16 January 2007

Major investment bank issues warning on strike against Iran

The Raw Story has a scoop dated yesterday 15 January 2007.

Michael Roston of Raw Story reports:

"Warning that investors might be "in for a shock," a major investment bank has told the financial community that a preemptive strike by Israel with American backing could hit Iran's nuclear program, RAW STORY has learned.

The banking division of ING Group released a memo on Jan. 9 entitled

"Attacking Iran: The market impact of a surprise Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities."

ING is a global financial services company of Dutch origin that includes banking, insurance, and other divisions. The report was authored by Charles Robinson, the Chief Economist for Emerging Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He also authored an update in ING's daily update, Prophet, that further underscored the bank's perception of the risks of an attack."

Roston further reports:

"In his Jan. 15 update (p.4), Robertson points to a political reason that could make the assault more likely – personnel changes in the Bush administration may have sidelined opponents of attacking Iran.

Preisdent Bush recently removed General John Abizaid as commander of US forces in the Middle East and John Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence, both of whom have said attacking Iran is not a priority or the right move at this time. The deployment of Patriot missile batteries, highlighted in President Bush's recent White House speech on America's Iraq policy, also pointed to a need to defend against Iranian missiles."

The 15 January update also states:

"President Bush's speech included an interesting line ("And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region, to build support for Iraq and continue the urgent diplomacy required to help bring peace to the Middle East. ")
This is a different emphasis from that reported by Bloomberg on 09 January (NI IRAN "Go"), when it cited the State Department spokesman saying that Rice would be going to the Middle East to discuss the "common threat" from Iran and would be "laying the foundations for potential future actions".

I reproduce verbatim the State Department briefing referred to above:

"In terms of the Secretary's travels, this is a trip where I expect that she is going to have some extended conversations with her counterparts and leaders in the region about how to address and confront the various threats that are -- that we face in common in the region"..."I would expect that this is a trip that is more about laying the foundations for potential future actions than actually coming to closure on any particular agreements.

QUESTION: So Iraq will also be part of the discussions?
MR. MCCORMACK: I would expect it will be. Yes, part of the stop in -- all along the way, I would expect that the topics of the Israel-Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq would come up. I would expect also discussions about the perception of a common threat posed by Iran and for other forces of extremism and violence in the region -- violent extremism in the region

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