan)
    My own reading of the NYT paragraph, i.e.,
    “The administration hopes that by making it clear that any settlement extension would be a one-time-only offer, it can avoid the prospect of the Palestinians

    Reply

  42. Cee says:

    Hizbullah may be planning a coup d’etat to take over Lebanon altogether and put down the Hariri murder investigation once and for all
    Oh?
    Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has called on the UN to probe claims by Hezbollah militants that Israel was behind the murder of his father in 2005, according to local press reports Thursday.
    Harari said evidence presented earlier this week by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah implicating Israel in the assassination of Hariri’s father Rafik was “important and very sensitive”, Lebanese daily as-Safir reported.
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/lebanon-pm-un-must-probe-claims-of-israeli-complicity-in-hariri-murder-1.307587

    Reply

  43. Dan Kervick says:

    “How, Dan? Start bombing? In case you didn’t notice, Israel is not a superpower. The US is — and in competent hands, could have brought pressure enough to bear to make Iran rethink the plan, without setting off a war.”
    Really? How? The US has already long abandoned its engagement policy and is now avidly sanctioning Iran. How’s that going? Is it keeping Ahmadinejad from visiting Lebanon?
    Maybe the Defense Department should just whip out its magic passport-canceler and global plane-grounding ray gun?
    You’ve got a lot of nerve, after berating the US government day after day, to be calling on the omnipotent gods of the United States to save the pathetic Israelis from their own arrogant strategic choices and self-imposed vulnerabilities. You think the United States, no matter who is President, possesses the global mojo to keep the world’s heads of state sitting in their capitals? What a dream world.
    I don’t know where you are getting your information about US support for a Palestinian declaration of independence, Nadine. The NY Times report only says the White House is prepared to offer the Palestinians “an American endorsement of their position on the borders of a future Palestinian state”. I would imagine that Palestinians aren’t impressed by any American “endorsements” of anything. We’ve been “endorsing” all kinds of stuff since 1967, and none of it ever happens. If you are endorsing a future border along the pre-1967 line, but also endorsing continued Israeli colonization beyond that border, then your endorsements are just a meaningless political game.
    I think some of these reporters need to ask more questions about precisely why it is that the White House is so deeply and absolutely desperate to extend these going-nowhere talks for 60 days and beyond the US election. What exactly is it they are expecting will happen when the talks fail? Why are they making and leaking these recklessly desperate-sounding offers? Why is Dennis Ross ready to give the whole store away to Israelis for a measly 60 days? Why in the world did Obama start up these talks and allow the Israelis And Palestinians to push him into a box of desperation walled-off by the US election cycle?

    Reply

  44. nadine says:

    How, Dan? Start bombing? In case you didn’t notice, Israel is not a superpower. The US is — and in competent hands, could have brought pressure enough to bear to make Iran rethink the plan, without setting off a war. There is no way Israel can do that.
    BTW, Dan, did you hear that Obama is offering to support a Palestinian declaration of independence along the 1967 borders, just for staying at the talks? How come Abu Mazen isn’t jumping at the chance?
    article here http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/world/middleeast/06diplo.html?_r=2&th&emc=th

    Reply

  45. Dan Kervick says:

    “If we had a competent President, the US would have forestalled this visit. But we don’t.”
    Why didn’t Israel’s President forestall the visit? More incompetence?

    Reply

  46. nadine says:

    debka reports that 2500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been imported into Lebanon in preparation for A’jad’s visit next week. South Lebanon is now part of Iran. A’jad intends to visit a new-built replica of the Al Aqsa mosque at the border and lead thousands in throwing stones into Israel. debka thinks Hizbullah may be planning a coup d’etat to take over Lebanon altogether and put down the Hariri murder investigation once and for all…that’s one prediction that we will know the accuracy of soon enough. This could be the start of another Lebanese civil war.
    If we had a competent President, the US would have forestalled this visit. But we don’t.

    Reply

  47. nadine says:

    I never read or quote Newsmax, so I don’t know what they write. But the ironies of antiwar.com setting themselves up as an impartial judge are delicious.

    Reply

  48. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Interesting that Nadine is so fond of citing “Newsmax” when salting the blog with propaganda……..
    http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2010/10/06/yellow-journalism-alive-and-well-newsmax-tries-to-supply-the-war/
    Yellow Journalism Alive and Well: Newsmax Tries to

    Reply

  49. Richard W. Crews says:

    I’ve always thought the Iranian “oil weapon” was the shutdown of the Gulf and perhaps major destruction to Saudi Arabia’s facilities. If Iran joins the SCO, and has significant oil exports inland, perhaps they may feel bold.

    Reply

  50. DonS says:

    M.J.Rosenberg on Israeli ambassador to the US Oren’s Yom Kippur demand for loyalty from a\American Jews for Israel’s increasingly likely attack on Iran.
    Why does this kind of outrage not elicit a whimper of protest from the State Department.
    Nevermind. The unholy alliance between the US government, American politicians, money, and Israel trumps any logic except the most despicable.
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/10/05/israels_ambassador_demands_loyalty_from_us_jews/

    Reply

  51. JohnH says:

    As Carroll noted, “well then, according to Reid Iran is not much of a worry.”
    As I’ve repeatedly pointed out here, Iran’s entire military budget is about what the US spends in a month and a half in Afghanistan.
    So let’s ask the real question: why are so many in Washington so intent on trumpeting the apparently non-existent “Iranian threat?” The need for a bogeyman to justify exorbitant military budgets? The need to deflect attention from Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing and war crimes?
    And what are the sanctions really about–forcing a recalcitrant vassal to heel before the emperor?
    I’m really, really tired of all the BS that masks itself as honest policy debate in Washington. The American people deserve better that a fundamentally dishonest government.

    Reply

  52. WigWag says:

    This is an excellent and well written post by Matthew Reed; congratulations on a great job, Mr. Reed.
    Interestingly, even Fidel Castro is distancing himself from Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime. In an extraordinary interview with Jeffrey Goldberg and Julia Sweig (that I’m surprised that neither Steve Clemons, Patrick Doherty nor Anya Landau French has commented on) Fidel Castro excoriates the Iranian regime for its bigotry, antisemitism and homophobia. In doing so, Castro also obliquely criticized his ertwhile ally, Hugo Chavez for cozying up to the Iranian regime and Castro admitted that the “Cuban model no longer even works for Cuba.”
    With Jeffrey Goldberg’s groundbreaking article on Iran that appeared in the Atlantic (that Steve Clemons wrote an excellent post about) and with the recent Goldberg interview of Castro, Jeffrey Goldberg is clearly well on his way to winning a Pulitzer Prize this year. Goldberg has replaced Fareed Zakaria as the most important foreign policy journalist in America.
    The real question is, when it comes to Iran, what’s Fidel up to? As usual, the preternaturally brilliant Walter Russell Mead has some important insights.
    Jeffrey Goldberg’s important interview with Castro about Iran can be found here,
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/09/castro-no-one-has-been-slandered-more-than-the-jews/62566/
    Walter Russell Mead’s commentary about Fidel, Iran and what the Cubans are up to can be found here,
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/

    Reply

  53. paul_lukasiak says:

    I think that reed underestimates the amount of damage that a decision by Iran to block the straits of Hormuz would cause. The mere threat would send oil futures skyrocketing, and any success in blocking the straits would result in a worldwide economic crisis.
    As to the US threat, I think that by the time Iran decided to impose a blockade, the situation would have deterioated already to the point where a “state of war” all but existed anyway…

    Reply

  54. Carroll says:

    Well then, according to Reid Iran is not much of a worry.
    And Clinton and Egypt are right in saying the I/P conflict is much more likly to generate regional conflict and outburst and revolts.

    Reply

  55. nadine says:

    “Tehran maintains no “on-off” switch for Hamas and Hizballah, and their support is specific to resisting Israel, meaning these groups could not destabilize the entire region.”
    If Tehran doesn’t have an on-off switch for Hamas and Hizbullah, then it is certainly getting very poor value for money for the many $100s of millions it has given and is giving to both groups.
    As a matter of fact, Ahmedinejad, who is going to visit the southern border of Lebanon in about a week to throw a symbolic rock at Israel, is now openly calling the border “Iran’s border with Israel”. If that’s not claiming Lebanon for Iran, what is it?
    And what does Mr. Reed by claiming that because Hizbullah and Hamas are set up to “resist” Israel (I notice the Iranian-approved terminology), their wars could not cause regional destabilization? Are we not told day and night that the Mideast Peace Deal is essential to regional stability? Yet when it comes to the sticky wickets of Hamas and Hizbullah, we are told not to worry, for their mayhem is strictly local. Israel has already warned Damascus that it will not be spared in the next Israel-Hizbullah war, and Tehran may be drawn in to defend its clients. Sounds pretty regional to me.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *