Danny Taggart's Blogarama

A more-or-less daily dose of news, politics, techmology, and any random thoughts that pass through my head.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Do insurgent attacks risk delaying Iraq elections?

As the time for the Iraqi elections approaches, the insurgency is stepping up its attacks on security forces and civilians. Many observers expect the level of violence to continue increasing up to the elections.

The Tradesports contract for Iraqi elections by 1/31/05 is currently at 84. I'm wondering to what extent discrete, spectacular attacks (as opposed to sustained, low-level violence) may cause temporary shocks in the contract market.

My gut reaction is that the contract is undervalued because everyone is already expecting escalating violence. However, this expectation will cause US and Iraqi forces to be especially vigilant in the coming month, thus decreasing the chance of successful attacks (at least relative to common perception).

A similar expectation of insurgent violence existed before the Afghan elections, but there were no significant disruptions on election day. If the same logic holds for the Iraq elections, it may be a good idea to buy the elections contract.