The threat of a military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities this year appears to have substantially subsided over the past several weeks as a result of several developments, including the biting criticisms voiced recently by former top national security figures of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defense minister, Ehud Barak.
That a war seems significantly more remote than during the winter months, when tensions reached an all-time high, was confirmed to some extent Monday when the U.S. "newspaper of record", the New York Times, ran a front-page article entitled 'Experts Believe Iran Conflict is Less Likely' .
But, judging by actual bets placed on the on-line trading exchange, Intrade, the chances that the U.S. or Israel will indeed conduct air strikes against Iran before the end of the year have fallen by more than half since the high reached in mid-February – from just over 60 percent to about 28 percent as of Monday.
That's still a substantial percentage – about twice what it was before the latest round of Israeli sabre-rattling was launched in November.
And it's difficult to find any close observer of U.S.-Israeli-Iran relations who believes that war clouds could not suddenly reappear, particularly if the next meeting of the so-called P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, and France – plus Germany) with Iran scheduled for May 23 in Baghdad should break down or be delayed.
For its part, the administration of President Barack Obama shown little inclination to reduce pressure – and the threat of military action – on Tehran.
Not only has it moved more minesweepers and F-15 fighter jets into the Gulf region, but the Air Force announced Friday that it has deployed an undisclosed ...