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Prophet & Loss Statement 2004 - How good was the MEW Crystal Ball?

12/28/2004

At the end of 2003, a panel composed of Mewnews editors and others rated a large number of predictions for 2004. How well did we do?

1. One or more serious Al Qaeda terror operations in the coming year though not necessarily any spectacular ones like 9-11. The attacks in Madrid qualify.

2. George Bush will be reelected. What did your pollsters say? What did you believe?

3. The US will not succeed in pacifying Iraq completely, but the situation will not go out of control. US will reduce its presence and perhaps declare "success." The US did not reduce its presence and didn't declare a success, nor did the US succeed in pacifying Iraq at all. True, the situation is not quite out of control.

4. Ariel Sharon will still be in power at the end of the year, despite corruption charges and a possible cabinet reshuffle due to his unilateral peace plan or evacuation of outposts. That is what happened, though it was certainly less than obvious a year ago.

5. There will be no real change or breakthrough in the Israeli-Palestinian situation, though terror incidents may taper off somewhat. Both parts of that prediction were proven to be correct. Terror attacks have tapered off quite a bit in fact.

6. Israel will continue to build the security barrier/fence. The Hague court, if it rules on the issue this year, might force some route changes, but the fence or barrier will be built. The Hague court ruled. Israel made some changes that were certainly influenced by international pressure. This predication was very close to what happened.

7. Yasser Arafat will remain President of the Palestinian Authority and Chairman of the PLO Most panelists believed Arafat will lose power only if he dies of natural causes. OOPS! We were right to believe that Arafat would not be removed by political pressures, but Arafat died. We couldn't foresee that one - but one of our readers made this prediction in a comment, and one of our panelists qualified the statement with "only if he dies of natural causes."

8. Iran will not acquire nuclear weapons in 2004. And indeed they did not as far as anyone can tell. Remember, there were lots of "experts" predicting Iran would have nuclear capabilities very soon.

9. Israel will not attack Iran. Got that right too, despite "expert" predictions to the contrary.

10. There will be no revolution in Iran. Unfortunately, all too true, despite wishful thinking of some neocons.

11. There might be trouble in Saudi Arabia Yes there was and continues to be trouble in Saudi Arabia, including muted protests from dissidents and Al-Qaeda bombings, though it has not assumed major proportions.

12. No peace between Israel and Syria Got that right. Syria continued to make peace offers, Israel continued to ignore them, at least publicly.

13. The situation in Afghanistan could go out of control. It could have, but it didn't.

14. Russia's war in Chechnya will continue. We were all too right about that, as the savage bombing in Ossetia reminded us.

11 of the 14 predictions were right, two were wrong, one is not clear either way.

None of the possibilities raised by panelists and listed separately came true. Pervez Mussharaf was not assassinated, the US economy was not affected by mad cow disease, Mubarrak didn't die and Ariel Sharon seems determined, from all appearances, to implement the disengagement plan.

Aside from the death of Arafat, the "sleeper" of 2004 was the rise in oil prices.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000322.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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