AND IN THE REAL WORLD – AT 9:30 A.M. ET: We always ask that our readers not avert their eyes from foreign threats during the election season. The most serious threats right now are coming from Iran, as Con Coughlin of London's Telegraph reports:
Iran's Supreme Leader has ordered the country's Revolutionary Guards to intensify its campaign of terror attacks against the West and its allies in retaliation for supporting the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
According to Western intelligence officials, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gave the order to the elite Quds Force unit following a recent emergency meeting of Iran's National Security Council in Tehran held to discuss a specially-commissioned report into the implications for Iran of the Assad regime's overthrow.
Damascus is Iran's most important regional ally, and the survival of the Assad regime is regarded as vital to sustaining the Iranian-backed Hizbollah militia which controls southern Lebanon.
The report, which was personally commissioned by Mr Khamenei, concluded that Iran's national interests were being threatened by a combination of the U.N. sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear programme and the West's continuing support for Syrian opposition groups attempting to overthrow the Syrian government.
Intelligence officials say the report concludes that Iran "cannot be passive" to the new threats posed to its national security, and warns that Western support for Syrian opposition groups was placing Iran's "resistance alliance" in jeopardy, and could seriously disrupt Iran's access to Hizbollah in Lebanon.
It advised that the Iranian regime should demonstrate to the West that there were "red lines" over what it would accept in Syria, and that a warning should be sent to "America, the Zionists, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others that they cannot act with impunity in Syria and elsewhere in the region."
COMMENT: We take reports like this seriously here. Predictions of Iranian perfidy have generally turned out to be correct. But the president's main objective during his re-election campaign is to avoid rocking the foreign-policy boat, the better to hold his back-to-the-sixties "anti-war" base.
Iran increases in power each day. We are getting nowhere in our half-hearted efforts to stop the Iranian nuclear program, with Iran reaching a zone of immunity, where even a large attack on its nuclear facilities may prove inadequate.
More hope and change we can believe in.
August 23, 2012