Israel/Palestine: The Politics of a Two-State Solution

  • Israel/Palestine and the Politics of a Two-State Solution
  • When Peace Fails: Lessons from Belfast for the Middle East

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Predictions for the Middle East and Irish Politics

After years of amusing myself by watching the pundits having their ignorance played back to them on Nightline and in rival press columns, I am publicly putting my predictions forward. As my crystal ball has been in the shop for decades I claim no special insight into the future. My predictions are based only on the future being like the recent past and present.

One, Netanyahu will call elections this year and will emerge as prime minister again. Whether he calls them before attacking Iran in order to gain a popular mandate for such an action or after is anyone's guess. I'm guessing that being cautious he will be reelected then move to attack Iran.

Two, continued Islamist victories in Arab Spring elections in Egypt and elsewhere will make Israel more cautious than ever (except towards Iran) and make Hamas and Hezbollah provocative.

Three, Egypt will attempt to unilaterally alter the peace treaty with Israel by ending diplomatic relations.

Four, if Obama's reelection looks very uncertain he may attempt to strike against Iran or implement more stringent sanctions in order to win more support and ensure Israel's safety.
Five, Romney will pander to Jewish voters over Israel but most will vote for Obama. Romney's pandering, however, will help him with Evangelical Protestant conservative Republicans.

Six, with no major elections scheduled for Northern Ireland, the Sinn Fein--DUP relationship will continue smoothly. The UUP, TUV, and SDLP will continue to decline in importance. The new leadership of the SDLP will make little difference to the party's fortunes. There will be an uneasy relationship between the mainland Conservatives and the UUP.

Seven, Gerry Adams will attempt to become more of a figure in Southern Irish politics leaving Martin McGuinness to run the North. Fine Gael will recover its position as the preeminent party in Irish politics following the collapse of Fianna Fail in 2010. Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein and Labour will all compete for second place in Irish party politics. This may take several years to resolve. I'm betting that ultimately Fianna Fail will emerge in second place behind Fine Gael and ahead of both Labour and Sinn Fein. Labour should also remain ahead of Sinn Fein. 

Eight, if there is no further crash among the PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain) in Europe and the Euro remains at its present level then Obama will likely be reelected over the Republican nominee, who will most likely be Romney. If there is a crash causing a major devaluation of the Euro then that will travel across the Atlantic leading to a return to recession or even depression. In that case the GOP nominee will win the election even if it is Ron Paul (who won't be the nominee). 

Nine, if there is a Euro crash this will either lead to a major shrinking of the Euro zone to leave out southern Europe and Ireland or the creation of a central bank with powers to devalue the currency, raise interest rates etc. --in other words the creation of a real monetary and economic zone. Short of that the European project will eventually stall and collapse.

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