Quoted in Reuters piece on 2012 predictions
Friday, December 16, 2011 at 2:25PM
Thomas P.M. Barnett in Iran, Israel, Tom in the media, Wikistrat

Find it here.

Opening:

Analysis: 2012 could prove even wilder ride than 2011

 

LONDON | Thu Dec 15, 2011 11:01am EST

(Reuters) - The ancient Mayans attached special significance to 2012, possibly the end of time. That has spawned a rush of apocalyptic literature for the holiday season.

My bit:

   CONFLICT, UNREST 

   After the fall of several veteran Western-backed Arab rulers, the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is seen as the latest sign of the diminishing influence of Western powers in a region they dominated for some 200 years.  

   In the resulting vacuum, regional powers such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and an isolated and perhaps more erratic Iran appear in increasingly open confrontation. 

   Western intelligence estimates that Iran is moving closer to a viable nuclear weapon have a shorter timeline, and some analysts say 2012 could be the year when Tehran's enemies decide to go beyond covert sabotage with a military strike that could spark retaliation against oil supplies in the Gulf. 

   "The bigger wild card out there is an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities and elements of regime control," says Thomas Barnett, chief strategist of political risk consultancy Wikistrat, saying neither the Israeli nor the Iranian leadership looks inclined to back down. "The setting here is scary... something has got to give in this strategic equation." 

   Even if the world avoids a devastating shock such as a Middle East war or a European breakdown, many analysts fear the business of politics and policy-making could become increasingly difficult around the world. 

Article originally appeared on Thomas P.M. Barnett (http://thomaspmbarnett.com/).
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