The year 2012 was another historic one for the Middle East – conflict flared once again between Hamas and Israel, Palestinian status was upgraded at the United Nations, Islamists continued to make gains across the Middle East and Syria remained embroiled in a protracted civil war. Oh, and let us not forget about the repeated threats made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take action against Iran if it continued on its path to attain a nuclear weapon. The big takeaway - all of these issues continue to remain unresolved. We are no closer to seeing a resolution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict; questions still linger about the path of the Arab Spring and Iran remains intent on its nuclear ambitions. There always seems to be more uncertainty in the region than certainty. So what can we expect for 2013? While many analysts at leading periodicals and think tanks have spelled out their predictions for 2013, we must be careful not to put too much stock in these forecasts. They can be used as a guide for the New Year, but no one can say for certain what will happen. The only people that know are those few in power. And even these heads of states, opposition leaders or other regional actors can be restrained by their friends and adversaries or affected by changing regional dynamics. So in reality, no one really knows what 2013 holds.
It is up to all of us to remain knowledgeable and make our own assessments of the region. Let the experts be our guide, but we can get a much better understanding of the region when we try to internalize it for ourselves and make our own predictions. While not many people can use work time to scour the Internet finding the latest news on the Middle East, fortunately it is part of my job to do just that. So I invite you all to follow my Weekly Middle East Updates. Read articles from leading sources on the Middle East, and make the analyses for yourself. Maybe you can do a better job than the so called “experts.”
It is important to remember, however, that with all the changes in the Middle East, The David Project continues to be a bedrock of support for pro-Israel students throughout the country. Through our trainings, educational resources, seminars and campus visits we will continue to educate a new generation of student leaders to be strong, confident and articulate voices for a country surrounded by uncertainty. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2013.