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.
- Italy: Italy’s nationalist Five Star Movement party is seeking early elections originally due in 2018. But it is unclear if this would be consistent with the new election law. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano says fresh polls could be held in February. We need to get a clear understanding of what is next for Italy now that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has resigned after his defeat in the referendum. Since the issue now is more political than financial, we need to look at the next steps between now and election day.
- Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized emergent populist forces in the country. Merkel has to counter groups like the Alternative for Germany party, as well as elements within her own Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party that are opposed to the influx of migrants. With general elections less than a year away, we need to begin closely watching the German political landscape, especially in the context of the CDU’s recent losses in regional polls.
- Indonesia: The controversy surrounding Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, the governor of the Indonesian capital, continues to unfold. Police announced today that they had evidence that a group of people accused of plotting to hijack a protest against the governor to turn it into an uprising against the government had received money transfers from an unidentified source. The Islamic Defenders Front, which has been the vanguard of the campaign against Ahok, warned of a “revolution” if the Jakarta governor was not put in jail. Even the country’s second largest mainstream Muslim organization, Muhammadiyah, is demanding that Ahok’s trial proceed without official interference. The situation seems to be heating up and the country’s ambassador to China is even saying that Chinese businessmen want to know if it is safe to travel to Indonesia. Let’s dive deeper into this crisis and ascertain whether the country is headed for political instability and Islamist radicalism. We also need to determine if this will create problems for China.
- Iraq: We need an update on where things stand with the Iraqi Defense Ministry’s statement that it is effecting “changes to military plans for liberating Mosul in order to achieve speedy progress and protect civilians and their property.” Baghdad may not be providing too many details, but we can get a sense of what is happening by figuring out how much progress the Iraqi Security Forces have made in seizing land and where they are running into problems.
- Turkey: Turkey’s top generals had a sit-down with an American military delegation led by Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, at Incirlik air base. On a related note, the country’s main daily, Hürriyet, published an article questioning the progress being made in the country’s military offensive in northern Iraq. We need to know if there is greater understanding between Washington and Ankara and what Ankara’s plans are for increasing its involvement in Syria.