Watch List: Oct. 27, 2016

The items listed below represent potential emerging issues that our analysts are tracking. These can be long term or short term, but will be updated daily. If an item on our Watch List becomes critical, we will email you a full analysis explaining its significance. Each Saturday, we will follow up our daily Watch List for each week with our conclusions on these issues. Germany: Deutsche Bank released third quarter data and surprisingly reported a net profit of $303 million in the quarter. That’s a notable improvement from the second quarter and goes against the expectations of many industry analysts. Vietnam: An official in the Vietnamese parliament said that a vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is not on the agenda for the current legislative session, which ends in late November. The U.S. has notably been dragging its feet on voting on TPP before President Barack Obama’s term is up. Belgium: The Walloons have been placated and the EU-Canada free trade pact seems to be advancing once more. Syria: Syria’s state-run news agency said that on Tuesday night, a unit of one of its local militias seized a tanker that was transporting hydrocarbon supplies of some kind to the Islamic […]

Turkey Faces Serious Obstacles in Syria and Iraq

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Oct. 26, 2016 Several factors, including Iran, are keeping Turkey from intervening on its southern flank.

Watch List: Oct. 26, 2016

The items listed below represent potential emerging issues that our analysts are tracking. These can be long term or short term, but will be updated daily. If an item on our Watch List becomes critical, we will email you a full analysis explaining its significance. Each Saturday, we will follow up our daily Watch List for each week with our conclusions on these issues. Syria: U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told NBC News in an exclusive interview that the battle for Raqqa would start “in the next few weeks.” We need to re-examine the current state of battle in Syria’s civil war and determine what forces are massing for such an attack. If it really is going to start in a few weeks, forces have to start getting in place now. China: The story about two recently elected Hong Kong lawmakers having their swearing in process delayed because of their views on independence for Hong Kong is not going away. They still have not been sworn in and meetings are being disrupted by the issue. China: A Chinese man in Anhui province committed suicide yesterday, allegedly because his former employer owed him hundreds of thousands of yuan and was […]

Wallonia Strikes at Canada

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Oct. 25, 2016 How one regional parliament blocked a trade deal for the entire EU.

Israeli Strategy and the UNESCO Resolution

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Oct. 24, 2016 Israel will need external support to ensure its security in the long run.

Watch List: Oct. 25, 2016

The items listed below represent potential emerging issues that our analysts are tracking. These can be long term or short term, but will be updated daily. If an item on our Watch List becomes critical, we will email you a full analysis explaining its significance. Each Saturday, we will follow up our daily Watch List for each week with our conclusions on these issues. Afghanistan: Reports are surfacing of a resurgence of Islamic State activity in eastern Afghanistan. IS presence there has been small but effective in the past. Meanwhile, the Afghan government continues to report successes in operations against the Taliban in recent days. We need to look at whether IS is taking advantage of a generally chaotic situation in Afghanistan or actually growing in Afghanistan. Germany: A study published in the German newspaper Rheinische Post says Brexit will decrease growth in Germany by a quarter of a percent. The Cologne Institute for Economic Research says that if the 10 percent devaluation of the British pound against the euro following the referendum is maintained in the next year, German exports to Britain in 2017 will drop by 6 percent due to the weaker pound. Pakistan: A militant attack on […]

Beyond the ‘Model T’ Web

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Oct. 24, 2016 Last week’s cyberattack is an indicator of a significant vulnerability.

Watch List: Oct. 24, 2016

The items listed below represent potential emerging issues that our analysts are tracking. These can be long term or short term, but will be updated daily. If an item on our Watch List becomes critical, we will email you a full analysis explaining its significance. Each Saturday, we will follow up our daily Watch List for each week with our conclusions on these issues. Mosul Watch: The offensive is meeting resistance in areas about 12 miles outside Mosul – Bashiqa, Bartella, etc. Besides mounting this defense, the Islamic State has struck back at multiple locations, with reports of major attacks in Kirkuk, Rutba and Sinjar. Reports are conflicting as to just how serious and successful these spoiling attacks have been. This is not yet the battle for Mosul, it’s the battle for positions around Mosul. We must keep tracking the coalition’s success and not underestimate the Islamic State’s strength. Turkey-Iraq: Turkey and Iraq continue to argue about Turkey’s role in the Mosul offensive. Turkey claims its artillery and tanks are supporting the Kurdish peshmerga advance in Iraq. The Iraqi government wants Turkey to stop what it’s doing. The Kurds, on one hand, deny seeking Turkish support. On the other hand, […]

Watch List Findings: Oct. 22, 2016

What follows are the preliminary findings for issues identified in the daily Watch Lists this week. We are only sending findings that we regard as significant or potentially significant to keep this email manageable. We have findings for all the Watch List items. Should you be interested in findings not listed here, please contact us and we will email them to you. The findings below include more items from later in the week because they often overlap with items from earlier in the week. To emphasize, you can contact us if there is an item not included here for which you’d like to see the findings. Our goal, as always, is to focus on what matters and not on things that don’t. Items from Oct. 20 Afghanistan: Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah is making a rare visit to Saudi Arabia. Finding: Saudi Arabia’s monarch, King Salman, meeting with Abdullah is significant. Usually the Saudis don’t deal with Afghanistan’s Persians, who they see as linked to Iran. Instead they limit their dealings to the Pashtuns, who have held the presidency. It would appear that the Saudis want to cultivate relations with Afghanistan’s minorities as a way to counter Iranian influence. From Abdullah’s […]

The UK and Argentina’s Perennial Squabble

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Oct. 21, 2016 London continues to find strategic value in the Falkland Islands.

Mid-Term Taskings: Oct. 21, 2016

These are what we consider major mid- to long-term issues in the world that are linked to our annual forecast. The associated taskings will require monitoring for at least a week and likely longer, as they reflect ongoing processes that will develop over time. All items from last week’s mid-term taskings remain active. Tomorrow we will follow up with our findings on this week’s daily Watch List items. Iraq: The battle for Mosul has begun, which means that a coalition of various Iraqi actors, led by the Iraqi Security Forces, is beginning to approach and surround the city on three sides in preparation for an assault. Until this battle is over, this will be elevated to a constant watch. We will track military developments on the ground. We will be looking for any signs that the Islamic State is strengthening, that it is retreating to the west in Syria and that the coalition approaching the city is beginning to turn in on itself, either because it meets more resistance than expected or because the operation’s success will foster sectarian and tribal competition. Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia held its first international bond offer this week and sold $17.5 billion worth of […]

Explaining Australia’s Resilience in the Face of the Exporters’ Crisis

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Oct. 20, 2016 The country’s relatively strong export numbers won’t last.