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How Iran Has Bush Over a Barrel

(2008-06-16 19:29:32)
标签:

杂谈

分类: 英文
 

How Iran Has Bush Over a Barrel

An aircraft of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards flying over an oil tanker during in the Persian Gulf.
An aircraft of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards flying over an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.
AFP / Getty
If wasn't clear before it should be now: the Bush Administration can't afford to attack Iran. With gas already at $4 a gallon and rising almost every day, Iran figuratively and literally has the United States over a barrel. As much as the Administration is tempted, it is not about to test Iran's promise to "explode" the Middle East if it is attacked

The Iranians haven't been shy about making clear what's at stake. If the U.S. or Israel so much as drops a bomb on one of its reactors or its military training camps, Iran will shut down Gulf oil exports by launching a barrage of Chinese Silkworm missiles on tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and Arab oil facilities. In the worst case scenario, seventeen million barrels of oil would come off world markets.

One oil speculator told me that oil would hit $200 a barrel within minutes. But Iran's official news agency, Fars, puts it at $300 a barrel. I asked him if Iran is right, what does that mean?

"Four-dollar-a-gallon of gasoline only reflects $100 oil because the refiners' margins are squeezed," he said. "At $300, you have $12 a gallon of gasoline and riots in Newark, Los Angeles, Harlem, Oakland, Cleveland, Detroit, Dallas."

In either case, whether at $200 or $300, Bush does not want to be the President who leaves the White House on a mule-drawn cart. But Iran's blackmail is not just about oil. The Iranians truly believe they have us hostage in Iraq — our supply lines, the acquiescence of the Shi'a in the occupation. It would all change in an instant, though, especially if we were to borrow Iraq to attack Iran. The way Fars put it: "In Iraq, fighters would rise up in solidarity with each other and begin ... making the Tet Offensive in 1968 Vietnam."

If this all sounds very alarming, Iran meant it to, and it seems to be working. On Tuesday Bush was talking about the prospect of new sanctions rather than attacking.

Which leaves Israel. Are the Israelis, who have a lot more on their minds than the price of gas in the United States, going to launch a pre-emptive attack? One hard and fast rule in the Middle East is never rule out Israel's readiness to turn the table over. But an Israeli hawk on Iran, with close ties to Israel's Ministry of Defense, told me to forget about it. "There's not a chance Israel will do anything. Maybe there's a window after the American elections and the new President but even that's doubtful. Washington does not have the stomach for another war."

Israel cannot attack or contain Iran on its own; it needs the full military might of the United States behind it. So in the meantime Israel can only huff and puff, hoping new sanctions on Iran will do the trick.

伊朗如何任意摆布布什

如果以前不清楚,现在应该清楚了:布什政府打不起伊朗。汽油已经涨到4美元一加仑,而且几乎每天都在涨,伊朗无论是在象征意义上还是实际上都任意摆布美国。尽管政府蠢蠢欲动,但它不打算考验伊朗说自己一旦受攻击就“引爆”中东的诺言。

  伊朗人并不羞于表明筹码。如果美国或以色列向伊朗反应堆或军事训练营投炸弹,伊朗就会向霍尔木兹海峡的油轮及阿拉伯石油设施连续发射中国桑蚕(Chinese Silkworm)导弹,封锁海湾石油出口。按照最坏的设想,会有1700万桶石油离开世界市场。

  一位石油投机者表示,石油会在几分钟内突破200美元每桶。但伊朗官方新闻机构Fars说会涨到300美元每桶。我问那位投机者伊朗的说法对不对,这意味着什么?

  他表示,“汽油4美元一加仑反映的是100美元每桶的石油价格,因为炼油商的利润受到挤榨。到300美元每桶的时候,一加仑汽油就要12美元,而且纽瓦克(Newark)、洛杉矶、哈林(Harlem)、奥克兰、克里夫兰(Cleveland)、底特律、达拉斯就会有暴动。”

  无论是200美元每桶还是300美元每桶,布什都不希望自己坐着骡拉车离开白宫。但伊朗的勒索不仅仅与石油有关。伊朗人真的相信他们抓住我们在伊拉克的人质——我们的供应线,我们默许什叶派占据。但是,一切将立即改变,特别是如果我们打算借伊拉克袭击伊朗。Fars是这样说的:“在伊拉克,战斗员将团结起来叛变,并开始……制造越南1968年 的‘新年攻势(Tet Offensive)’。”

  这些听起来非常令人担忧,但伊朗就是这个意思,而且似乎奏效了。布什周二(10日)谈论新的制裁,而不是谈论袭击。

  这就剩下以色列了。以色列人的心事远不止是汽油的价格,他们会发起先发制人的袭击吗?中东有一条不可违逆的规则:从来不排除以色列准备翻脸的可能性。但一位以色列鹰派叫我忘掉这条规则。这位与以色列国防部有密切联系的鹰派表示,“以色列没有机会做任何事,可能在美国大选后有新转机,但这也是不能确定的。华盛顿无法再容忍一场战争。”

  以色列无法自己袭击或牵制伊朗;它需要美国的全力支持。因此在此期间,以色列只能气鼓鼓,希望对伊朗的新制裁将达到目的

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