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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New 'adviser' to Ayatollah Ali Khameini threatens Israel

On Sunday night, DEBKA broke a story that claimed that the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, General Rahim Safavi, had been relieved of his duties and 'kicked upstairs' to become 'special security adviser' to Khameini, the 'Supreme Ruler.' The report has since been confirmed by other sources.

Tonight, Arash Kamangir, an Iranian blogger in Canada, reports that Safavi has taken upon himself to lead the front row of threatening rhetoric in the Islamic Republic.
A few days ago he said, “There are 200,000 vulnerable American forces in the region and we have information about all their bases” [Persian]. Today, the Islamic Republic official newspaper quoted him saying “Washington can never predict Iran’s retaliation”. He stated, “In event of an American attack on Iran, they will have three problems. One, they have no idea how sever the retaliation will be. They can not predict how much vulnerable their 200,000 soldiers in the region are. Two, they have no idea what will happen to Israel. Three, they have no idea what will have happen to the flow of oil.” [Persian]
I don't see these as real threats. First, I don't see Iran being able to hit American troops in Iraq. Those troops will be too well prepared for it. Second, the US may have 'no idea what will happen to Israel,' but I don't believe that the US is considering going after Iran's nuclear capability to save Israel, but rather because the US cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran. Thus US actions will not be dictated by what Iran's response against Israel might be. In that respect, we are certainly very much on our own. As to his third point, I don't think the US is concerned about the flow of oil either. Comparatively little Iranian oil is reaching the market, and the Saudis can sell oil through their Red Sea ports without passing through the Straits of Hormuz. While there may be a spike in the price of oil if the US cannot keep the Persian Gulf shipping lanes open (it may be able to), I don't see it as a fatal blow to the US economy.


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