Oil markets are holding their breath over Middle East tensions, unsure of whether to push prices up and ignore supply and demand fundamentals as tensions seem to escalate by the day, or whether it’s all just noise.
For now, we will agree with a Foreign Policy assessment that Iran is good at creating chaos through the use of its proxies in the “Axis of Resistance”, but not strong enough to start an outright war with Israel. While tensions continue to mount on multiple fronts (southern Lebanon/northern Israel; the Red Sea; Iraq and Syria), Iran is not taking the opportunity to launch an actual war despite the fact that it is hitting the public airwaves frequently, applauding the unity of Tehran and its proxies. We diverge, however, from Foreign Policy’s rather simplistic assessment that this all shows Iran’s devastating weakness, which in turn will lead it to the final push for nuclear weapons.
Oil market observers would do well to take care not to fall into traps set by talking heads for the mainstream media and (arguably) mainstream think tanks who insist on simplifying everything so they can squeeze into a tidy little bundle, as is consistently done with both Tehran and Moscow (and, of course, Israel).
Israel will not let up on Gaza until Netanyahu secures his power. Iran is not in a position to be the dominant power in the Middle East, and having nuclear weapons (rather than simply working towards that goal) would…