From Internet regulation to Nigeria's growing insecurity, predictions for the year's biggest challenges.
CFR.org just posted a conversation I had with Bernard Gwertzman about the world outlook in 2013. We discussed three sets of issues: turmoil in the greater Middle East (Egypt, Iran, Syria, and Afghanistan); rising tensions in East Asia (territorial disputes in the East China and South China seas and the U.S. "pivot"; and turbulence in the global economy (prompted in part by the impending "fiscal cliff" in the United States). But those three subjects hardly exhaust the list of issues that could dominate the news in the coming year. Here are five other stories I will be watching in 2013.
1. Nigeria on the Brink. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, with more than 170 million citizens. (That's nearly twice as many people as the next most populous country in Africa, Ethiopia, which has an estimated 90 million citizens.) A member of OPEC, Nigeria is the world's tenth largest oil producer and the seventh largest oil exporter. That could be the start of a real success story. But instead, as my colleague John Campbell shows graphically with his interactive Nigeria Security Tracker, Nigeria is experiencing an alarming growth in political violence. The radical Islamist movement Boko Haram is a big reason why, but it is hardly alone. Government soldiers, local police, warring ethnic groups, and a new generation of Niger Delta militants are also to blame. Things could get much worse in Nigeria in 2013, putting the country's shaky democracy to the test.