Israel, Iran, USA, Oil and WW3 - what day do you predict?
By avalon on Jul 10, 2008
In the last week, Iran has been testing some its missles, commentators in Israel and Iran have been discussing how they're not sure where all the correct places are to bomb (in order to put a halt on Iran's nuclear program) and the price of oil has been doing a roller coaster ride.
With a bunch of old men in various positions in both Israel and Iran (and possibly the USA too), it seems inevitable that there is going to be some sort of military action, so the question becomes when and not if.
Now add to that the possibility of Iran striking back, possibly including targetting the USA (if the USA doesn't join Israel first up), then we now have Iran vs Israel & USA. Those odds would seem stacked against Iran but given the USA's commitment elsewhere (i.e. Iraq and the trouble it has had there), it isn't in a position to do much on the ground in Iran unless it is willing to give up Iraq. What are the odds on the USA will increase its exposure in the middle east? Not likely but that will more likely be influenced by the Jewish community here in the USA - what strings can they pull if Israel doesn't want to go it alone.
Now if the USA joins the fray with Israel (because Iran decides those naval vessels close by are inviting targets), who else is likely to join in Iran's cause? Syria? Others? Russia and China have both resisted the USA in the UN Security council when the USA has pushed for hard sanctions or outcomes on Iran, so one has to wonder to what extent they will pitch in. On the Russian side, they're in the process of supplying one of their most advanced air defence systems to Iran, so there's an obvious friendship here. A point to note is that the commentary on an Israel/USA attack on Iran's nuclear program is desirable before the completion of that air defence project in order to increase its chance of success.
So it would seem that the pieces are now being arranged on the board for some sort of skirmish.
There are two potential wildcards at play here - both the American and Iranian administrations in power are not at all popular with the public at large in their respective countries and at least one has a similar problem on a global scale. The political cost (if it is at all cared about) for voluntarily joining any fray vs Iran is quite possibly too high, but retaliation could be sold. It seems highly unlikely that Iran will strike first, but retaliation might sell - or even be necessary.
So, for you gentle readers, I've got two questions:
- 1. What day do you believe Israel will attack Iran?
- 2. Will this attack escalate to World War III?
Somehow I feel like I should offer a prize to whoever gets both of these questions right, but I'm not sure that any prize for a pair of answers except "never" and "no" is really the sort of prize anyone should offer.
In closing I'll comment on this and its coupling with oil. It should be without a doubt that any attack on Iran is going to further threaten oil supplies and thus drive the price further up. Already the USA is sending $700 billion per year out of the country to pay for oil... if the country isn't broke already, at that rate how long before it is? With the GDP of the USA being 60% made up from consumer spending, if the balance continues to tip towards more money being spent on oil, can the USA afford for there to be any conflict in the middle east that results in an increase of the amount of money devoted to filling up their cars and trucks?