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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How good were my weekend predictions?

I was occupied with other things this past weekend, so on Wednesday night I posted a few predictions about what the weekend might have in store. Let's look at how I did:

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Yemen - "Saleh is out by Monday or a full-fledged civil way will be underway"

Correct.

I know I hedged my bets with two possible outcomes, but between Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula taking over a town in south yemen, the entire Hashed tribe taking up arms against Saleh’s troops, Yemeni air force jet fighters doing air strikes on the Al-Qaida holdings and the Yemeni military attacking protesters elsewhere, I'd say this looks a lot like a civil war.

Interestingly enough, the opposition has insisted that they will continue to fight Al-Qaeda after Saleh is removed (and will even make a deal with the US to that effect). One of the reasons why the US has been tentative in its actions regarding Saleh is because he has actively participated in the US-led war on terror, particularly against AQAP. If the opposition can convince the State Dept that they are sincere in this offer it won't just peel the last vestiges of American support away from Saleh, it will actually earn the opposition some support (and probably some reconstruction funds from the US as well).

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Syria - "High profile military defections and major violence on Friday"

Relatively accurate (but pretty vague too).

There have been several defections, but nothing high profile. As far as major violence, the horrific torture, murder, and mutilation of 13 year old Hamza Ali al-Khateeb by Syrian state security has spurred larger and angrier protests. Syrians are beginning to take up arms against the military which means we may see something more akin to Libya unfolding over the next week.

Here's the facebook page - We are all Hamza Ali al-Khateeb

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Israe/Palestine - "Israeli Military strikes on Gaza within 24 hours of the permanent Rafah/Egypt border opening. Protesters get shot somewhere. Rockets from Gaza fail to hit anything."

I was off on all three points. This was a pretty pessimistic prediction on my part, and I’m happy to be wrong about this.

A few additional points on this topic - there haven’t been any missile attacks on Israel from gaza since the start of unity talks between Hamas and Fateh. This suggests two things -

1. Hamas doesn’t want to risk the talks falling through, so they’re keeping a tight lid on things.
Or
2. The assholes with the rockets are just waiting for the right time.

As far as protest-related violence, the Israeli military is expecting some next week in connection with the anniversary of the 1967 war (AKA the Six-day war).

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Libya - "Tunisian troops exchange fire with pro-Gaddafi forces along the border. 3-5 more countries recognize the NTC by Monday"

I was wrong on both counts, probably because other things are finally moving forward. Lots of big stuff is finally happening, I’ll have a new libya-specific blogpost up on Tuesday to bring you up to speed.

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Iran - "Ahmadinejad holds on to his authority for another week...barely."

Yea. His time seems to be rapidly running out, but he’s a pretty good at navigating the byzantine convolutions of the Iranian power game. After a week of bad news, Iran's supreme leader finally seems to be taking some of the pressure off of President Ahmadinejad.  If the President has convincingly been brought to heel he still has some life in him, but Khameni may just be setting him up for a bigger takedown.

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Pakistan - "Three more major domestic terrorist attacks by Monday"

Another one where I’m happy to be wrong. There was only one attack.

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Saudi Arabia - "More women driving in protest this weekend."

Nope. Just wishful thinking on my part. They formed a facebook group and tweeted about driving.

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USA - "Obama will say/do something that is immediately declared to be the worst thing ever by several Republican Congressmen and Fox news."

He chewed gum in public. Truly he is history's greatest monster. 

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Bahrain - "Nothing. No one will do anything to support the Bahraini people. Why? Because people suck sometimes."

Pretty much spot on, but the US has recalled a Human Rights diplomat from Bahrain due to a string of violent threats against him.

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So. There you have it. Not a great showing, but not a terrible one either.

Look for a post on Libya later today...

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