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.
Aug. 10, 2016
- Russia, Turkey, Syria: We have had the meeting and Russia and Turkey are friends. But the real test of this friendship is Syria and is about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Turkey wants him out. Russia wants him to stay. There has been no discussion of this issue and until there is, the Turkish-Russian friendship is not locked. We need to see how the national media play this to see which way the wind is blowing.
- Russia: There are stories emerging with greater frequency about President Vladimir Putin’s status and power. Some say his power is absolute, others say he has become a figurehead, with everything in between. It’s only politics, but it’s important politics. We need to watch.
- Russia-Armenia: There is a meeting between their presidents with the obvious issue being Nagorno-Karabakh. This would be a big concession for Russia and a win for Turkey. It’s not clear what Turkey will give. See Syria above.
- U.S.-Russia: The U.S. has a man in prison named Viktor Bout, a Russian jailed for 25 years on charges of illegal weapons sales. His wife has now come forward and said that he was jailed because he wouldn’t provide information on Igor Sechin, head of Rosneft and a powerful figure in Kremlin politics. Why she came forward now is not known, nor is it known whether her statement is true. But given that many consider Sechin the main alternative to Putin, it’s worth looking at.
- Azerbaijan-Iran: These countries have turned on a new power grid and created a cooperative for gas sales. Things seem to be warming up there.
- Poland: The government is moving to protect Polish homeowners who borrowed in Swiss francs. This seems similar to what Hungary did a few years ago in allowing homeowners to repay in forints. If the Poles do this with złotys, the EU will be further weakened. Let’s see if this happens.
- China: China is dumping steel. What does this mean? Are they dumping below cost? The details count.
- Jordan: Jordan is reporting that it killed infiltrators from Syria. Yesterday it complained about U.S. strategy along its border. Is there any connection? And is Jordan’s stability at increased risk?