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Israel Likely to Bomb Iran This Year: Political Analyst

Thomas Mackenzie, Assistant Producer, CNBC

Israel will bomb Iran and it’s increasingly likely to happen this year, according to Alastair Newton, Senior Political Analyst at Nomura.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem May 10, 2009. REUTERS/Ammar Awad (JERUSALEM)
Ammar Awad

Though observers as prominent as President Barack Obama have emphasized that Israel has no firm plans to attack Iran, Newton said the political pieces were aligning in Israel that would make it easier for its leaders to attack a country they believe is trying to build nuclear weapons. He said the markets should be watching events on the ground in Israel “very, very closely indeed.”

“I’ve long taken a view that sooner or later, if push comes to shove, Israel will bomb Iran,” said Newton. “I’m getting a little bit more concerned this year, not because of the rhetoric but because of facts on the ground.”

Newton said Israel’s political leaders were gearing up for an early general election that would likely see the incumbent, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, comfortably re-elected.

“We don’t need to have a general election in Israel until the early fall of 2013 but it clearly is looking like he’s going to make his move this year,” he said.

Newton said that would give Israel a window of opportunity ahead of the US presidential electionsin November, to launch an attack.

“A lot of people who watch these things very carefully are very concerned that the hawks in Israel will be seeing that as a potential window, especially if it looks like Barack Obama, who does not have a good relationship with Netanyahu, is going to win a second term,” he said. “The risks this year are greater than at any time for a very, very long period.”