Friday, September 3, 2010

War Talk Heating Up Again

Chatter has been increasing again this week about a possible attack on Iran. But this time around, some different elements are in play:
  • The impetus is coming mostly from the Saudis. They liked the protective buffer our presence in Iraq provided, and are very concerned that Iran will fill the power vacuum as we withdraw.
  • While Iran's potential nuclear capability is still a concern, the Saudis see the whole Iranian military as a threat.
  • The prime actor would likely be the US instead of Israel, since Israel does not have the power to deal with these new concerns -- plus the situation has grown beyond their parochial interests.
  • A potential reaction from Hezbollah may have been mitigated by visits of Saudi King Abdullah to Lebanon and Syria, leaving an Iranian mining of the Strait of Hormuz as the largest concern. 
  • The initial strike would likely be against Iranian military capability in the Strait, followed by attacks on their nuclear infrastructure.  The aerial bombing at Bandar Abbas and other Iranian naval bases and military sites would be of a more strategic nature -- something the US is best at.
An attack would certainly negatively affect economic markets worldwide, and increase the price of oil dramatically.  The new moon is on Wednesday, but attacks could be performed outside of that window.  US markets will be closed on Monday for Labor Day.

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