The question is not whether there will be a war between Israel and Iran. The question is, will it escalate?
The war has already been going on for some time now. Forgetting the heated rhetoric on both sides, a look at the facts shows that a covert war is currently going on in the Middle East:
January 11 Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, director of the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in central Iran, is killed when two assailants on a motorcycle attach magnetic bombs to his car.
December 11, 2011 At least seven people are killed in a blast at a steel mill linked to Iran's nuclear program in the city of Yasd. Foreign nationals, possibly North Korean, are among the dead.
November 28, 2011 Mysterious explosion heard at nuclear facilities in Isfahan. Explosion confirmed by satellite pictures.
November 12, 2011 Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, the head of Iran’s missile program, and 16 others were killed in a blast at the Alghadir missile base at Bid Ganeh.
September 28, 2011 An Iranian plot to kill a Saudi Ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir, is foiled when Manssor Arbabsiar is detained while trying to fly to Mexico. Gholam Shakuri, another Iranian and reportedly a member of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran, has also been charged.
July 23, 2011 Darioush Rezaeinejad, nuclear scientist, is shot dead while waiting for his child outside of a kindergarten in Tehran.
November 29, 2010 Majid Shahriari, top Iranian nuclear scientist, is killed when a bomb is attached to his car by a motorcyclist in Tehran. Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, a 52-year-old nuclear scientist working for Iran's defense ministry, escapes, though wounded in a separate attack.
January 12, 2010 Quantum field theorist Masoud Alimohammadi is killed just after breakfast by a bomb strapped to a motorcycle in Tehran.
And, in late 2010, it became apparent that the Stuxnet virus was targeting Iranian enrichment facilities. The Stuxnet computer virus has widely been credited to US and Israel. This spring, a foiled attempt in Azerbaijan of an Israeli ambassador, an attack in Bangkok and also New Delhi all targeting Israeli officials or family of officials have been credited to Iran.
Israel has no friends in the region with Egypt now being handed over to powers not friendly with them. Turkey has a strained relationship with Israel since the flotilla incident in May of 2010. In every direction, Israel is a country without a friend.
If Israel (or the US) does not take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities than we are most likely looking at a buildup of nuclear weapons all over the Middle East in the next decade and beyond. Saudi Arabia is already calling the Iranian nuke a ‘Sunni bomb’ and if Iran develops one, Saudi Arabia would most likely feel compelled to follow.
If Israel takes out the nukes in Iran they could gain the favor, though not publicly, of at least Saudi Arabia and perhaps the US for doing their dirty work. If Israel does nothing the world around them gets very unfriendly very quickly.
Israel does not have much to lose by attacking, and may gain a potential friend in Saudi Arabia (the enemy of my enemy is my friend, as they say).
The US is in the middle of an election, and President Obama has come under fire for not backing Israel more. He is under pressure to back Israel, even if they are attacking Iran. Israel is getting a free pass due to the election in the US.
Israel has acted unilaterally before; on September 6, 2007, it took out the Syrian nuclear capabilities. Israel officials have stated that by summer of this year it will be too late to attack due to facilities being moved underground.
With Iran getting crushed under sanctions and Israel without a friend in the region and under pressure to stop Iran, I believe an attack has a 50% chance of happening. Israel is already attacking the infrastructure and scientists, according to officials quoted off the record, and the overt attack is merely an escalation of what is already occurring.
Oil prices will most likely be higher this summer leading up to a potential attack, while an actual attack could send the prices higher than we have seen in history, depending upon Iran’s retaliation and any collateral action.
The speculation that a war could happen, though, should end. The war has already started.