Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year predictions

2011 was a record year for the number of Arab dictators removed from office. The uprisings in North Africa that removed Gaddafi, Mubarak and their colleagues are still playing themselves out. In Syria the violent struggle is still continuing even with the delegation of the Arab League present. Some predictions for 2012; in Syria, Assad will fall and his regime will be replaced under conditions of unprecedented violence and bloodshed and Syria will be exhausted for some time to come. The regimes in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia will be dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and they will try to support their Hamas brothers in Gaza. But, their own financial difficulties will tend to focus their attentions on their serious domestic issues. The Egyptian regime may want to change the Peace Treaty with Israel, but it will be too distracted with other issues to actually do so, they will not be secure enough financially and militarily to risk it all on a war with Israel.

The situation regarding Iran will worsen now that Iran has directly threatened the flow of oil to the world via the Straits of Hormuz (one third of the world's oil supply goes thru there from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait). Now that the US has withdrawn from Iraq, the Shia dominated al Maliki Government will be freer to engage with Iran. The year 2012 may be the critical year in which Iran reaches the threshold of achieving a nuclear weapon and Israel and the US will be forced to take military action against it. The consequences of such a war cannot be predicted. But, it is likely that Israel will unleash the IDF on Gaza prior to attacking Iran to stop them from attacking Israel from the rear while that war is in progress. Hizbollah, that is a great threat to Israel with its 40,000 rockets, will be too distracted with the fall of Assad and will prefer to continue their attempts to take over Lebanon and ensure their power base, rather than lose it all by attacking Israel. Thus, Iran will be stripped of its support from Syria, Hizbollah and Hamas.

The US will be forced to join in the Israeli attack on Iran for two reasons, first they cannot afford to allow Iran to close the straits of Hormuz and second this is the only way that Pres. Obama can achieve a second term. The liberal Democrats are going to vote for him anyway and not for any Republican opponent. But, the Republicans and conservatives will applaud Obama standing up to the Iranian Ayatollahs and supporting Israel, such an attack will be popular in the US, unlike the previous wars with Iraq and Afghanistan. In Iran the war will be purely in the air, US troops will not seek to occupy Iran, so there will be minimal US casualties and amid the chaos and destruction, there will be a sustained uprising, like that in Syria, and the Iranian Guards and their cohorts will be unable to put it down. Out of this will arise a new Iran! Ok, so maybe this is wishful thinking and maybe I'm an incurable optimist, but at least it gives us something good to look forward to in the coming year. Happy New Year!


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