Quick—rush to Vegas and lay down a bet on this weekend’s headlines. Here is a short list of what we all might be talking about by Monday.
Arab Spring Part II
The president of Egypt showed his true colors last week—which look an awful lot like a Muslim Brotherhood banner—by proclaiming a new dictatorship. Mohamed Morsi’s vision of the future of Egypt looks to be an Islamist-controlled, anti-Israeli police state—a kind of a Sunni stage-managed Iran or Mubarak-redux with a sectarian twist. As Heritage expert Jim Phillips described, Morsi looks to be up to nothing less than a Pharaoh-style power play.
By pushing through a draft constitution and pushing aside the judiciary, however, Morsi sparked a backlash. The military had to put tanks in the street to keep pro-regime and anti-government forces apart. If the confrontation escalates this weekend, who knows what direction things will go. Morsi might consolidate power and break the back of the pushback. The army might desert him and force him from office. Or he might back down and try again later. Stay tuned.
Seriously Bad in Syria
There were all kinds of rumors about the civil war in Syria this week, from reports that President Bashar al-Assad is about to take flight to claims that the Syrian military is imploding to claims that the regime is preparing chemical attacks. Any one of these outcomes could steal world headlines in the next couple of days.
Of all the bad news that could come out, the warnings about WMDs are the worst. “Even if Assad decides not to unleash his chemical weapons,” Phillips warns, “there is a growing danger that such weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists, as increasing numbers of Syrian bases are seized by Syrian rebels who have gained considerable territory in recent weeks.”
Don’t Forget Dr. Evil
Finally, there are reports that North Korea is readying another missile test. The more tests and the more threatening North Korea becomes, the less the world seems to really notice. But as Heritage regional expert Bruce Klingner points out, Pyongyang’s new leader is credited with, among other “accomplishments,” “masterminding North Korea’s two acts of war in 2010: sinking the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan and shelling a civilian-inhabited island, which left 50 South Korean citizens dead.”
As usual, there are all kinds of wild reports, including some that troops are being mobilized to counter public unrest. Who knows? Never underestimate the capacity of North Korea to make news.
Of course, none of these countries might melt down this weekend. We all may just be watching football. On the other hand, who knows?