The Washington Times
The authors, Michael Eisenstadt and Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy.
- Terrorist attacks on Israeli, Jewish, and U.S. targets. Likely but causing limited destruction.
- Kidnapping U.S. citizens, especially in Iraq. Likely, but limited in impact, as in the 1980s in Lebanon.
- Attacks on Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Very likely, especially via proxies, but causing limited destruction.
- Missile strikes on Israel. Likely: a few missiles from Iran get through Israeli defenses, leading to casualties likely in the low hundreds; missiles from Hezbollah limited in number due to domestic Lebanese considerations. Unlikely: Hamas getting involved, having distanced itself from Tehran; the Syrian government, which is battling for its life against an ever-stronger opposition army and possibly also the Turkish armed forces. Overall, missile attacks are unlikely to do devastating damage.
- Attacks on neighboring states. Likely: terrorism, because deniable. Unlikely: missile strikes, for Tehran does not want to make more enemies.
- Clashes with the U.S. Navy. Likely: but, given the balance of power, does limited damage.
- Covertly mining the Strait of Hormuz. Likely, causing a run-up in energy prices.
- Attempted closing the Strait of Hormuz. Unlikely: difficult to achieve and potentially too damaging to Iranian interests, for the country needs that same strait for commerce.
The USS Enterprise – how serious is the Iranian threat against it?
Illustration by Linas Garsys for The Washington Times.
Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. © 2012 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.