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Watch List: Nov. 13, 2017

Privatization plans in Turkmenistan, the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, more detentions in Saudi Arabia

  • View count: 17 views
  • Last updated: November 13
  • Total word count: 387 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.

  • Turkmenistan: Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov received proposals to start privatizing state energy, transport and communications enterprises as well as infrastructure facilities. The government is also reportedly pressuring construction firms to drop their claims against Ashgabat for unpaid contracts. We need to understand where Turkmenistan expects the money from privatization to come from. We also need to assess whether the unpaid construction contracts in any way threaten the government or social stability.
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership: Eleven countries struck a broad agreement in principle on the “core elements” of the TPP deal, which is now being called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is essentially a version of the TPP without the United States. We need details on what changes were made from the original TPP text. Are any categories particularly important? Over the long term, let’s also revisit and assess the potential geopolitical value and impact of this agreement.
  • Saudi Arabia: Over the weekend, 60 officials suspected of corruption were detained in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government hopes to confiscate $800 billion in assets from its purged elite. A significant portion of these assets is abroad, which will complicate efforts to seize them. Retrieving even part of this amount, however, would greatly help the country’s financial situation. What is the status of Saudi Arabia’s reserves and its rate of spending? How much of the assets in question is abroad? Is it possible for Saudi Arabia to confiscate so much money and maintain social stability?
  • Georgia: The Georgian defense minister hailed U.S. plans to allocate $100 million for Georgian defense reforms. The reforms would increase Georgia’s defense capabilities and boost strategic cooperation with the United States. The U.S. is also expected to support Georgia’s spring 2018 launch of a defense readiness program that will include the training of nine new battalions over three years. To what extent does Russia consider U.S. funding and training of Georgian troops a threat?