by Barry Rubin
The politics of the Arabic-speaking world are going to face some serious challenges during 2010. Probably none of them, however, will have anything to do with the Arab-Israeli issue, despite the overwhelming attention and exaggerated importance usually given to that question by outside observers.
Unquestionably, the leading problem will be dealing with an increasingly powerful
Already we've seen huge gains for
--The Saudis have reduced their level of confrontation with
--The Lebanese moderate May 14 movement has bowed to Iranian-backed Hizballah in setting up a government which won't do anything
--While the full extent of Iranian intervention in
--Western reluctance to raise sanctions and the ease with which
--While many think that opposition demonstrations and protests have weakened the regime, in a real sense it emerged as stronger. Other factions were forced out of the leadership; Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leaders occupied more positions of importance. The spiritual guide accepted both the IRGC role and the reelection of President Ahmadinejad, despite his past economic mismanagement and the supposed international or domestic costs. In other words, the regime proved how tough it was which in that part of the world is a major asset.
Will this march continue in 2010? One of the things that the Obama Administration doesn't realize is that it's obvious unwillingness to confront
Consequently, it's hard to see Arab states taking a tougher stand during 2010, though if
A potential crisis is succession in
Another issue to watch is the power balance in
Finally, there is
If this list makes it sound like nothing good is going to happen in the Arabic-speaking world in2010 then you've read it correctly.
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