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SITUATION REPORTApr 20, 2021 | 20:12 GMT
Philippines: Duterte Threatens to Send Military Ships to South China Sea
In a televised address, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would send military vessels into the South China Sea to assert his country’s claims to hydrocarbon and mineral resources in the region, noting such efforts would be “bloody” and result in violence, the South China Morning Post reported April 19.
AssessmentsApr 20, 2021 | 15:59 GMT
An ariel view shows a camp in Idlib for people displaced by Syria's ongoing civil war on April 13, 2021.
Desperate for Help, Syria May Turn to the UAE
The Syrian government’s need to maintain legitimacy amid growing economic challenges may leave it little choice but to tap into the United Arab Emirates’ humanitarian lifelines. But by cozying up with a rival of its longtime ally Iran, Damascus could find itself lodged in a battle for influence between Abu Dhabi and Tehran. Syria’s war-torn economy is in crisis, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the collapse of key trading partner Lebanon’s own economy, and a lack of reconstruction aid to restore its war-shattered infrastructure. On April 15, President Bashar al Assad’s government devalued the Syrian pound in a bid to support the beleaguered currency, just two days after firing the head of the country’s central bank. Meanwhile, constraints on its primary oil provider, Iran, have exacerbated Syria’s long-standing fuel crisis. The Suez Canal blockage in late March coincided with the launch of a more aggressive Israeli campaign to interdict oil
AssessmentsApr 14, 2021 | 19:16 GMT
Iran and China’s foreign ministers (right to left) sign a partnership agreement in Tehran on March 27, 2021.
Iran Will Pursue Its New China Partnership With Caution
Iran’s strategic partnership with China will lead to increased security and economic cooperation, but Tehran will avoid fully siding with Beijing for fear of becoming too dependent on a single partner and alienating itself from the West. The March 27 signing of their 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is reflective of the mutual interest between Tehran and Beijing, including collaboration on Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as well as on energy and defense matters. But Iran loathes becoming strategically dependent on any power and will seek to balance its partnership with China with improving ties to Western countries, to ensure Tehran remains as a “neither East, nor West, Islamic Republic,” as Supreme Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini put it. 
SITUATION REPORTApr 9, 2021 | 20:12 GMT
South Korea: Prime Minister to Visit Iran for First Time Since 1977
South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun will visit Iran next week, where he is expected to discuss releasing an estimated $7-10 billion in detained Iranian funds to be used for humanitarian purposes, Yonhap reported April 9. Chung will be the first South Korean prime minister to visit Iran since 1977.
AssessmentsApr 5, 2021 | 17:43 GMT
An electronic board shows the index chart at the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange after shares in Brazilian state oil giant Petrobras plunged amid news of a leadership shake-up on Feb. 22, 2021.
Is Brazil Barreling Toward an All-Out Economic Crisis?
The Brazilian government is unlikely to implement fiscal reforms needed to emerge from its pandemic-induced recession ahead of the 2022 presidential election. This will, in turn, damage investor confidence and foreign investment inflows, which could delay Brazil’s economic recovery, worsen its fiscal problems and reduce trade with other nearby economies. Brazil’s politicians have used costly welfare programs to keep the economy and their approval ratings afloat during the pandemic, and are now adverse to putting a cap on public sector spending. Brazil’s fiscal sustainability is at risk due to rising inflation, high public debt and a recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Quarterly ForecastsMar 29, 2021 | 00:00 GMT
2021 Second-Quarter Forecast
COVID-19 will again dominate in the second quarter of 2021. With new viral variants and staggered or stalled vaccine rollouts, the global economic rebound will be uneven around the world.
SnapshotsMar 26, 2021 | 20:29 GMT
A Possible Iranian Attack on an Israeli Ship Suggests a Widening of Tensions
The recent uptick in maritime attacks between Israel and Iran risks triggering a broader escalation that leads to more attacks on Israeli commercial interests. Israel’s Channel 12 News reported on March 25 that an Iranian missile hit an Israeli-owned container ship in the Arabian Sea while it was traveling from Tanzania to India. The television station did not provide further details, but subsequent reporting suggested that the Israeli-owned Lori cargo ship was targeted. Shipping transponder data from the Lori, which has since arrived in a port in India, also showed a sharp, sudden deceleration in the Arabian Sea before resuming normal speed. 
SnapshotsMar 24, 2021 | 17:15 GMT
Houthi rebels hold a funeral for fighters killed in Marib, Yemen, on March 23, 2021.
In Yemen, Another Failed Saudi Cease-Fire Will Force U.S. Support
Yemeni Houthis’ likely rejection of a Saudi cease-fire will pressure the United States to soften its criticism of Saudi Arabia’s campaign in Yemen to avoid more rebel advances that would worsen the country’s humanitarian situation. On March 22, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan announced a new cease-fire proposal for the Yemeni civil war. The proposal included a nationwide halt in fighting, a U.N. supervisory role, a reopening of the Sanaa airport and Hodeidah port, and a resumption of political negotiations between Houthi rebels and the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabboh Mansoor Hadi. The Houthis, however, appear poised to reject the offer. Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam, speaking to Reuters, said the group expected the blockade to be lifted first, saying it should not be used as a pressure tool. After the cease-fire was announced, Saudi airstrikes also hit Houthi targets near Hodeidah and Sanaa as fighting continued
On SecurityMar 15, 2021 | 10:00 GMT
Signs mark the boundary between the United States and Mexico over the Rio Grande on Aug. 6, 2008, near Laredo, Texas.
Security Threats in the United States From Mexican Organized Crime
The criminal threat to personnel and company assets in Mexico from transnational criminal organizations and other opportunistic criminals has been well established. Petty robberies, extortion, cargo theft and the use of indiscriminate violence in populated areas are all risks of doing business in Mexico. Despite its proximity, however, the threats of criminal activity in Mexico manifest themselves differently north of the border. In this column, we will explore how Mexico-based criminal activity threatens individuals and companies in the United States.
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