Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Checking In on Middle East Unrest Predictions

Never let it be said that Foggofwar doesn't hold itself accountable to its predictions. Let's go back and see how we did. For now, we won't cover everything--only the interesting ones.

Libya: Certainly the most interesting case, Libya would give Foggofwar the excuse of "intervention by the world's most powerful military alliance." Ironically, we may not even need this prediction: Protests have still not reached Tripoli, and the Rebel/NATO alliance seems to be showing a serious inability to mount an assault across the long stretch of desert, and thus won't overthrow the Gaddafi regime: the West will lose interest before Gaddafi loses will or military capability. As Predicted.

Morocco and Jordan: Protests here have died down largely due to reforms enacted by the governments that have given protesters what they wanted. As Predicted.

Syria: Protests continue to rock the country, despite (or because of) Abbas' crackdowns. Abbas has the ability to keep a lid on the populous through serious security and political liberty reforms, which he may want to do in order to court the West, anyway. But Abbas has infuriated his country and squandered a strong, loyal security establishment. Increased Risk.

Yemen: Rumors fly that the Yemenese president is working with Saudi and US allies to transition out of government... and out of the country. It's been a surprisingly long, sustained fight, but it looks like this current regime is on its way out. As Predicted.

Bahrain: Bahrain has fallen out of the news sphere as of late, as the active unrest has stopped. Interestingly, the sustained crackdown continues, trying to marginalize the supporters of the protests. The regime is safe--for now. But the Shiite majority of the country has been alienated completely. Long-term, the regime will continue to face risk. As Predicted.

Briefly speaking, no other country has surprised us yet in the magnitude of risk or, more importantly, in regime change. Overall, we've done pretty well so far.

But we're happy to be proven wrong if things change.
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