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.
- Lebanon, Israel: Lebanon’s army chief said Lebanese soldiers on the border with Israel should be on high alert. Israeli officials dismissed his statement as “nonsense.” Hezbollah went on alert last week after relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia deteriorated. Israel has been on alert in the south on its border with Egypt and Gaza. We need to determine the alert status of Israel on its northern border with Lebanon. This will give us an indication of what’s real and what’s just hot air.
- Russia: Two Russian media outlets, the Moscow Times and Vedomosti, published articles with borderline sensationalist headlines on the negative state of the Russian economy. Meanwhile, Russia’s meteorological service said Nov. 20 that there were extremely high concentrations of the radioactive isotope ruthenium-106 in Russia between September and October, potentially due to a nuclear accident. We should check the validity of all these stories, but the deeper question is: Why are negative reports coming out in Russia? Should we read into this a lack of control over the media on the part of the Russian central government?
- United States: U.S. Pacific Command announced that the deployment of a squadron of F-35B stealth fighters in Japan was completed on Nov. 15. What is the order of battle for U.S. allies in the region? Let’s continue to monitor for signs of a buildup.
- China, Germany: Cargo train services have been launched between central China and the German city of Hamburg. A train left China Nov. 20 to inaugurate the service. Is this a new rail line, or are old connections being used? A separate question: What are the conditions of the existing rail and road connections between Central Asia and China? Has there been any significant development that we need to take into account?