February 19, 2012

Dictator Watch - World War Iran edition

Iran is trending towards being a danger spot for a breakout of hostilities very quickly, and it looks like there is the potential for it to drag everyone into something of a broader conflict. France is being affected, Israel is widely seen as a future Iranian target, and meanwhile Russia and China are likely to back Iran in any conflicts as they did with Syria, an Iranian ally.

While Britain is worried that there could be an escalation of tensions with Iran, Iran is stopping oil to the U.K. and France:
"Exporting crude to British and French companies has been stopped ... we will sell our oil to new customers," spokesman Alireza Nikzad was quoted as saying by the ministry of petroleum website.
Meanwhile reports are that they are on the brink of a nuclear capabilities jump in their peaceful purposes nuclear facilities built in bunkers deep underground.
Iran is poised to greatly expand uranium enrichment at a fortified underground bunker to a point that would boost how quickly it could make nuclear warheads, diplomats tell The Associated Press. They said Tehran has put finishing touches for the installation of thousands of new-generation centrifuges at the cavernous facility -- machines that can produce enriched uranium much more quickly and efficiently than its present machines.

While saying that the electrical circuitry, piping and supporting equipment for the new centrifuges was now in place, the diplomats emphasized that Tehran had not started installing the new machines at its Fordo facility and could not say whether it was planning to.

Still, the senior diplomats -- who asked for anonymity because their information was privileged -- suggested that Tehran would have little reason to prepare the ground for the better centrifuges unless it planned to operate them. They spoke in recent interviews -- the last one Saturday.
The United States is not so naive as to be standing by - at least diplomatically.  When the time comes the Obama administration may be reticent to help out Israel, but at least they are talking;
JERUSALEM — President Barack Obama’s national security adviser huddled with Israeli leaders on Sunday to discuss Iran’s nuclear program following growing speculation that Israel is planning military action against Tehran. 
 Tom Donilon was to meet with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak before leaving on Monday.
While the White House seems on the surface, worried about Israel's possible actions, with Iraq and Afghanistan slowing or slowed to a halt, and a president with precious little to trade on for re-election, perhaps the president sees Iran as a way to build on his tough guy image which he didn't really even earn when the navy seals got Bin Laden.

I'm not one for conspiracies, and I don't believe it's the case, but it almost seems as if the die has been cast for a regional conflict to grow into something far more substantial and global in nature.  If China and the United States end up on opposite sides of a military conflict, even if by proxy, there will be trade and balance of payment implications that should have both countries very concerned, in addition to the potential damages of the hostilities themselves.  That's something that should have everyone worried right now.  

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