Tension between Israel & the US and Iran has been growing the past few months. The economic sanctions are really starting to hurt Iran, but they are also hurting the West with higher oil prices. Blocking Iran’s oil exports is a big sacrifice in today’s tight oil market.
Then, there is the arrival of the third US aircraft carrier in the Middle East in the next week. It’s highly unusual for there to be more than a single aircraft carrier in any location.
Obama has been busy the last few weeks making sure allies such as the UK and France are ready to release oil from their strategic petroleum reserves. This is supposedly because he wants to suppress high gas prices to help the economic recovery. But as I noted in my previous post, this is a spectacularly bad idea. Maybe he just wants them to be ready to pour out oil from the strategic reserves on short notice for a coming actual supply shortfall.
Today, the disturbing information that Israel’s army is cancelling leaves for Passover hit the newswires. The official explanation is problems with Gaza. However, cancelling leaves during the most important Jewish religious holiday sounds like overkill for a few under-equipped armed gangs in Gaza.
Edit: Another piece of information emerged today that Israel has gotten permission to use airfields in Azerbaijan for a strike against Iran. That helps Israel overcome the range problem and avoid having to perform in-air refuelling to reach Iran and fly back again. Also a great place to base search-and-rescue missions from.
Now, there are many reasons why a strike on Iran would be devastatingly dumb, and I think the odds are still against such a strike in the immediate future. But I have been surprised in the past…