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.
Romania, Poland: Romania and Poland – two linchpins of the Intermarium, a defensive alignment GPF believes will form against Russia in Eastern Europe – have reached an agreement on defense cooperation. Be on the lookout for details on the agreement and for Russia’s response to it. Is there any connection between this and Poland’s recent bid to get the United States to build a permanent base in Poland?
Saudi Arabia, Syria: According to Turkish media, Saudi Arabia, which has been notably quiet in the Syrian civil war lately, has been meeting with officials from the People’s Protection Units, a mostly Kurdish Syrian militia commonly known as the YPG, offering $200 to anyone willing to fight for the YPG’s Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. First, let’s confirm the report. Then, if confirmed, let’s figure out why Saudi Arabia is doing this now.
Kazakhstan, Russia: Kazakhstan’s Energy Ministry has proposed to parliament a law that would freeze Russian imports of gasoline by rail for three months. Why? Where else does Kazakhstan get its gasoline and by what other means?
Uzbekistan: A few reports, citing unfavorable weather conditions, suggest rice and cotton yields are lower than expected in Uzbekistan. People tend to get restless when they can’t get food or clothes. Find out how bad this is and if other crops are similarly affected.
Turkey, U.S.: There are conflicting reports on U.S.-Turkey negotiations in northern Syria. Typically, reports follow a predictable pattern: Turkey announces that some kind of a deal has been reached, only to have the U.S. subsequently deny it. Reports from this week that Ankara and Washington have reached a deal on the YPG’s withdrawal from Manbij are notably detailed. The U.S., true to form, has denied that a deal has been reached. Keep your eyes open for confirmation on this issue – as well as on unconfirmed threats that Turkey would close Incirlik air base to Washington.
India, Indonesia: India and Indonesia have reached an agreement on naval defense cooperation that would entail building infrastructure on India’s Andaman Islands and Indonesia’s Sabang Islands. The two sides also agreed to form a comprehensive strategic partnership. This appears to be pretty straightforward, but still, let’s get a feel for what their mutual interests are and find out what kind of hardware would be stationed on the islands.
North Korea, Iran: North Korean media reported that Iran and North Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding on technology cooperation. Little detail was provided. The two countries have a history of cooperating on missile and nuclear technology. The timing is interesting, of course – the Iran nuclear deal is all but dead, and North Korean nuclear negotiations are clouded in uncertainty. This is something to keep our eyes on.
Australia: Amid fears of growing Chinese infiltration or influence in the country, Australia is conducting a large-scale review of its spy agency. Is this routine, or is there something specific that’s spooking Australia?