LEBANON: Psychic predicts Obama stalling in Afghanistan, Julio Iglesias making comeback
In the year 2010, President Obama's decision to go to Afghanistan will backfire on him and the Democratic Party. Iraqi President Nour al-Malaki will stumble. A major spy network will be uncovered in Syria. Progress will be made on the issue of the disputed Golan Heights. Egypt and and the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah will mend their relationship.
And Julio Iglesias' name will be in the spotlight once again.
Those are the forecasts of renowned Lebanese psychic Michel Hayek, who predicts the coming year will be one of intrigue, prosperity and revenge.
Hayek's annual televised predictions have become a New Year's Eve tradition in the Arab world, and even skeptics put down their champagne glasses and turn up the volume to hear what the new year may have in store.
Hayek forecasts local, regional and international events, and in the past he has raised hackles -- and goosebumps -- for predicting the future of famous personalities and political leaders.
Hayek himself admits what he does is not an exact science. Some of his predictions are vague.
"I see the Iranian opposition heading for a partly open wall," he said, noting the deteriorating health of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. "And many of its members will be burned."
But Hayek has been credited with predicting the string of assassinations and civil disputes that have plagued Lebanon for the last five years.
In 2006, he refused to make his prediction public, fearing blame and recrimination should any of the bad predictions come true. Six months later, the July War between Hezbollah and Israel devastated the country.
Progress for the Palestians will be slow, Hayek predicted, but a number of Jewish settlements "will be for the Palestinians in time."
He also spoke of a "huge explosion" that will cause terror in the streets of Israel and attacks on Jewish targets outside Israel.
But at least the Lebanese may have some good news to look forward to this year. Hayek said the overall atmosphere of 2010 in Lebanon will be one of economic prosperity and political reconciliation, although he warned of security threats and possible confrontation with Israel.
Hayek predicted the recent political reconciliations will continue and spoke of a bridge "between Dahiyeh and Maraab," indicating a rapprochement between the militant Shiite group Hezbollah and the Lebanese Forces, a right-wing Christian party.
Although most of the predictions were positive, Hayek did warn of repercussions of the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah official Imad Mughniyeh, which the party has sworn to avenge, and an attempted "revenge" operation by Israel.
"The Israel-Lebanon border will see blood and martyrdom," he said. "Despite the presence of [the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon], the blue line and international resolutions, there remains an open opportunity for ambushes and operations from both the Israeli and Lebanese sides."
Hayek also said a foreign intelligence agency will inform their Lebanese counterparts of a planned attack inside Lebanon.
-- Meris Lutz in Beirut
Screenshot: Famed psychic Michel Hayek, right, makes annual televised predictions on New Year's Eve. Credit: YouTube