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Thursday, May 09, 2002

2007 Naïveté?-Yes, the 2007 future history for the Middle East is rather optimistic but hopefully not naive, as Louder rightly questions. Let me break down things on a country-by-country basis. Iran- Many people think it is but a matter of time before the mullahs are pushed from power. I made up a mythical reformist newspaper to be the focal point of the overthrow, but I think that some misstep by the mullahs will cause a counter-revolution. Democracy will thrive there if given a chance. Iraq- It had a functioning democracy before the Baathists took over in 1958. I think that a mild-mannered democracy can take root there if the Baathists are removed, either by popular uprising or via invasion. I think invasion is more likely to be successful and moving sometime this fall/winter would make sense. You'd rather not be messing with an invasion in the summer, so a October-November kickoff would be possible. . Arabia I think that there will be a domino effect, as happened in Eastern Europe in 89-90, if Iran and Iraq have functioning democracies. It won't be easy, but the cadre of American-educated Saudi intelegencia could be brought to see that democracy will work there as well. Right next door, Bahrain's having their own elections today. I think that there will be a move to a more theocratic rule in the next few years under Prince Abdullah, which will help to bring out the shortcomings of the current system, especially if they try an oil embargo and cut the income of the country. The embargo could work in reverse, if they are persona non grata for their support of terrorism. A friendly Iran and Iraq could crank up production and allow us to blockade Arabia and starve the Saudis into submission. Palestine- Here's the kicker-will there be a moderate leadership in Palestine after a few years of non-nonsense warfare inflicted by a hawkish Likud-led government? If there is, then a 80%-of-West-Bank Palestinian state would make sense to both sides. This is where you can rightly question whether I majored in PoliSci or Pollyanna at CMU. Arafat will not be the man to lead this new Palestine, but I'm looking to see a West Bank Sadat emerge who will see that they will not in the war against the Israelis in their lifetimes. A so-so peace and autonomy beats the heck out of intifada without end. Of course, Sadat got rubbed out by militants, so my analogy might be a bit strained. There's two viable long-term solutions to the West Bank-ethnic cleansing or a autonomous, demilitarized, functional Palestine allowing Israel to live behind defendable borders. If there isn't a moderate leadership to lead such a country, then we could see echoes of Joshua and Saul turning the enemy's towns into parking lots. My head says that we're looking at an Endless Intifada, but my gut says that there will be a moderate leadership after the yahoos are largely killed off by the IDF. Chancellor Stoiber is referring to Edmund Stoiber, the Christian Democrat leader in Germany, who I expect to be elected Chancellor (Prime Minister) later this year. I'm picturing some Islamic type assassinating him or some other key conservative European leader.

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