Friday, September 6, 2013

Iran plans retaliation if US strikes Assad

Reports suggest that Iran is planning to retaliate against US interests if President Obama orders air strikes against Assad. No one should be surprised. Just yesterday, I argued that perceptions of American weakness in regards to Syria would encourage Iranian hostility. The causal influence is clear - by failing to challenge Iran's aggression, America has signaled a vulnerability to that aggression. So begins a perpetuating cycle. Unfortunately, due to the fact that many Republicans in Congress do not understand the power politics of the Middle East and many Democrats are fundamentally resistant to the notion of US resolution in face of blackmail, Iran has been undeterred in their long term aggression against the United States. Indeed, in 2011, acting under orders from the ''very highest levels'' of the Iranian government, terrorists nearly blew up a popular Washington DC restaurant. The US Government's pathetic response? Condemnation.

President Obama needs to make it clear that should Iran take action against US interests, he will respond with deliberate and decisive military force. Ultimately, this isn't about bluster or warmongering, this about realpolitik - making theocratic thugs understand that their malfeasance will not go unanswered. As the excellent Dexter Filkins has also noted, Iran's strategy in Iraq was significantly influenced by US deterrent posture.

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