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December 16, 2011


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Obviously, the bet includes the timing. But still, our primary disagreement was on the ultimate outcome, not how long it would take. On that score, I'm pretty confident, and the betting market (odds now down to 50 per cent for lasting into 2013) look fairly good for me. The market doesn't go beyond end-2012, but I imagine the odds would keep falling through 2013.

Coming back to the timing, I think my chances might be a little below even money, but certainly much better than 10 per cent. As regards Turkish support for the rebels, I don't think a threat by Assad to help the Kurds would deter this - more likely it would provide Turkey with a self-defence case for intervention.

Our primary disagreement was on whether the number of dictatorships worldwide is likely to fall or stay roughly constant. The fate of individual dictators, while interesting, is somewhat peripheral. (Do you think Kim's death means we should remove North Korea from the list? Nope, me neither.)

As to 10 per cent, that's my opinion of the chance of the rebels succeeding. The chance of Assad falling must of course be larger than that, since there are many ways he could fall without the rebels succeeding.

Doug M.


The reasoning is pretty obvious: a token deterrent to the Western Powers to prevent another Libya should the situation turns against Assad et al. The Kuznetzov would be blown out of the water in a matter of minutes if any western navy took it on, but it just being there makes the West have to take notice.

However, while I think that Assad is going to last a while, I don't see how this plays into Russia's interests. Is this for internal Russian politics? Or what?

Russia also has taken the public stance that they will veto anything that comes across the UNSC sanctioning action in Syria.

IANA Kremlinologist, but my guess would be, yeah, internal Russian politics. They just "lost" Libya, after all, and they don't have that many allies left.

Doug M.

A blog writer's opinion:


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