Considering the timing of their provocation - when press attention was turned elsewhere, as were the eyes of Capitol Hill - what meaning did their actions hold?
Considering recent U.S. military history - aka the suicide-boat bomber plowing into the USS Cole off Yemen in 2000 - the Iranians knew very well that speedboats zipping toward ships constituted a provocative act, regardless of where the accompanying audio originated. If we assume - as cannot be refuted by Iran’s release of a five-minute video supposedly detailing the 20-minute incident - that Iran’s speedboats were messing around with the warships, this high-seas bullying would be backed up by the pattern of British sailors being taken hostage in 2004 and 2007.
And, finally, consider that if Iran provokes us into a response with its dangerous games, it could alter the course of the election.For all of the Ramsey Clark fringe lefties that have insisted we’re just dying to attack Iran next, being goaded into battle by the Islamic Republic would turn into mainstream left-of-
center ammunition charging that Republicans are uncontrollably militaristic and not - dare I say - “change agents.”
Iran desperately needs an anti-war president to win in 2008. It needs the heat off its back, particularly as it proceeds with its nuclear “energy” program and forges alliances with anti-American regimes in Latin America. “We must get ready to rule the world … the Islamic government in Iran is the prerequisite for a worldwide Islamic state,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in fall 2006.
In its Jan. 8 coverage of the New Hampshire primaries, the Islamic Republic News Agency focused solely on Barack Obama’s poll lead over Hillary Clinton going into the day’s vote. “But I don’t want to just end the war, I want to change the mind-set that got us into the war,” IRNA quoted Obama, apparently from a rally the day before the primary. No doubt IRNA eagerly interpreted this as a de facto acceptance of American blame.
Obama had already earned points last summer, though, by stating he would meet with rogue leaders including Iran, thus offering legitimacy to a regime that frequently trumpets “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”