Handicapping an Attack on Iran

November 11, 2011

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A few months ago, there was talk that Israel was pressing for a preemptive attack on Iran before they attain nuclear weapon capability. A few weeks ago, there was a noticeable uptick in critical stories on Iran and nuclear weapons in the mainstream press. Last week, the IEA issued a scathing report on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Yesterday, Mitt Romney wrote a very hawkish op-ed in the WSJ where he criticized Obama’s policies towards Iran, declaring “I will not let Iran get nuclear weapons.” Today, there were reports that the Obama administration plans to sell bunker busting bombs to United Arab Emirates, whose leadership is an Iranian critique.

A look at Mitt Romney’s “shadow National Security Council” shows a tendency to favor preemptive strikes against Iran.

Robert Kagen : “Kagan pushed the Iraq war to George Bush as a battle to help Israel. "If we do not move against Saddam Hussein and his regime, the damage our Israeli friends and we have suffered until now may someday appear but a prelude to much greater horrors… Israel’s fight against terrorism is our fight."

Walid Phares : Salon wrote “The appointment of Phares to a position in the Romney campaign is not surprising. East policymaking is now dominated by the Israel lobby and its affiliates. Advocacy of Israeli positions has replaced professional qualifications as the criteria for service.”

Michael Hayden : "a strike was way down the list of options," but that such action now "seems inexorable." He continued, "In my personal thinking, I have begun to consider that that may not be the worst of all possible outcomes." He said that the likelihood of a U.S. strike on Iran has risen in the face of Tehran’s refusal to halt its contentious nuclear program. "We engage," he stated. "They continue to move forward. We vote for sanctions. They continue to move forward. We try to deter, to dissuade. They continue to move forward."

Hayden says the timeline for such an attack would be after the 2012 elections. Naturally, oil and shares of oil companies are the best hedge against this risk.



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