European diplomat based in Islamabad says Israeli strike would force Pakistan to support Iranian retaliation, while EU official says 'political and economic consequences of attack would be catastrophic for Europe'
Is the world counting down to "D-Day"? After US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta estimated that Israel would attack Iran by June, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned government officials against "Iran chatter," A European diplomat based in Pakistan said that if Israel attacks, Islamabad will have no choice but to support any Iranian retaliation.
The diplomat's statement raised the specter of putting a nuclear-armed Pakistan at odds with Israel, which is widely believed to have its own significant nuclear arsenal.
To some, the greatest risk of an attack was to the moribund world economy. Nick Witney, former head of the EU's European Defense Agency, said "the political and economic consequences of an Israeli attack would be catastrophic for Europe" since the likely spike in the price of oil alone "could push the entire EU, including Germany, into recession."
He said this could lead to "messy defaults" by countries like Greece and Italy, and possibly cause a collapse of the already-wobbly euro.
Witney, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, added that "the Iranians would probably retaliate against European interests in the region, and conceivably more directly with terrorism aimed at Western countries and societies."
Meanwhile, Iran continued to raise the bar, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander on Sunday warned that the Islamic Republic will target any country where an attack against it is staged.
Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard, Iran's most powerful military force, did not elaborate. His comments appeared to be a warning to Iran's neighbors not to let their territory or airspace be used as a base for an attack.
On Friday, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called Israel a "cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut," and boasted of supporting any group that will challenge the Jewish state.