Such attacks would present the Obama administration with the option of undertaking a limited war against Iran by striking its warships and shore-based anti-ship missiles to keep the Gulf open for business.
“One of the things that Iran has exercised, has the capability to do, is shut down the Persian Gulf,” Mr. Johnson said. “The best-case scenario is they shut it down for a week. The worst case is they shut it down for three to four months.”
He said Iran could unleash small boats laden with explosives “that we don’t have adequate covers for. Add to that the ability to fire multiple missiles. Our naval force will try to stop it, and that’s the hope.”
Mr. Johnson, now a consultant on counterterrorism, said Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which has orchestrated attacks against the U.S. in Iraq, also likely would hit targets in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.
“I think we would be looking at a significant wave of terrorist retaliation by them,” he said.
Over the past two weeks, Israeli media have reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been seeking consensus on attacking Iran’s nuclear sites ahead of a U.N. atomic agency report last week that said the Islamic republic has engaged in activity consistent with building a nuclear weapon.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr., a former senior Pentagon official who runs the Center for Security Policy, said Iran’s ruling mullahs have always had designs on attacking the U.S., and an Israeli attack might prompt them to do so.
“I think they will try to do as much damage to as many of us as they can,” Mr. Gaffney said. “My guess is they will try options to have Hezbollah cells engage in attacks around the world against our forces.
Iran this year launched an aggressive public relations campaign to convince the West that it has assembled a powerful arsenal of guided anti-ship missiles that can be launched from hard-to-find mobile batteries on shore.
In addition, Tehran said in February that it had begun mass production of a ballistic missile with a range of nearly 200 miles. In August, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally unveiled another anti-ship missile, the Ghader.
“The best deterrent is not allowing the enemy to dare to attack the country,” he said.
Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George W. Bush and President Obama have advised caution in choosing a military option to slow Iran’s drive to build an atomic bomb.View Entire Story
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