Reporting from Tehran on DefenseNews, Riad Kahwaji tells us,
If U.S. forces strike Iranian nuclear facilities, Iranian officials say Tehran will respond by triggering all-out regional war.And if that's not enough, there's this pleasant thought:
“Ballistic missiles would be fired in masses against targets in Arab gulf states and Israel,” one Foreign Ministry official said. “The objective would be to overwhelm U.S. missile defense systems with dozens and maybe hundreds of missiles fired simultaneously at specific targets.”
Tehran’s primary targets would be U.S. military installations and strategic targets in U.S.-allied Arabian Gulf states, including oil depots, refineries, power plants and desalination facilities. U.S. warships would also face waves of surface-to-surface cruise missiles sent to overwhelm their countermeasures, said several senior Iranian officials whose comments reflect the official line but who could not obtain permission to speak on the record at short notice.
Tehran would also allow al-Qaida and other Islamic terrorist groups free passage across its borders from Afghanistan and Asia into the Middle East, Iranian officials said.Couple this with Helene Cooper's reporting in the New York Times late last week:
“Iran will open a freeway for terrorists from Afghanistan all the way to Lebanon, enabling the terrorists to strike in almost every country in the Middle East,” said the official with knowledge of national-security discussions. He added that Iran currently bans such transits from Afghanistan, forcing them to take longer routes and risk capture in other countries. “This positive action would not continue if Iran is attacked by the U.S.”
One Kuwaiti analyst said Iran-backed terror attacks are expected if war breaks out.
“Most Arab gulf states expect to face a series of terrorist attacks in their major cities carried out by either Iranian sleeper cells or al-Qaida members in case of a war with Iran,” said Sami Al-Faraj, head of the Kuwait Center for Strategic Studies.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought today to minimize any sense of division within the Bush administration over Iran after the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency delivered a pointed new warning against what he called the “new crazies” pushing for military action against Tehran.Right. The VP is a dove who believes in DIME. Got it.
“The President of the United States has made it clear that we are on a course that is a diplomatic course,” Ms. Rice said here. “That policy is supported by all of the members of the cabinet, and by the vice president of the United States.”
Ms. Rice’s assurance on U.S. strategy came as senior officials at the State Department are expressing fury over reports that members of Vice President Cheney’s staff have told others that Mr. Cheney believes the diplomatic track with Iran is pointless, and is looking for ways to persuade Mr. Bush to confront Iran militarily.No way; Mr. Cheney can persuade the President to only use the "M" in DIME?
We're on the way to Armageddon.
h/t to Jeff Huber at Pen and Sword and Eagle1 at Eagle Speak.