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An imminent attack would seem unlikely, given the weakness of
the Israeli and US administrations, and hopes for regime change in Iran.
However, Iran’s threats to Israel’s existence, and fears that it will acquire
nuclear weapons within two years, suggest that President Bush may
sanction action before he leaves office at the end of 2008.
However, within a month the US will have two aircraft carrier battle
groups and a new expeditionary Marine strike force in the Persian Gulf,
which might provide a shield for an Israeli bombing of Iran’s facilities. Israel
reportedly has the weaponry to at least delay the nuclear programme.
A key imponderable is the extent of Iranian retaliation.
Source - PDF
One big worry for America would be the effect of a short air war in Iran on world oil supplies. Here a new note from the investment bank ING is relatively reassuring*.
True, Iran produces 4m barrels of oil a day, twice what Iraq was producing in 2002: but spare capacity in OPEC countries has soared over the past 1-2 years to almost 4m barrels a day, more than enough to substitute for Iranian exports.
America, too, has been building up its Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is now 95% full and could sustain the country for 75 days without a drop of imported oil—though in practice supplies would continue to be available from Nigeria and other unaffected producers.
Originally posted by missed_gear
If Iran attacks the US (or coalition vessels) and/or attempts to close the strait in retaliation, the US will be positioned as the defender and Iran as the militant aggressor.