Sunday, February 14, 2010

Middle East Reaching A Fever Point!

But then, when ISN'T it?

Recent developments suggest that a major conflict is imminent.  I first wrote about an impending war with Iran several weeks ago (

Of course, that hasn't come to fruition... yet!  But recent developments suggest that the liklihood of a major military episode has gotten much higher.  Russia had formerly been a staunch supporter of Iran and had gone so far as to threaten to intervene if the U.S. got involved.  Recently, Russia has suggested that its view of Iran's nuclear program has changed.  It now views the emergence of a nuclear Iran as a threat.

According to an article in Times Online, Israel is waging a covert assassination campaign across the Middle East in an effort to stop its key enemies from co-ordinating their activities.  Israeli agents have been targeting meetings between members of Hamas, the leadership of the militant Hezbollah group and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

They are also suspected of recent killings in Dubai, Damascus and Beirut.  While Israel’s Mossad spy agency has been suspected of staging assassinations across the world since the 1970s, it does not officially acknowledge or admit its activities.

The current spate of killings began in December when a “tourist bus” carrying Iranian officials and Hamas members exploded outside Damascus.  The official report by Syria claimed that a tire had exploded, but photographs surfaced showing the charred remains of the vehicle — prompting speculation that a much larger explosion had taken place.

Several weeks later a meeting between members of Hamas, which controls Gaza, and their counterparts from Hezbollah, in its southern Beirut stronghold in Lebanon, was attacked, resulting in several deaths.  Several international networks have said that Iran is disrupting their Farsi-language satellite transmissions, Israel Radio reported Friday.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Iran has been blocking GMail since last Thursday.  BBC Radio, The Voice of America and the German network Deutsche Welle defined the interference as electronic disturbances from Iran.

Any military strike against Iran would be very risky, even according to internal Isreali sources.  While endorsing international efforts to pressure Tehran into curbing sensitive nuclear technologies, Israel has hinted it could resort to force.  But some analysts say Israeli jets would be stymied by the distance to Iran and by its defences.

Asked in a television interview about Israeli leaders' vows to "take care" of the perceived threat, ex-general Dan Halutz, who stepped down as armed forces chief in 2007, said: "We are taking upon ourselves a task that is bigger than us" (

The United States and European nations are trying to enlist other world powers in stepping up sanctions against Iran for its uranium enrichment, a process with bomb-making potential.  Tehran denies having hostile designs, but its anti-Israel rhetoric has stirred war fears.  Some analysts believe Israel, which is assumed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal,  neither confirms nor denies this capability.

It may be that another military confrontation in the Middle East is inevitable.  We hope not.  However, if one should occur, the obvious implications are MUCH higher oil prices and MUCH higher Gold prices. 

Care to weigh in?  Care to disagree?  TAKE ME ON!

Marko's Take

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