PAPER DETAILS OBAMA ADMIN’S ALLEGED SECRET NOTE SENT TO IRAN: IF ISRAEL ATTACKS, WE WON’T GET INVOLVED
Why Israel shrugs at retaliation after attack on Iran
By Daniel Nisman and Avi Nave / August 17, 2012
The threat of a simultaneous war with Iran's proxies – Hezbollah, Syria, and Gaza militants – is a key consideration for Israel as it weighs an attack on Iran. But Iran’s allies may not be as keen about going to war for the ayatollahs as Tehran would like, and the Israelis know it.
Last week Iran sent a high-level envoy, Saeed Jalili, on a particularly controversial public-relations tour to Lebanon and Syria, the most explosive corner of the region. After ruffling feathers during a Beirut stopover, Mr. Jalili traveled to Damascus to meet with President Bashar al- Assad, where he declared the ties between Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah to be an “axis of resistance.”
Israel's Posturing: Behind Netanyahu and Barak's Threats to Attack Iran
The consequences wouldn’t be cataclysmic.
How would Iranians respond to an Israeli strike against their nuclear infrastructure? The answers given to this question matter greatly, as predictions about Iran’s response will affect not only Jerusalem’s decision, but also how much other states will work to impede an Israeli strike.
Analysts generally offer best-case predictions for policies of deterrence and containment (some commentators even go so far as to welcome an Iranian nuclear capability) while forecasting worst-case results from a strike. They foresee Tehran doing everything possible to retaliate, such as kidnapping, terrorism, missile attacks, naval combat, and closing the Strait of Hormuz. These predictions ignore two facts: Neither of Israel’s prior strikes against enemy states building nuclear weapons — Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007 — prompted retaliation; and a review of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s history since 1979 points to, in the words of Michael Eisenstadt and Michael Knights, “a more measured and less apocalyptic — if still sobering — assessment of the likely aftermath of a preventive strike.”
Eisenstadt and Knights of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy provide an excellent guide to possible scenarios in “Beyond Worst-Case Analysis: Iran’s Likely Responses to an Israeli Preventive Strike.” Their survey of Iranian behavior over the past three decades leads them to anticipate that three main principles would likely shape and limit Tehran’s response to an Israeli strike: an insistence on reciprocity, a caution not to gratuitously make enemies, and a wish to deter further Israeli (or American) strikes.
1. Terrorist attacks on Israeli, Jewish, and U.S. targets. Likely, but causing limited destruction.
2. Kidnapping of U.S. citizens, especially in Iraq. Likely, but limited in impact, as in the 1980s in Lebanon.
3. Attacks on Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Very likely, especially via proxies, but causing limited destruction.
4. Missile strikes on Israel. Likely: a few missiles from Iran getting through Israeli defenses, leading to casualties likely in the low hundreds; missiles from Hezbollah limited in number due to domestic Lebanese considerations. Unlikely: Hamas getting involved, having distanced itself from Tehran; the Syrian government interfering, since it is battling for its life against an ever-stronger opposition army and possibly the Turkish armed forces. Overall, missile attacks are unlikely to do devastating damage.
5. Attacks on neighboring states. Likely: especially using terrorist proxies, for the sake of deniability. Unlikely: missile strikes, for Tehran does not want to make more enemies.
6. Clashes with the U.S. Navy. Likely, but, given the balance of power, doing limited damage.
7. Covertly mining the Strait of Hormuz. Likely, causing a run-up in energy prices.
8. Attempted closing of the Strait of Hormuz. Unlikely: difficult to achieve and potentially too damaging to Iranian interests, because the country needs the strait for commerce.
The authors also consider three potential side effects of an Israeli strike. Yes, Iranians might rally to their government in the immediate aftermath of a strike, but in the longer term Tehran “could be criticized for handling the nuclear dossier in a way that led to military confrontation.”
read more at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/303966/after-israeli-strike-iran-daniel-pipes#
What Happens if Israel Attacks Iran
Intelligence consultant George Friedman rates the odds that Israel strikes Iran's nukes at one-in-four. But if it does, casualties could be heavy and $300-a-barrel oil is likely.
The Bottom Line
An Israeli-Iranian conflict would have a big human and economic toll, and Syria's civil war is a more important issue right now. If Assad survives, Iran will be even more powerful.
What Happens After Israel Attacks Iran
Public Debate Can Prevent a Strategic Disaster