It is likely that unofficial actions will lead to a Palestinian state by 2030, US intelligence analysts cited by AFP said Monday.
"On the one hand, if the Islamic Republic maintains power in Iran and is able to develop nuclear weapons, the Middle East will face a highly unstable future," a new intelligence report said. "On the other hand, the emergence of moderate, democratic governments or a breakthrough agreement to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could have enormously positive consequences."
However, according to AFP, the report predicted that a more likely scenario was that unofficial actions would lead toward a Palestinian state with key issues such as the status of Jerusalem remaining unresolved.
The report, "Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds," was issued by the National Intelligence Council, an analytical arm of the US government's Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
It is the fifth report of a series - the previous one was released in 2008 - that aims to stimulate "strategic thinking" among decision makers and not to predict the future. The reports intentionally coincide with presidential election years to offer insights on global trends to new administrations.
Islamist terrorism might end by 2030, but terrorism is unlikely to disappear completely because states may use such groups due to a "strong sense of insecurity," the report said.
"With more widespread access to lethal and disruptive technologies, individuals who are experts in such niche areas as cyber systems might sell their services to the highest bidder, including terrorists, who would focus less on causing mass casualties and more on creating widespread economic and financial disruptions."
China's economy to overtake US by 2030
China's economy is likely to surpass the United States in less than two decades but the Asian country is not expected to take on the superpower role of the United States in gathering coalitions to deal with global issues, US intelligence analysts said on Monday.
By 2030 Asia will overtake North America and Europe combined in global power based on gross domestic product, population, military spending and technological investment, a new intelligence report said.
"China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before 2030," it said. "Meanwhile, the economies of Europe, Japan, and Russia are likely to continue their slow relative declines."
Despite the economic power of China, the United States is expected to retain its superpower status because it still is the only country able to pull together coalitions and mobilize efforts to deal with global challenges, analysts said.
"China isn't going to replace the US on a global level," Mathew Burrows, counselor to the National Intelligence Council, said at a media briefing. "Being the largest economic power is important ... (but) it isn't necessarily the largest economic power that always is going to be the superpower."
China recognizes that it cannot play that role of organizing across regions and across state-nonstate boundaries, he said.
The health of the global economy increasingly will be linked to progress in the developing world rather than the traditional West, the report said.