• Growing view that strike, by Israel or US, will happen
• 'Sweet spot' for Israeli action identified as September-October
• White House remains determined to give sanctions time
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim this week that Iran loaded its first domestically-made fuel rod into a nuclear reactor, and Iran's threat to cut oil supplies to six European countries, were read as further evidence that Tehran remains defiantly committed to its nuclear programme. That view was strengthened by the latest Iranian offer to negotiate with the UN security council in a letter that appeared to contain no significant new concessions.
If Obama were to conclude that there is no choice but to attack Iran, he is unlikely to order it before the presidential election in November unless there is an urgent reason to do so. The question is whether the Israelis will hold back that long.
Earlier this month, the US defence secretary, Leon Panetta, told the Washington Post that he thought the window for an Israeli attack on Iran is between April and June. But other official analysts working on Iran have identified what one described as a "sweet spot", where the mix of diplomacy, political timetables and practical issues come together to suggest that if Israel launches a unilateral assault it is more likely in September or October, although they describe that as a "best guess".
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Also here is an exceptional article that further points to another war in the Middle East...
Occam’s Razor states that the simplest explanation is the most plausible. Logic tells us to follow the money – and in this case, the cases of weapons shipped out by the US. So where are they headed to?
In October 2010, the US negotiated a $67 billion deal with Saudi Arabia to supply the latter with bunker-buster bombs, F-15 fighter jets, Black Hawk and Apache helicopters, Patriot-2 missiles and warships. It is, in simple terms, the largest bilateral weapons deal in US history.
One month later, in November, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the United States will provide the United Arab Emirates with “thousands of advanced ‘bunker-buster’ bombs and other munitions, part of a stepped-up US effort to build a regional coalition to counter Iran.”
Washington also plans to supply Stinger and other missiles to Oman. Kuwait is in for $900 million worth of Patriot missiles. And a $53-billion arms deal with Bahrain is still on the agenda – delayed only because of pressure from international lawmakers and human rights groups.
So the United States is increasing military ties with its allies, one might claim. And it is true, but all those allies are conveniently located in the Persian Gulf…right next to Iran.
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Here are some stats and maps.
IRAN OIL EXPORTS: Where Do They Go?
MAPS... US Allies and military bases in the Middle East...
UPDATE...The Bewildered Kingdom....Can't stay on top forever...