Strategic assessment | Middle East: Scenarios of conflict escalation

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<strong>Strategic assessment | Middle East: Scenarios of conflict escalation</strong>

Our strategic report provides an assessment on the risk of interstate conflict in the Gulf, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. We look at the regional threats, possible theatres for escalation and cyber threats in the Iran-US tensions. 

Key findings:

  • The likelihood of a military confrontation between Iran and the US will probably remain high in the coming months as there are few incentives and pathways to de-escalate.
  • The Gulf is the most likely location of military exchanges between the two. But these would probably be a series of targeted operations rather than a sustained conflict.
  • Even a brief confrontation would probably have a region-wide impact. Iran-aligned groups are unlikely to go beyond sporadic and unattributable attacks against US interests, however.

This assessment was sent to clients of Risk Advisory's Security Intelligence & Analysis Service (SIAS) on 1 July 2019.

Image: Norwegian owned Front Altair tanker said to have been attacked in the waters of the Gulf of Oman, 13 June 2019; -/AFP/Getty

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