Tuesday 6 June 2023

Mideast an 'arc of instability' into 2025

Washington, November 19, 2008

Looking two decades beyond the current tensions, the Middle East may remain "an arc of instability" straining international efforts to resolve turmoil in the region, the top US intelligence analyst said.

Thomas Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, gave his long-term assessment on Middle East prospects before the release this week of a global intelligence outlook by the US up to the year 2025.

"If one looks at the globe as a whole, the Middle East ... is one in which almost every problem that will challenge political leadership anywhere on the globe is to be found there, and many at a higher degree of intensity," Fingar said at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

"The demographic dimensions and challenges in the Middle East will be among the most significant."    

Demand and prices for energy are likely to remain high and the Middle East as a source of oil and gas will remain a focus of international attention, he said. "We see the Middle East at the center of an arc of instability."    

The appeal of al Qaeda-style terrorism may decline, but an expected population boom in the Middle East means more potential terrorism recruits and weapons like biological agents may be more lethal.

"One can imagine, sort of in aggregate, the threat diminishes, but specific instances being much more deadly," Fingar said.

The global outlook is to be released on Thursday by the National Intelligence Council which Fingar chairs. It is intended to aid policy makers in President-elect Barack Obama's incoming administration.

The impact of global warming is also likely to be a noticeable factor by 2025 and the world's population is projected to grow by 1.4 billion people, mostly in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia or Central America.

However, the world order will be shifting and there will be multiple centers of power -- inherently less stable than a world with one or two superpowers, Fingar cautioned.

Wealth will be moving from West to East and international structures established after World War Two will  increasingly be unable to manage contemporary problems.

"That probably is going to make it more difficult for specific countries and regions ... (to) address specific problems, because the landscape will be shifting," he said.

Fingar is expected to leave his post at the end of this month and be succeeded by Peter Lavoy, the national intelligence officer for South Asia, a US official said.  -Reuters   

Tags: Middle East | instability |


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