What's going to happen in the Middle East in the short to medium (say 5-10 years)?
The reason I ask is the two people getting the most screen-time figuratively both seemed to have failed at their stated aims.
- George W Bush - Democracy isn't flowering - and if it did the DEA would probably confiscate it.
- Osma Bin Laden - The invasion and subsequent insurgency in Iraq have not lit the touch-paper of Arab muslim rebellion, overturning all those corrupt running dogs of the decadent Western Imperialists and driving the Israelis into the sea (we in New Zealand prefer to drive Israelis to the sea, you know, have a gawk at the view, light up a bbq and maybe have a swim).
I guess the most fertile areas for change are (in no particular order) Iraq, Iran, and Palestine. My feelings on each:
- Iraq: I can see it going two ways. Option 1 is a fractious nation that ends up splitting within 5 years into 3 seperate entities in a bloody civil war. Worst case scenario is a full-on proxy war influenced by Saudi Arabia (for the Sunni), Iran (for the Shia) and Turkey (against the Kurds); which way the Americans go is anyone's guess. Option 2 is a fractitious democracy that is overthrown by a military coup - Baathism by any other name, and possibly supporting overtly one or other religious group (it is hard to see a secular group taking power at this stage in the game, which is a shame). Worst case scenario is another Algeria ... or maybe we could have option 3, which is a happy and peaceful federation with occasional Quebec tendencies.
- Iran: Latest intelligence reports say that Iran could have delieverable nuclear weapons within 3 years, which means either a.) they already have the bomb, and have used it in various small wars already; or b.) Iran doesn't actually exist at all, and the CIA has been mistakenly been using the Star Wars edition Risk board all the time. Actually, up until a short time ago Iran had been quietly tip-toeing towards being a progressive democratic state ... but shit happens and the local equivalent of pCms are back in charge. Anyway, I think the nuclear question will keep dragging on for a long time. The US domestically has no stomach for further action in the area in the short-term, and realistically the window for military action is only open as long as the Iranians don't have Teh Bomb. The Israelis on the other hand ... they're a mad bunch of crackers at the best of time; they're also a smart bunch of mad crackers, so anything is possible - except another airstrike. Too far, too many targets, too much hostile airspace ... unless they stock up on Predator drones and launch covertly from one of Iran's Northern neighbours. No, if the Israelis are involved you can be sure the plan will be so clever you could pin a tail on it and call it a persian squirrel.
- Palestine: More of the same. Sharon was no Nixon, and he didn't quite make it to China. The Israeli/Palestinian issue has been going on for so long you could turn it into a theme-park and charge admission. I'm beginning to think they deserve each other ...
Isn't that James K. Baxter, back from the dead and prepared to punish us for our sins?
You bet your ass it is.
Unfortunately, if you inquire about him sending you a free taikonaut he tends to get a bit shirty.
ps 25 points if you can translate the title of this post. Another 10 points if know what it is a reference to, 30 points if you can explain the hidden double meaning, and 75 points if you refrain from calling me something we'll both regret for being such a nerd.