Journalistic predictions of Middle Eastern politics are – mostly – an exercise in futility

There will always be a margin of error, but after years of reporting on the region, certain things can be fairly accurately anticipated, such as the outcome of Arab elections

Prediction is a precise, elusive and dangerous science. We journalists are usually asked to practise this dodgy skill on political anniversaries, elections, before invasions or – even more perilously – during invasions.

Take the city of Afrin. The Turks invaded the Syrian and largely Kurdish province just under two months ago. They took their time. They had few tanks. Their “Free Syrian Army” allies appeared to be nonexistent. Alas, their new found Islamist allies were not.

But when I visited Afrin less than two weeks after the start of Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” – as sinister a name as any in recent decades for armed aggression – its citizens were shopping in crowded streets, their homes unbombed, the restaurants open; I reported that if the Turks really used all their firepower, they could have entered the city in half an hour.

MORE:   https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/predictions-middle-east-syria-turkish-invasion-afrin-russia-egypt-election-a8290221.html

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