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: Moscow and Seoul have agreed to pursue trilateral development projects involving North Korea. The goal is to connect the Korean Peninsula internally and with eastern Russia. This comes just as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to discuss North Korea with Russian and South Korean leaders. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged the parties concerned to pay closer attention to the Russia-China road map for the settlement of the crisis on the Korean Peninsula. What are the details of this road map? Does Moscow see a viable path forward on denuclearization (with more inducements than threats), or is this merely another manifestation of Russia’s strategy to frustrate U.S. objectives in the region?
- Turkey: According to Turkish media, Turkey’s military will begin operations this month in Idlib province alongside the Free Syrian Army. This would be Turkey’s second incursion into Syria, following Operation Euphrates Shield, which began last October and ended earlier this year. Why would Turkey announce a military operation before initiating it? What will Turkey’s objective in Idlib be?
- India: The defense ministers of India and Japan have agreed to collaborate closely in defense production, including on dual-use technologies. They also agreed to increase counterterrorism cooperation and inter-military engagements. Meanwhile, India’s foreign minister said on Twitter that India-Russia relations were solid. All this is happening against the backdrop of India’s army reform. We need a clearer idea of where India’s defense alliances and suppliers are headed.
- Egypt: Egypt and the United States will hold their first joint military exercises since 2009 from Sept. 10 to Sept. 20, even though the U.S. just cut defense aid to Egypt. At the same time, joint Russian-Egyptian military exercises will be held in Russia. And the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank announced Sept. 5 that it would provide up to $210 million in debt financing to tap renewable energy in Egypt. We need to think about Egypt’s strategic value to these countries and compare what they can offer with what Egypt needs.
- Bangladesh: A suspected militant apparently detonated a bomb last night in Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing at least three people. Given the instability in this area of the world with the Rohingya refugees and, to a lesser extent, Islamic State affiliates in the Philippines, we need to know who carried this out. We also need to assess whether this was an isolated incident.
- Moldova: Moldova’s pro-Russian president, Igor Dodon, blocked government plans to send troops to Ukraine to participate in NATO-led military exercises starting this week. Prime Minister Pavel Filip said that there were no grounds for the decision and that the troops would be sent anyway. What’s going on in Moldova, and how does it tie in with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments about pressuring the U.S. in other areas?
- U.S., Europe: Cybersecurity firm Symantec claimed that hackers had gained entry into the U.S. and European energy sectors. Cyberwarfare is a way for states and non-state actors with fewer resources to damage more powerful countries. We need to better understand the nature of these attacks.