Ahmadinejad has a penchant for the somewhat loony, as when he recently denounced Paul the Octopus, omniscient predictor of eight consecutive World Cup matches, as a symbol of decadence and purveyor of “Western propaganda and superstition.”
But for all his clownishness, Ahmadinejad is nonetheless calculating and dangerous. What “two countries” was he talking about, when he recently declared: “They [the United States and Israel] have decided to attack at least two countries in the region in the next three months”? They seem logically to be Lebanon and Syria. Hizbullah in Lebanon has armed itself with 50,000 rockets and made clear that it is in a position to start a war at any time. Fighting on this scale would immediately bring in Syria, which would in turn invite Iranian intervention in defense of its major Arab clients – and of the first Persian beachhead on the Mediterranean in 1,400 years.
The idea that Israel, let alone the United States, has the slightest interest in starting a war on Israel’s north is crazy. But claims about imminent attacks are serious business in the Middle East. In May 1967, the Soviet Union falsely told its client, Egypt, that Israel was preparing to attack Syria. These rumors set off a train of events – the mobilization of Arab armies, the southern blockade of Israel, the hasty signing of an inter-Arab military pact – that led to the 1967 Middle East war.
Ahmadinejad’s claim is not supported by a shred ... >>>
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