The second was that the Iranians know how to raise oil prices.
- Interdicting the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf through the use of mines and anti-ship missiles.
- Causing massive destabilization in Iraq.
- Use Hezbollah to initiate a conflict with Israel, and as a global tool for terrorist attacks on American and allied targets.
Washington would have to take three steps.
- First, Iranian anti-ship missiles and surface vessels — and these vessels could be very small but still able to carry out mine warfare — on the Iranian littoral would have to be destroyed.
- Second, large formations of Iranian troops along the Iraqi border would have to be attacked, and Iranian assets in Iraq at the very least disrupted.
- Finally, covert actions against Hezbollah assets — particularly assets outside Lebanon — would have to be neutralized to the extent possible.
Tehran faces a “use-it-or-lose-it” scenario. It cannot wait until the United States initiates hostilities
Sanctions on gasoline would in fact cripple Iran, so like Japan prior to Pearl Harbor, the option of capitulating to sanctions might be viewed as more risky than a pre-emptive strike
Iran must act first, using its military assets before it loses them.
Moreover, neither side is really confident in its military options.
The events of the past week were designed to show the Americans that Iran is not prepared to back down
The Iranian move is deliberately designed to rattle U.S. President Barack Obama. He has shown a decision-making style that assumes that he is not under time pressure to make decisions. It is not clear to anyone what his decision-making style in a crisis will look like.
putting Obama in a position where he is psychologically unprepared for decisions in the timeframe they need to be made in is certainly an added benefit.