If one only looks at equity or FX futures this morning, one would completely ignore the real action in the last few hours which is all about crude, where Brent just passed back above $100 and WTI is up over $3 on the session. The reason is that the market's ultra short term attention span has noticed the following piece from the NYT, which says nothing new, and which Zero Hedge readers have known for a while, yet as a regurgitation of an old theme, provides at least a "new" short-term catalyst: "The United States has quietly moved significant military reinforcements into the Persian Gulf to deter the Iranian military from any possible attempt to shut the Strait of Hormuz and to increase the number of fighter jets capable of striking deep into Iran if the standoff over its nuclear program escalates. The deployments are part of a long-planned effort to bolster the American military presence in the gulf region, in part to reassure Israel that in dealing with Iran, as one senior administration official put it last week, “When the president says there are other options on the table beyond negotiations, he means it.” Supposedly this is news, even though a month ago we observed the latest very much expected accumulation in the 5th Fleet in "And Meanwhile, In The Arabian Sea..."
Of course, the escalation posturing continues on both sides, as Russia and China are no longer shy about their particular interests in the region: "Iran said on Tuesday it had successfully tested medium-range missiles capable of hitting Israel in response to threats of military action against the country, Iranian media reported. The Islamic Republic announced the "Great Prophet 7" missile exercise on Sunday after a European Union embargo against Iranian crude oil purchases took full effect after another fruitless round of big powers talks with Tehran. Iran's official English-language Press TV said the Shahab 3 missile with a range of 1,300 km - able to reach Israel - were tested along with the shorter-range Shahab 1 and 2."
And just to make sure if and when all hell breaks, NATO is involved too, we read that Turkey scrambled jets for the third day in a row just to keep the provocations going. From Reuters:
Turkey's armed forces command said on Tuesday it had scrambled F-16 fighter jets for a third consecutive day on Monday after Syrian transport helicopters were spotted flying near to the Turkey-Syrian border, but there was no violation of Turkish airspace.
It said in a statement a total of six jets, four from a base in Incirlik in the south and two from Batman in eastern Turkey were scrambled in response to Syrian helicopters flying south of the Turkish province of Hatay, within 1.7-4.5 nautical miles of the Turkish border.
Actually, in retrospect perhaps one should ask why it isn't WTI that is crossing back over $100 following this barrage of belligerent news.
Finally, here is how the US naval distribution around the world looked like as of last week, courtesy of Stratfor: