Here's a systems view of the escalating tensions between the US and Iran and why it will likely result in war. The current situation is open loop -- an open loop system is one where all participants are regularly adding inputs without any consideration of the output/outcome. Feedback loops, like direct diplomatic contact or the use of international bodies/mediators to adjudicate disputes, that could typically serve to mitigate further deterioration have been intentionally turned off by those that want this conflict to occur. As are result, inputs from allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia (both fearful of growing Iranian power), impetus from guerrillas/militias forcing sectarian conflict, fears over ongoing nuclear development, mutual military preparation for conflict, and a need to assign blame for escalating counter-insurgency failures continue to drive it forward. At some point in the not too distant future, unless the feedback loops are reinstated, the system will inevitably produce an outcome that will force a war.NOTE: This mechanism puts the January 20th, 2007 attack on US forces in Karbala into perspective. During this attack, guerrillas posed as US military personnel (complete with GMC SUVs, US weapons, radios, IDs, US military camo, and a command of English) entered the provincial governor's compound. They took four US soldiers hostage and killed another through a grenade attack on the governor's offices. They then escaped the compound with Iraqi military in loose pursuit. The four US soldiers captured in the attack were later found with the abandoned SUVs dead, killed execution style. As Bill Rogio maintains, this was likely an Iranian operation (Qods) similar in form to the Hezbollah attack that set off the recent war in Lebanon. Expect more of this escalating tit for tat in the future.