While the world’s focus has been elsewhere in recent weeks, two events have pushed the Israel – Iranian conflict back to the top of the agenda in foreign policy circles.
In the US, the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense has been met with significant opposition from Republicans who see him as soft on Iran. He has gone on the record in 2006 as saying, “A military strike against Iran, a military option, is not a viable, feasible, responsible option.” While he has moderated his stance somewhat since then to become a more palpable nominee, the consensus is that Hagel is dead set against a US strike on Iranian nuclear installations.
With the expected confirmation of Hagel, how will Israel respond? As the only other country that has skin in the game Benjamin Netanyahu will either need to go it alone or decide that a military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is not possible without American support.
Now that Netanyahu is facing increased pressure from the international community about Jewish settlements, he is quick to focus to the news on Iran. This week Netanyahu stated in a cabinet meeting, “The problem in the Middle East is Iran's attempt to build nuclear weapons ... This was, and remains, the main mission facing not only myself and Israel, but the entire world."
One interesting place to look for guidance on major world events like the Iran nuclear conflict is Intrade. This is a futures market where people bet on the outcome of political and world events that may or may not happen. The market for USA and/or Israel to execute an overt Air Strike against Iran before 30 Jun 2013 has slid to an all time low of $0.90 per share down from a high of $5 in September 2012. This shows that the markets are not convinced that an attack on Iran is imminent any time soon.