In what's described as a "farewell tour," President Bush is on a six-country European visit. Included in his agenda is asking his hosts to make greater contributions to Afghanistan -- both in money and troops, as well as the ongoing issue of Iran's nuclear program.
When asked about Iran at a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Bush repeated his standard refrain of, "all options are on the table."
The president has used this statement frequently in the past, but it seems to have lost its luster since used at the Rose Garden in 2006 when responding to reporters about Iran's nuclear file and Ahmadinejad's defiance regarding it. At that time, analysts and pundits predicted an attack on Iran was imminent.
This time however, the buzz was missing, and his veiled threat to Iran seems of little concern to Ahmadinejad. If anything the Iranian president has been mocking Bush's threats, saying "Bush's time is up, and he was not able to harm even one centimeter of our land." He went on to describe an attack on Iran by Bush as "wishful thinking."
Obviously Mr. Bush did not make a direct threat about attacking Iran; many experts would argue the "all options on the table" slogan can mean many things. There is the economic sanctions option, the United Nations option, the diplomacy option, the IAEA option and the list goes on. But in the Middle East, Bush's words mean only one thing: the military option. This is how most journalist colleagues of mine interpret it whenever Bush or Rice makes such statements. They always ask me "is Bush going to attack Iran?", as if I were a guru on the Bush administration's war intentions.
Their fears however, are legitimate. Despite all the Bush administration's woes -- the Iraqi debacle, the economy, oil prices, and most recently the US Supreme Court's decision on Guantanamo prisoners -- the administration's surrogates continue to rattle the saber towards Iran in the U.S. media. Just last night I was watching FOX news and talk about hitting Iran was ongoing.
What will happen if the U.S. even drops one bomb on Iran?
All oil exports from Iran will cease, removing close to twenty million barrels of oil from world markets within days. Iran would stop traffic in the Strait of Hormuz by attacking oil tankers. It may even attack key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other Gulf countries with its arsenal of Chinese Silkworm missiles.
If people are lamenting over gas prices approaching five dollars, I guarantee you that they will top off $10.00 at the pump and more than $200 a barrel within hours of an attack. The US can't afford to attack Iran and Ahmadinejad knows this. That's why he has a grin on his face.
Jamal Dajani produces the Mosaic Intelligence Report on Link TV