The odds of an American or Israeli airstrike on Iran by March 31, 2007 are 2:1, according to April editions of the Atlantic Magazine. The magazine relies on online betting at tradesports.com, and provides a few details of the circumstances in which each strike might take place.
The Atlantic is known for its predictions of future events, and has held widely respected debates on military strikes on North Korea and Iran. Neither scenarios resulted in a favorable position for the United States. Excerpts follow.
4:1: Overt Air Strike by the United States or Israel by June 30, 2006.
By this date, the United Nations Security Council may have only recently enacted sanctions, such as travel bans or freezing the assets of Iranians associated with the nuclear program. More important, neither the United States nor Israel is likely to risk a strike in the midst of an election year. Israel will have only recently voted in a new parliament, and the United States will be mere months away from mid- term elections.
3:1: Overt Air Strike by the United States or Israel by December 31, 2006.
The November elections will be over in the United States, and a new government will be firmly in place in Israel. But the two powers may continue to defer to the international community, and wait to assess whether sanctions and diplomacy curb Iran’s ambitions.
2:1: Overt Air Strike by the United States or Israel by March 31, 2007.
If Iran continues to make progress toward nuclear weapons capability, despite heavy international pressure, a surgical military strike against one of its key facilities—such as the uranium-enrichment plant in Natanz or the uranium-conversion facility in Isfahan—would become more politically feasible. Analysts at the Eurasia Group, an international consulting firm, predict that surgical strikes are likely “by the [United States] or Israel during the first quarter of 2007.”