Reuters is reporting that Barclays Bank’s geopolitical risk analyst says that the chances of an attack on Iran have risen threefold in the past year. Though they rate the chances right now at 25-30%, personally I think they’re underestimating.
But just as interesting was this statement about the unintended consequences of the oil sanctions now being proposed by European and U.S. nations:
“If EU sanctions on Iranian oil were aimed at significantly reducing the flow of revenues to Tehran, they would perhaps seem no more likely to be successful than U.S. sanctions have been since 1988,” the note said.
“An inevitable knock-on effect of an EU embargo would be to push more Iranian oil eastward, without removing Iran’s ability to market all its crude available to export. In other words, the concentration of Iran’s buyers would increase, but the total volume would not be affected.”
In related news, Congress is considering legislation that would criminalize any contact with any representative of Iran or any group having any connection to it:
No person employed with the United States Government may contact in an official or unofficial capacity any person that–(1) is an agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the Government of Iran; and (2) presents a threat to the United States or is affiliated with terrorist organizations.
The idea that the executive branch is the one charged by the Constitution with formulating foreign policy seems to have escaped them. It means, of course, that if the State Department was doing its job properly, several of its diplomats would soon be in leg irons. A pretty sight to envision. Maybe Barack and Hillary can bring them chicken soup at the federal pen.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.