Will Saudi Arabia Support an Israeli Attack on Iran In June? (FORBES) Peter Cohan 02/26/12)
UNITED JERUSALEM Articles-Index-Top
One of the great cliches of war-craft is that the enemy of my enemy
is my friend. This expression comes to mind in considering the
plausibility of a claim made in my recent conversation with a weapons
dealer. He thinks that this June, Israel will use Saudi Arabia as its
base for an attack on Iran’s suspected nuclear site.
This weapons dealer has been traveling to Tel Aviv and Jeddah to meet
with military leaders who are loading up on his specific weapon
category in anticipation of a war with Iran. According to my source —
who is planning another trip to both countries soon to sell more
weapons – the military leaders are looking to launch the attack in
Why would Saudi Arabia support Israel instead of attacking it? The
answer there is that Saudi Arabia is dominated by Sunnis; whereas
Iran’s leaders are Shi’ite. My source believes that Saudi Arabia’s
rage against the Shi’ites exceeds its dislike of its Jewish neighbors.
Meanwhile, my source claims that along with launching missiles on the
nuclear site in Iran, Israel will also occupy southern Lebanon in
order to take control of millions of missiles that Iran has stationed
there to launch aerial attacks on Israel in the event of an Israeli
airstrike on Iran.
Moreover, the U.S. will not be simply an innocent bystander in the
event of a Saudi supported Israeli attack on Iran. Rather, my source
believes that U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan in the
wake of the recent killing of two Americans in a NATO facility.
He expects the U.S. to announce victory in the next few months and to
make the troops in Afghanistan available to support the Israeli
attack on Iran in some way.
Is any of this plausible? The Economist reports that there is a
perception that Iran is enriching uranium. It writes that Iran
is ”acquiring the technology it needs for a weapon. Deep underground,
at Fordow, near the holy city of Qom, it is fitting out a uranium-
enrichment plant that many say is invulnerable to aerial attack.”
And certainly the price of oil has spiked since last February despite
tepid demand and an increase in supply. Oil’s price is up 20% in the
last year — Brent Crude sold for $104 a barrel in February 2011 and
was a whopping $125 a barrel, as of February 24, 2012.
Supply and demand do not explain a 20% leap in the price of crude.
After all, demand growth has been very slow. For example, in 2011,
world oil demand crept up a mere 0.8% and that demand is expected to
rise a mere 0.9% in 2012 to 89.9 million barrels a day, according to
the International Energy Agency.
Meanwhile, the IEA reports that supply is up and is likely to rise in
2012 as well. For example, in January 2012, global oil production was
90.2 million barrels/day — a million barrels/day higher than the year
before. Meanwhile, IEA forecasts a considerable increase in OPEC and
non-OPEC supply in 2012.
And even if Iran stops producing, supply should not be affected. How
so? Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia plans to “increase its output
to cover any shortfall to the world supply from Iranian exports.”
And Reuters reported Saturday that Saudi Arabia had increased exports
to “just over 9 million barrels a day last week, compared with an
average of about 7.5 million in January.” Meanwhile, Iran currently
produces 2.2 million barrels of oil per day — supplying “2.24% of the
daily oil consumption in the world,” according to SeekingAlpha.
Nevertheless, an attack on Iran raises the level of political
uncertainty quite considerably. For example, if there are countries
that are supplying arms to Iran — such as Russia and China – they may
feel compelled to take sides against Israel’s backers.
This would probably be good for those betting on a rise in the price
of oil and gold. But it would not be so good for the global economy —
after all a rise in oil prices would boost gasoline prices and put
the brakes on an economic recovery in the U.S.
Certainly, rising gasoline prices tax consumers’ budgets. According
to AP, “every one-cent increase in the price of gasoline costs the
economy $1.4 billion.” If the price of gasoline rises by, say, $2 a
gallon, that would reduce GDP by about $280 billion — representing 2%
Politically, such a war has the potential to boost President Obama’s
chances for reelection. Even if the U.S. is not directly involved in
fighting Iran, such a military action would make Americans focus
their attention on whether they would prefer the Republican
candidates — none of whom have experience in the military – to a
commander-in-chief who gave the order to kill Osama bin Laden, ended
the war in Iraq, and led the coalition that took out Gaddafi. (2012
Forbes.com LLC™ 02/26/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY