chapter  12
Predicting revolution and regime instability in the Middle East: the uncertain future of Arab–Israeli relations
Pages 18

An extension of the selectorate theory (Bueno de Mesquita 2009) provides and tests a model capable of predicting the Arab Spring. In fact, this model was used in a talk delivered to an investment group’s portfolio committee in March, 2010, to predict Hosni Mubarak’s’ fall in Egypt. Building on another game theoretic model, the predictioneer’s game (Bueno de Mesquita 2009), an undergraduate student project completed for a course at NYU called Solving Foreign Crises predicted the political rise of both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military as the prospective successor Egyptian leaderships (as well as ways the Obama administration could promote more pro-American and less anti-Israeli democratic reform). Here we explain the underlying theory behind the prediction of revolution and apply it to making predictions about likely regime changes around the world, with emphasis on the Middle East, for the next five years (that is, based on conditions in 2008, the latest available data at the time this was originally written). In doing so, we also draw out regional implication, especially with regard to what is referred to throughout this volume as the Israeli Conflict System. We highlight what the selectorate view has to say about the prospects of regime change and how regime change’s consequences can be managed to enhance United States and Israeli interests in a stable, secure regional environment. We will see, in particular, that democratization in the Middle East – which is expected by the selectorate assessment to be less extensive than many have speculated – creates a greater threat to the stability of Arab-Israeli relations than was true under more severely autocratic governance.