For the first time in decades, the Middle East is on the brink of a war that could involve multiple countries … on multiple fronts … with many dimensions — civil war, guerrilla war, religion-based war and economic war.
We now know — based on public official pronouncements and even quantitative measures — that the probability of war is now extremely high:
At the Lloyds of London, where brokers set insurance premiums for oil tankers in the region, rates are rising rapidly.
In the global oil markets, where traders and speculators factor in the risk of war, prices have moved steadily higher.
And right at this very moment, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu are getting ready to meet at the White House TODAY — in the first of several steps on the path to war.
Most people know what their agenda is: How to bridge differences in their most like war scenarios.
What most people DON’T yet realize, however, is that those differences are now more tactical than strategic:
- Mr. Netanyahu wants to attack before Iran’s nuclear capability is so deeply protected underground that it’s beyond the reach of Israel’s most powerful bombs.
- Mr. Obama, meanwhile, is willing to wait longer — not just because he wants to give economic sanctions a chance to work, but also because America’s bunker-busting bombs can penetrate more deeply into the ground.
But here’s the key: The only major point of disagreement between them is not WHETHER to attack Iran.
It’s merely WHEN.
Indeed, it’s safe to say that …
The probability of major regional war is now as great as — or greater than — it was in the days before the Yom Kippur War.
And that was in 1973, nearly four decades ago! Since then, a lot has changed!
Indeed, as I explained here last week, this conflict brings to the fore a series of new dangers that were not of major concern in prior Middle East wars.
Specifically, unlike the situation in the 1970s, we now have …
• Popular rebellions and revolutions in oil-producing countries across the region.
• Nuclear weapon capabilities — and near-term nuclear ambitions — in the Middle East ITSELF … and under the auspices of very unstable regimes.
• Major powers, such as the U.S., E.U. and Japan, that are now far more vulnerable to the economic consequences, due to their massive government debts and unprecedented reliance on foreign energy sources. Plus …
• A far more powerful China, which is rapidly eating up natural resources and contributing to drum-tight oil supplies.
So what’s next?
We now have confirmation from multiple sources that, with or without U.S. approval, Israel is planning a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities within the next few months.
We now know that the Iranian regime has overtly and publicly warned that it will take pre-emptive action against perceived foes if it feels its national interests are threatened.
Most important, it’s hard to imagine any Iranian-Israeli war scenario that does not directly or indirectly involve the entire region and some of the most powerful nations in the world, including the U.S., Russia and China.
If you hear the drumbeat of news on a day to day basis, you can lose site of the magnitude of the crisis. But just step back for a moment and consider how it has escalated …
* Iran has repeatedly rebuked legal demands by the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect its nuclear sites.
* The European Union has voted to embargo Iranian oil imports.
* Iran has pledged to halt oil exports to the UK and France to pre-empt that embargo.
* Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz — one of the world’s busiest oil shipping lanes used by ALL of the world’s major nations.
* Iran has overtly threatened to use its ballistic missiles to strike Israel’s population centers.
* Iran has the support of the world’s largest country (Russia) AND, at the same time, of the world’s most populous country (China) as well, which buys a whopping 30% of its oil.
* Iran is the driving force of a long-standing cold war within the Middle East — pitting Shia against Sunni and pitting its allies (including Iraq) against the allies of oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
* Iran is THE primary arms supplier to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, organizations which remain in a state of war with Israel.
* Iran is THE big regional ally of the one Middle East country where war is now already exploding: Syria … where President Bashar al-Assad has responded to local rebellions with brutal efficiency, killing an estimated 7,500 citizens in less than a year.
How does the Syrian conflict play into the looming war? Just connect the dots, and you will see that …
* Syria ALSO has advanced supersonic cruise missiles that could strike Israeli population centers.
* Syria also could strike Israel through its alliances with Hezbollah and Lebanon and Hamas.
* And Syria would have every reason to join Iran in a war against Israel in order to “unite” its people and justify its current efforts to squash its internal rebellion.
The clincher is that, throughout each of these conflicts …
All roads lead to one place and one
resource: The Persian Gulf and OIL.
The Persian Gulf and the countries that surround produce 43% of the world’s yearly crude oil supplies and are responsible for 64% of the world’s oil reserves.
So it’s widely recognized that any disruption — let alone DESTRUCTION — of those supplies would create havoc in global oil markets.
What’s not widely recognized is that this time the stakes are higher, involving more countries, more oil, more money, and as I stated earlier, more dangers!
Right now, oil prices are already rising as tensions in the Middle East escalate, and it’s no secret that higher crude prices translate directly into higher gasoline costs at the pump.
Those trends are likely to continue, and even accelerate, as the region draws ever closer to war.
So if there’s anyone in America who still doesn’t “get it,” the coming events will make it PAINFULLY obvious that the U.S. must urgently shift away from its dependence on foreign oil.
It must shift toward a new energy source that is cheaper than crude oil, which will not threaten our national security, and which is available DOMESTICALLY!
Fortunately, there is ONE energy source that meets ALL of those requirements: Natural gas.
Good luck and God bless!