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.
- Ukraine: It was reported on Dec. 23 that the United States has agreed to send antitank missiles to Ukraine. On the same day, France and Germany said Russia should return to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination, a group that monitors the cease-fire in Donbass, after it withdrew its participation on Dec. 19. NATO warned, also on Dec. 23, that Russian submarine activity is at its highest level since the Cold War, and the U.K. complained of an “upsurge in Russian units transiting U.K. waters” as a British warship escorted a Russian frigate near territorial waters on Dec. 26. We need to connect the dots and determine whether what is happening challenges our conclusion that the conflict in eastern Ukraine will remain a frozen conflict. Is the situation escalating, and what forces do the U.S. and Russia have available if the conflict does escalate?
- Russia: Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Dec. 26 that Russia will focus on developing military infrastructure in the Arctic and along its western borders in the near future. He also announced that Russia has started building a permanent presence in Syria’s Tartus and Hmeimim. We need to understand the context behind these announcements and get more details on Russia’s plans.
- Turkey: The Turkish government has introduced several important changes relating to economic management that will have a direct impact on the way the administration works. This comes as Turkey has announced that the state of emergency that was imposed after last year’s coup attempt may be lifted in 2018. How do the new rules relate to Turkish politics? Will these changes increase the central government’s control?
- Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan’s former Defense Minister Rahim Qaziyev has been detained, according to Turan news agency. He has reportedly spoken out against President Ilham Aliyev in two interviews. Is his arrest an indication of increased opposition pressure on the regime in Baku?