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Watch List: June 12, 2018

Russia in the Balkans, Yemen in the UAE, Japan in Jordan

  • Last updated: June 12
  • Total word count: 425 words

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.

Russia: Russia’s ambassador to Serbia reaffirmed Moscow’s support for the Serbian government, particularly over the question of Kosovo, which Moscow likened to Crimea. Serbia’s president also said that he had received a warning from NATO that the deployment of Serbian troops to Kosovo-Metohija would be considered a hostile act. Russia is a Serbian ally and appears to be taking a greater role in the Serbia-Kosovo conflict, and the Balkans are always a generally unstable place. Find out the status of Serbian troop movement. Look into NATO’s relationship with Kosovo. Track down the supposed threat to Serbia from NATO.

Yemen: Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is visiting the United Arab Emirates for the first time since February. His government is fighting a civil war against Houthi rebels, and it is still locked in its coalition of the UAE and Saudi Arabia and preparing for an assault on the strategically important port of Hodeida. Is the conflict intensifying?

Russia, Ukraine, Belarus: Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have each lowered their estimates for grain yields. Agriculture is important to all of these countries’ economies. Do the current estimates still produce enough volume to meet domestic demand? How much money will be lost based on the revised crop estimates so far?

Venezuela: Venezuela’s Ministry of Eco-socialism and Water recently reported that water levels for half of the country’s 62 reservoirs were 30 percent lower than the previous year. Reports of water rationing are common, and there are also now claims of shortages and service interruptions that last as long as 48 hours. Severe water problems can reach critical levels fast. We need to study Venezuela’s water supply and distribution, particularly in urban areas, to determine the severity and level of social risk.

Jordan: Jordan is trying to secure an $800 million credit line from Japan, pending certification from the International Monetary Fund, to begin extending tranches of the line. This comes just after Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait pledged a $2.5 billion aid package to be paid over the next five years. How long has this line been under consideration? What does IMF certification entail? What are Japan’s interests in Jordan?