The Wall Street Journal reports on intelligence suggesting militants in the region will abruptly go on the offensive against the U.S. if the Obama administration bombs Syria:
The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria, officials said, amid an expanding array of reprisal threats across the region.
Military officials have been trying to predict the range of possible responses from Syria, Iran and their allies. U.S. officials said they are on alert for Iran’s fleet of small, fast boats in the Persian Gulf, where American warships are positioned. U.S. officials also fear Hezbollah could attack the U.S. Embassy in Beirut.
…Syrians could also respond with “a vicious offensive” against the opposition inside Syria, said Aaron David Miller, a former top Middle East negotiator in the State Department who now is a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center. Such a move, he said, would be a way “to demonstrate defiance” without running the risk of hitting American targets.
Throughout the whole debate on Syria there has been no public acknowledgement by Obama officials that these kind of consequences are likely to occur in the event of a U.S. attack. Such officials, like Kerry, Hagel, and Dempsey, are too busy downplaying all the negative aspects of intervention.
But such consequences were not difficult to predict. As Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote several months ago, “American involvement would simply mobilize the most extreme elements of these factions against the U.S. and pose the danger that the conflict would spill over into the neighborhood and set Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon on fire.”
Not only are there risks of violent repercussion in the immediate sense of the Syrian conflict, but this would also add one more grievance to a list of many that disgruntled terrorists will cite as justification for attacking Americans, whether in Times Square, on a plane over Detroit, or an embassy abroad.
If there is anyone who still believes a “limited,” punitive attack on the Assad regime is going to be clean and quick and free of an entangling backlash, they need to pull their head out of John Kerry’s rear.