The Question We Asked Last Year: A Reliable Prediction? --- Right to Left: Tunisia's Ben Ali, Egypt's Mubarak, Libya's Qaddafi, Yemen's Saleh, Syria's Assad, Iran's Khamenei
On 1 January, I offered some predictions about the year ahead. How did they turn out?...
4. Speaking of Syria, things will get worse before they get better. The Arab League observers will produce a middling report, one that speaks of a crisis that needs fixing but will be slow to blame the highest levels of the Assad regime. International outcry will be loud. Eventually, someone will crack, and there will be intervention.
However, I would be shocked if this happened before April, and absolutely bewildered if it happened before March. The opposition is still, in the eyes of the world, not organised enough to serve as a skeleton upon which the international community can build a mission.
In the meantime, the protests will not go away, and more and more people will defect. Those defections, however, will not reach a tipping point for a long time for the regime, unless that international intervention happens.