One of the things Russ Winter does well as a result of his study of game theory is geopolitical analysis. I don't always agree with him, but he's always thoughtful and provocative. Lately he's been paying a lot of attention to the Iran-Israel situation. Here are his latest thoughts. ~ Lee Adler
In my view Israel has all but guaranteed that they will attack Iran's nuclear facility, and that the timing is imminent. Senior Israeli military and intelligence sources said Wednesday, Feb. 22, that Israel's strategic and military position in the Middle East has taken a sharp downturn.
1. UN inspectors were sent packing empty-handed from Tehran after attempting to gain access to nuke facilities. They were also denied an interview with Mohsen Fakrrizadeh, director of the Parchin project and also believed in the West to be the paramount head of Iran's military nuclear program.
2. The transfer of 20 percent uranium enrichment to Fordo is taken by Western and Israel intelligence experts to have accelerated the pace of enriching large quantities of 20 percent enriched uranium to weapons grade and shortened to an estimated six weeks the time needed for arming a nuclear bomb after a decision in Tehran.
3. There was a threat from Iran's Chief of Staff that Iran will not wait for "its enemies" - Israel and/or the US - to strike and will act first.
Iran for its part must be calculating that its facilities are not vulnerable to strikes at this stage. They have also put a wedge between the US and Israel, who seem engaged in back channel and public feuding. The war parties in Israel and Iran are in full ascendancy. This looks like much more than posturing. The oil embargoes are now hitting Europe hard as Brent Sea oil is now $124. For Iran this is a fiat accompli. Even short of conflict, this pressure on the West is costly.
The issue as I see it is that analysts are overly focused on the US-Iran part of the equation, when the reality points to the grossly under-appreciated Israel-Iran aspect. I believe Israel will be forced to act unilaterally, and at that point all the unpredictable elements of conflict and war will manifest themselves. The key variable for the US is: will Iran attempt to close the strait of Hormuz. I believe they will, and at that point the US will respond accordingly. I don't think the US will be party to the Israeli preemptive attack. Judging from the threat seen in #3, Iran will likely hit the US even if the initial response is passive.
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