Flashpoint Mideast: How Bad Will It Get?

Tensions between Israel and Hamas appear to be near a boiling point.

Late in the day, Israel signaled a ground operation may be imminent as forces moved toward the border area.

At least 12 trucks were seen transporting tanks and armored personnel carriers, and a number of buses carrying soldiers arrived.


Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he had authorized the army to call-up additional reservists for possible action. The army said it was prepared to draft up to 30,000 additional troops.

Recent fighting in the area, the heaviest in four years, has already killed 15 Palestinians in two days and brought life to a standstill on both sides of the border.

In a live interview on CNBC's Fast Money, George Friedman the CEO of global intelligence firm Stratfor said the odds of armed conflict are now pretty high.

"The problem is Hamas now has a missile that can reach Tel Aviv and that's unacceptable to Israel."

And he says the conflict could get ugly. "Israel doesn't know how many they have or where they're located – that means Israel will have to go in on the ground.

As serious as events sound, it doesn't necessarily mean the price of oil will spike.

"Events are happening 1000 miles away from oil fields and it shouldn't cause any disruption," said Friedman. "If Iran gets involved then we might see a supply disruption but so far it appears to be isolated."

Posted by CNBC's Lee Brodie

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