I was preparing a post on the Iranian missile firings yesterday, and again today, but I'm going to hold off a bit. Events are moving rather quickly.
The Iranians have threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz and set Israel "on fire" if they are attacked. The US Navy, in the person of the commander of the US Fifth Fleet (Vice-Admiral Cosgriff) says that Iran will not be allowed to do this. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has sent a "message to Iran" that the US ". . .will defend American interests and. . .the interests of our allies." Defend how?
Meanwhile, the Israeli Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, says that Israel is the ". . .strongest country in the region and. . .is not afraid to take action when its vital security interests are at stake." Meanwhile, the Iranians, Little Green Footballs reports, apparently photoshopped pictures of their missile launching, adding some missiles. Why? Maybe because, as the the International Institute of Strategic Studies thinks, the Iranians had a misfire.
On that subject, Haaretz reports that parts of the Israeli military-industrial complex don't appear particularly impressed with the Iranian toys: opining that the Shahab-3 ested is not a new variant of that missile but is the same old liquid-fueled version they've had for years. Liquid fuel can be problematical for a ballistic missile: fueling is not simple, is time-consuming, and produces easily observable plumes and discharges, as watchers of American liquid-fueled space launches can attest. Reliable solid fuel rockets are harder to produce, but the Iranians have models under development.
Naturally, the dollar's falling again, and oil's rising. Was that the object of the exercise to begin with? OPEC warns that if there is war with Iran, oil prices may rise by an unlimited amount, because the loss of Iranian production cannot be made up.
I suppose if there's not war with Iran, oil will go up by an unlimited amount also? When Iran gets its bomb, the Sunnis will have to have one too. How will that be paid for?
We are all moving into uncharted and very dangerous waters. It is not clear to me, and probably to others, that all the players really understand this.