Dealing with Iran


Claude Salhani has written an informative article in the too little—read Washington Times, suggesting that the recent fighting in Najaf, and the re—emergence of the bellicose Shiite Al Sadr, has its roots in Iran. More particulary, Salhanai suggests that Iran's desire to stir the pot and inflict American casualties (August might be the worst month for US fatalities in Iraq since April), has its roots in Iran's fear that the US may have given a green light to Israel to "take care of business" with Iran's burgeoning nuclear program, once the EU and various international bodies wash their hands on the matter.

The willingness of the Shiite militias to take a heavy death toll themselves is a signal that hordes of Shiites around Iraq can be stirred up to challenge the US  and Iraqi forces, if Iran pushes the button. The key message is that the Shiites will accept death, as al Qaeda terrorists do, but they will make the Americans (who value life), pay a heavy price for our interference.  It is now likely that the American death toll in Iraq (around 960) will hit the 1,000 number sometme in September, probably right before the first Presidential debate, when long columns of New York Times articles bemoaning this fact, and the tragdy of our Iraqi operation will be played out.  So the Iranians are also aware of the political calendar. Another foreign leader in John Kerry's corner.

But there is one aspect of this article which is good news. The Iranian actions indicate that the mullahs have real fear that the Israelis might be successful in crippling their nuclear program.  Iran has tried to intimidate Israel directly by moving longer range missiles through Syria to Hizbollah in Lebanon, putting more of Israel within reach of this terrorist group camped on Israel's northern border. But Iran may fear that Israel is willing to take a blow from Hizbollah, after acting in Iran to eliminate the nuclear threat to its survival. And surely Iran and Hizbollah know that Israel's reaction to a massive Iranian—ordered Hizbollah retaliatory strike against Israel will not leave much of this vicous terror group left alive.  So the threat now is to Israel's partner —— the US —— either to suffer increased American casualties,  risk a larger Israeli Arab Middle East war that leads to another dramatic oil price spike, and lose the November election, or else keep the Israelis away from Iran's nuclear program.

There is a solution to this dilemna. Hold the election. Remove that blackmail item off the table. Then let Israel do what it may.