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Crystal Ball: Ten New Year's Predictions


The date of the Western New Year is arbitrary, however this year it has some significance for the Middle East. We are poised at a critical point in our history. A war is looming. In Israel, elections are due. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has strained both sides to what might be the breaking point.
We go into the new year with many assumptions and anticipations as to how these critical questions
will be resolved.

These are my predictions. As I do not have a very good crystal ball, many will not come true, but it will be interesting to watch how things unfold and to compare observations with predictions in the months ahead.

Predictions for 2003:

1. Ariel Sharon will be the victor of the Israeli elections and will form a right-wing government initially.

2. The US will launch a war on Iraq and will probably topple Saddam Hussein, but Saddam himself may escape.

3. The war will not bring about any fundamental changes in the realities of the Middle East.

4. Iraq will remain united but it will not be democratic.

5. Iran will retain its present government and it will become the focus of Muslim aspirations after the fall of Saddam confirms that the era of secular Arab nationalism has finally come to a close. However, Iran will be careful not to challenge the USA directly, unless the war on Iraq is a total fiasco.

6. Al-Qaeda will attempt one or more spectacular terrorist attacks to regain the "honor" of the Muslim Umma and to contend for leadership of the Muslim world.

7. Yasser Arafat will be reelected as President of the PNA and leader of the Palestinians, bolstered by Israeli attempts to discredit him.

8. The Quartet plan for peace between Israel and Palestine will take shape and will be put into place, as the price of Arab and European support for the USA in the war against Iraq.

9. Pressure on Israel to negotiate with Arafat will cause the government coalition to break up. A unity government will be formed with the participation of Labor that will allow negotiations to begin.

10. The world economy will begin to recover slowly, stimulated by lower oil prices and technological advances accelerated by the war.

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by Ami Isseroff @ 01:19 AM CST [Link]


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Replies: 7 comments

The date of the Western New Year is not arbitrary but close to the winter's solstice.

5 Iran is not of the majority muslim faith.

10 I am much more pessimistic for US economic recovery and from there, for the rest of us.

Posted by Paul @ 12/29/2002 02:34 AM CST

I think all of your predictions, with the possible exception of 8 and 10, are very likely to occur. They are, for the most part, no-brainers (not to imply that you don't have a brain). As I look over your list, it all sounds surprisingly optimistic and positive.
It's about time, we all deserve it.

Posted by avram @ 12/29/2002 11:30 AM CST

Paul wrote - "Iran is not of the majority faith."

??? You mean, I suppose that Iranians are Shi'a Muslims. That has not prevented them from being evangelists for militant Islam.

Paul wrote -
"The date of the Western New Year is not arbitrary but close to the winter's solstice."

Every date is close to something. April First is close to the spring solstice, and being April Fool's day is a much better candidate. In terms of world events, any particular calendar date is just another day and has no particular significance as a watershed.


Posted by Ami Isseroff @ 01/06/2003 02:41 AM CST

Stan (Avram) thought my predictions are optimistic. I predicted a war that does not produce much real change, re-election of two bellicose leaders in Israel and Palestine, and a terror hit by Al-Qaeda. What would pessimistic predictions look like?

As for "no brainers:" - predicting the future is usually like one of those trick riddle questions where the obvious answer is wrong.

In 1945, what would the obvious answer be to "What country will be the leading country in Europe 50 years hence?"

In February 1991, what odds would you have given on Saddam surviving 10 years?

In 1985, what odds would you have given on Yasser Arafat coming to rule Palestine?

Sometime around 1987, Walther Ulbricht predicted that the Berlin Wall would be around for a thousand years.

If someone had asked you to predict the most significant event of 2001 (in 2000) would you have predicted a terror attack on the WTC by Islamist fanatics?

On November 15, 2000, would you have predicted record breaking popularity for newly elected President George Bush?

I know that the future will make many of these predictions appear to be nonsense. It is interesting to keep measuring our predictions versus what really happens.


Posted by Ami Isseroff @ 01/06/2003 02:50 AM CST

Thanks for the hope that Labour will return to continue their negotiations for peace with PLO, in spite of the probable Sharon victory this election. Just to recap, Clinton-Barak's offer was 94% of the 23% Palestine Mandate, while Sharon's was about 40% Clinton-Barak's offer. That 23% is pre 1967 border, as opposed to the original allocation of 43% for the Arab state of Palestine per UN GAR 181 of 1947. The armiticise line was drawn as 23% after the 1948 War. Thus Labour's negotiation is more likely to succeed than Sharon's, more so when (1) Arafat had agreed to this Clinton Barak offer , Taba, in Jan 2001 with reservations and agreed to it in June 2001 without reservations & (2) the USA, UN, EU & Russia Quartet Road map, is along the UN SCR 242 of 1967 and the Clinton Barak plan is closer to the UNSCR 242 than Sharon's plan. If Moshe Achmon, of Israel , R.B. of Canada & Shibl Mourad of Canada, reads this, after the Jurist Israel-Palestine discussion site has been 'archived' today, may we all hope for the best for peace in the coming year after the Iraq matter has been resolved ! Happy New year 2003.

Posted by Yi Ling @ 01/22/2003 02:55 PM CST

arab and Israel well not have any kind of peace.bothe leaders .are mad.and sharon love children blood.espicaly the palistnian kids blood.the world economey ,going back ward.and the world war.three.on the way.if we let the reliogion mad men in charage.of our lives .Whather they are moslems ,jewish or christions they , three fathes

Posted by moe3jalil @ 01/26/2003 05:17 AM CST

Arab and Israel well not have any kind of peace because both sides. Are not welling to accept the facts. These leaders .mad and Sharon loves children blood. The Palestinian kids blood. The economy of the world, on the verge of collapsing. and the price of oil well go sky high. and the meddle east well go up in flaming the world War .Three.on the way. By allowing the religion of these mad men, to control the lives. Of the people whether they are Moslems, Jewish or Christians they, three faiths

Posted by moe3jalil @ 01/26/2003 05:32 AM CST

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