Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rumsfeld Memo Portends Containing Iranian Retaliatory Impulse

The memo “leaked” from ex Secretary of Defense to the President outlining options in Iraq greases the skids for a planned movement of troops along the Iranian/Syrian border. This ostensibly would be done to reduce the infiltration of bad actors coming across those borders to stir trouble in Iraq.

More likely the intention is to contain the Iranian military response after Israel bombs that country’s nuclear facilities. Rumsfeld’s leak to redeploy troops along the border comes virtually simultaneously with Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman’s plea to OPEC to keep the oil markets fully supplied. Does Sam expect Iranian oil to be taken off the market for some period of time?

Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister dangles carrot after carrot in front of the starving Palestinians. Does Mr. Olmert hope to be deep into the seduction phase when our 51st state drops bombs over Tehran? He doesn’t want to fight on three fronts simultaneously. Using land and money to bribe the Palestinians might just reduce his exposure. The question is “how deep into negotiations might they be when the bombs start falling?”

Israel is incapable of directly impacting the Sunni-Shia split in the Middle East, but could do so surreptitiously. It could also request the U.S. use its covert operations to drive enmity between the two major Muslim factions on a region wide basis.

Once the air attack begins, the United States could join in, but more likely will revert to its clueless status as shown this past summer when Israel bombed Lebanon back 25 years. It would just happen to have legions of troops in proximity to Syria’s and Iran’s border.

Syria likely cannot handle a two front war, so even though it will be chomping at the bit to attack Israel, it won’t leave its eastern front exposed to U.S. military might. If Iran gets no help from its Middle Eastern neighbors, the options for attacking Israel back are few to none. Its only leverage would be shutting down the Strait of Hormuz thus cutting off a large volume of the world’s oil supply.

Does Samuel Bodman’s call to keep the oil markets fully supplied make more sense now? Bush the classic supply and demand market lover, must foresee a supply crunch to have his Energy Czar tampering with market forces.

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