Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Betting on the Mideast

A famous bookie has set the odds on the next domino to fall in the Mideast: Yemen.*  He set the odds at 15/8.  But I have a quibble: what does it mean to fall when the government is already pretty close to a failed state?  Jordan is next at 9/4 and then Algeria at 7/2.  Bahrain is at 8/1 with Saudi Arabia and Syria set at 20/1.  Interesting that Iran, Libya and Sudan are in between.  I have repeatedly stated that I am not a Mideast expert, so I am not sure where I would put my money.  I guess I would put it one Sudan or Libya since the odds are pretty good.  Actually, if I could, I would bet that no other dominoes in the Mideast fall before the end of 2012.  While there is increased protest elsewhere, the protestors are not the only ones learning.  Iran is going to repress its opposition pretty successfully.  I would say the same for the Saudis and the Syrians. 

The bigger problem from a betting perspective is what counts as a revolution?  We don't even know if either Egypt or Tunisia have experienced a real revolution.  Thus far, they could easily be seen as coups.  Not until we see elections and new governments arise with people who do not wear uniforms can we start to think about calling these changes revolutions.  If the bets are on changes in dictators only, then we may have to re-think.  Sudan would start to look as a good bet, given how hard this year is going to be.

Where would you put your money?

HT to Ora Szekely for pointing me to this article. 

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