Those who have followed the Hamas/Lebanon/Israel battle closely in recent weeks know that the fight is really a proxy between Israel and Iran (or the US, Israel and Iran depending on your perspective). Politics aside, this is not a good thing for trade and supply chain risk in the Middle East throughout 2009 if conflict and tensions remain. I remain hopeful, however, that low oil prices will force oil rich nations in the region to diversify their economies lest they fade into poverty and resort to camel tipping to pass the days. Without a doubt, putting funding for new industries and job training ahead of buying bullets and building nukes to lob across at their neighbors, actions that benefit no one except the extremists in the Arab and Persian worlds, are smart moves. Still, I don't hold out hope. And I'd suggest that those with supply interests in the region (including Israel) consider supply chain risk mitigation strategies (including developing supply relationships outside of the area) in case 2009 becomes a flair-out year for violence and confrontation in the region. While we can all pray for peace, getting down on your knees in hopes of avoiding a supply disruption is not a strategy you should take to your customers or shareholders.
- Jason Busch