Middle East Despot Watch

I’ve been watching developments in the Middle East and Northern Africa closely.? It can be hard to keep track of it all.? Fortunately, the prediction markets at?InTrade provide a useful barometer.

Which despots will be gone by the end of this year?? Here are the current odds — click through to see these prices fluctuate as the situation develops.

  • Libya — Gadaffi :? 83%
  • Bahrain — Al Khalifa :? 62%
  • Yemen — Ali Abdullah Saleh :? 48%
  • Iran — Ahmadinejad :? 16%
  • Iran — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei :? 15%

It will be interesting to see how correlated movements are.? I can already see the title of the paper waiting to be written: “Is revolution contagious?? Evidence from Prediction Markets.”

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  1. Ian Kemmish says:

    If it is contagious, then it was all triggered by the unrest in Tunis.

    And if it was all triggered by Tunis, then it was ultimately caused by the spike in food prices.

    There are some people who believe that the spike in food prices was in turn caused by hedge funds.

    According to this theory, then already, even if nobody else falls, these hedge funds have achieved more regime change in three weeks than Dubya, aided and abetted by Gawd and Tony Blair (who may or may not be the same person) acting in concert managed in ten whole years.

    There might be a entertaining paper to be written about whether this means hedge funds really are the spawn of the devil, or merely a blessing in a very good disguise….

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  2. frankenduf says:

    this is also the historic propaganda line against nationalist governments- our covert and overt actions in central america were justified by the memes of a “bad apple” or “cancer” description of national movements, which were feared to spread, thus threatening regional hegemony

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  3. Joshua Northey says:

    To me those Iranian number seem ridiculously high. Simple wishful thinking? People in the know about future foreign policy actions?

    If we were going to move against Iran this might be the year to do it, but we have kind of expended most of our ability to casually project power in the last decade and need a quiet period before further misadventures.

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  4. Joe in Jersey says:

    @ Ian Kemmish

    Funny because it’s true. It’s about power (mostly money). Besides Gandhi, can you name a leader that wasn’t wealthier than his followers. Doesn’t happen often.

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  5. priceofcivilization says:

    More despots walking on thin ice: Walker? Kasich? 10% each. Boehner? Rove? Palin? Murdoch? Limbaugh? Beck? O’Reilly? (Removed from power, or the airwaves)? 5% each.

    also, what about Kim? 10%?

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  6. JD says:

    Is revolution contagious? I believe they call it “domino theory.”

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  7. Adam Siegel says:

    On Inkling Market, the results for a related question:

    Which other countries will follow Egypt and Tunisia in successfully overthrowing their government by the end of 2011?

    Libya: 83.15% chance
    Bahrain: 45.91% chance
    Yemen: 31.78% chance
    Iran: 27.53% chance
    Algeria: 27.21% chance
    Syria: 10.23% chance

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  8. TheJadedCynic says:

    I like Inkling Market’s predictions; they seem more rooted in reality than wishful thinking. I also agree with the previous commentor that the Iran numbers look exceedingly high. I see no scenario under which the clerical establishment fractures in Iran the way the Army and political classes diverged in Egypt. Similar to Libya, they have exclusive access to weapons and the will to use them. In Yemen, the populace is itself so heavily armed that they stand at least a shot at a successful armed uprising. In Bahrain, the same US pressure to limit civilian casualties may enable the protesters to increase their momentum; the end game escapes me though. Slate has a good piece on how this moment compares to 1848, essentially the start of major disruptions in Europe. Definitely worth a look.

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