Watch List: June 8, 2017

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. North Korea: North Korea has sent an ambassador to attend the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities in New York City, according to a report from Pyongyang’s state news agency KCNA. The reason for his arrival is not interesting; the timing of it is. The last North Korean diplomat to visit the United States had his visa revoked at the last minute. Pyongyang just tested four anti-ship missiles, so let’s see whether the visit actually takes place – and whether there are any more signs of escalation on the Korean Peninsula. Oil: The price of Brent crude has fallen to about $48 per barrel despite the highly publicized production cut extensions of most major producers. The United States, however, has increased crude production and exports. Is that why prices have fallen, or are there other reasons? Is […]

Watch List Findings: Dec. 2, 2017

Russian-supported power transfer in eastern Ukraine, status of U.S. deployments in South Korea and Japan

Watch List Findings: Dec. 9, 2017

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 list 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. 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 Dec. 4 Ukraine: The former leader of the Luhansk People’s Republic was accused by members of his own battalion of aiding the Ukrainian special services. This comes after he lost control of the rebel region and reportedly fled to Moscow. Something is happening in the Russia-U.S.-Ukraine talks, and we need to understand it better. What is Moscow’s view of this story? What details can we find about the claims of rebel forces being friendly to Kiev? Are there any signs of talks going badly or of Russia changing its relationship with the rebels? Finding: The Kremlin has not […]

Watch List: Sept. 11, 2017

New North Korea sanctions, Russian elections, Hamas goes to Egypt

Watch List Findings: May 13, 2017

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. 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 May 11 Turkey: Three developments took place regarding Turkey and the United States following the U.S. announcement that it will arm the Syrian Kurds as the primary fighting force in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria. First, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim had a brief meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis in London in which differences were acknowledged and deemed resolvable. Separately, Washington has offered to increase the capabilities of the intelligence center in Ankara shared by the two countries to ease concerns regarding the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Most significantly, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan […]

Watch List: Sept. 18, 2017

Turkish moves in Syria, Kurdish independence referendum, Madrid steps up pressure on Catalonia

Watch List: Jan. 2, 2018

Exploiting Iran’s protests, direct talks in Korea, pro-independence march in Hong Kong

Watch List: Jan. 9, 2018

Intrigue in Iran, money management in China, exports out of Germany

Watch List: Dec. 7, 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. China: China’s foreign exchange reserves fell nearly $70 billion last month. The EU Chamber of Commerce in Beijing said several European companies have been unable to remit dividends abroad following the introduction of “disruptive” new exchange controls. We need to identify other capital flight controls that are in place and being planned. Syria: Let’s get a status update on the battle in Aleppo. There are reports that the Syrian army has taken over the old city of Aleppo. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is discussing Syria with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Additionally, several Syrian rebel factions on Wednesday proposed a five-day cease-fire in the eastern part of Aleppo for civilian evacuation. China-Myanmar: The Chinese Ministry of National Defense has refuted recent media reports claiming that missiles […]

Watch List Findings: July 1, 2017

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 list 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. 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 June 26 Syria: The Syrian army is making large gains in eastern Syria, having advanced 60 miles (100 kilometers) in 48 hours. Approaching from secondary roads, the Syrian army has reached the T-2 pumping station, an Islamic State-held position where roads extending to Deir el-Zour, al-Mayadin and Abu Kamal all meet. We need to know the size of the Syrian army force. We also need to watch for the IS response; if it can’t hold this ground or hit the Syrian army’s supply lines and cripple the assault, then the Syrian army will have a direct line to […]

Watch List: July 10, 2017

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. Turkmenistan: Turkmenistan produced about 600,000 fewer metric tons of wheat than the 1.6 million metric tons it was projected to harvest this year. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said the harvest was still enough to meet the country’s domestic consumption needs. Our model anticipates instability in Central Asia, and food shortages can be a strong trigger for unrest in a country that is already economically strained. We need to confirm domestic wheat consumption levels, look into potential import options and watch for any signs of inflation in prices for wheat-based food products. Hungary: A new far-right Hungarian political party known as the Force and Determination party has filled the gap left by the nationalist Jobbik party, which is attempting to moderate its policies. We expect nationalist and separatist parties to grow more popular in Europe, especially in countries affected by […]

Watch List: Jan. 16, 2018

Turkish backlash against U.S. moves, possible sanctions against Poland, PLO to revoke recognition of Israel