Forecaster De Mesquita: Oil States OK Amid Strife

Thursday, 10 Feb 2011 02:22 PM

By Henry J. Reske and Kathleen Walter

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The turmoil that has engulfed much of the Mideast is unlikely to spread to the oil-producing countries that control the region because they have been able to buy off the opposition, noted political forecaster Bruce Bueno de Mesquita tells Newsmax.TV. And it is unlikely that Iran ever will complete a nuclear bomb, the New York University professor also said.

Although the unrest could spread, it is “unlikely to spread to those parts of the Middle East that have substantial oil wealth such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, and so forth,” de Mesquita said.

“It is noteworthy that all of the instability is arising in places that don’t have oil wells because with oil wells you can buy off the opposition,” he said. “So I think there are good chances there will be instability elsewhere but not in the oil rich states and those are the folks that pretty much really control the Middle East.”

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De Mesquita has made accurate predictions on more than 2,000 subjects, including the terrorist threat to the United States and the peace process in Northern Ireland. He is the co-author of “The Strategy of Campaigning” and the founder of Mesquita & Roundell, a company specializing in making political and foreign-policy forecasts.

He has argued for several years that Iran would not complete its nuclear weapons project.

“They are likely to develop enough weapons grade fuel so that the world knows they know how to build a bomb, to get all the political advantages from doing that without the costs and risks of building a bomb,” he said. “I think the notion that the Israelis would, for example, use military force to take out their nuclear facilities is incorrect.”

If Israel were going to launch an assault, it would have done so by now, he said. In addition, he noted, President Barack Obama’s administration would not endorse such an action.

De Mesquita bases his prediction on an examination of those involved in a situation and their motives. He starts with the assumption that most people will do what they believe is best for themselves. In a situation that involves negotiation or coercion, he looks at who has an interest in trying to influence the decision, how much they care, what outcome do they say they want, how influential could they be and how important it is to come to agreement or stick to their guns.

With that information and the right computer model, de Mesquita said you can forecast the result with 90 percent accuracy.

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