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SnapshotsAug 11, 2020 | 19:49 GMT
Beijing Moves to Temper Tensions in Hong Kong With an Extended Legislative Term
Beijing's recent decision to extend the Hong Kong legislature's term creates a cover for Chinese action, which seeks to temper tensions both within the city as well as with the United States, while still emphasizing the continuity of One Country, Two Systems by putting the responsibility in the hands of the Hong Kong government. On Aug. 11, China's National People's Congress Standing Committee approved extending the term of the current Hong Kong legislative council for at least a year, leaving the Hong Kong government to decide whether the four pro-democracy lawmakers disqualified from elections will keep their seats in the legislature. Reports suggest that lawmakers will not be required to swear new oaths of office or make a controversial pledge to uphold the new national security law.
GuidanceFeb 28, 2020 | 21:40 GMT
This photo shows a U.S. Chinook helicopter landing at a provincial capital in Afghanistan.
The U.S. and Taliban Prepare to Take a First Step Toward Peace in Afghanistan
After a weeklong reduction in violence in Afghanistan, the United States and the Taliban are set to sign a peace agreement in Doha, Qatar, on Feb. 29. Both sides hope the deal will be the first step toward ending U.S. involvement in the Afghan war and bringing peace to a land that has been in an almost constant state of war since 1979. Two of the most important points of the agreement include the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and a promise from the Taliban that it will not allow transnational militant groups to use the country as a base. Once it's signed, the next step will be talks among the Afghan government, the Taliban and other parties to establish a durable cease-fire and eventually end the country's war. But the road ahead will be strewn with pitfalls. 
GuidanceFeb 19, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani presents the budget for the fiscal year that starts in late March 2020 on Dec. 8, 2019. Rouhani described it as a "budget of resistance" against crippling U.S. sanctions.
What Iran's Next Vote Means for Policy and the Presidency
On Feb. 21, Iran will hold the first round of parliamentary elections that could usher in the return of a more conservative legislature. With moderates and reformists taking a back seat, such an outcome would nudge Tehran toward more hard-line and hawkish foreign policies, leaving less room for negotiation with the West amid soaring U.S.-Iran tensions. Regardless of its next ideological make-up, however, Iran's incoming parliament will struggle more than ever to answer the economic and social demands of an increasingly desperate and cash-strapped electorate -- a reality that could have dire consequences for Tehran's political stability ahead of the country's crucial 2021 presidential election.
On GeopoliticsJan 30, 2020 | 09:00 GMT
Construction of a second phase at Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant, part of the Iranian civilian nuclear program, continues.
As the U.S. Squeezes Iran, Europe Is Stuck in the Middle
Tensions between the United States and Iran will almost certainly escalate once again later this year as Iran's nuclear program continues to expand. Iran is likely to continue to be more aggressive on its nuclear policy because of U.S. sanctions despite EU efforts to dissuade Iran from doing so, and if the European Union does not proceed with the dispute resolution mechanism, then the United States may find a way to force sanctions to snap back on its own initiative. It will also exert diplomatic pressure -- backed by threats of punitive measures -- on the E3 to take a harder line against Iran. Iran, however, is unlikely to budge on the U.S. maximum pressure campaign before the November U.S. presidential election. And this creates the potential for a crisis involving a limited military confrontation. 
AssessmentsJan 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
This May 24, 2019, photograph shows garment workers making men's suits in a factory in Hanoi, Vietnam.
In Vietnam, Clouds Gather on the Horizon
Vietnam shone in the geopolitical spotlight in 2019, writing an economic success story amid global uncertainty over trade, mediating between the United States and North Korea and becoming a key security partner for powers near and far. But as Vietnam prepares for an all-important leadership transition in January 2021, jockeying for influence among domestic political players and major outside powers will test the country's political stability and strategic balance. Such a risk could complicate Vietnam's investment climate at a time when competition is heating up to be the most business-friendly destination in the region.
AssessmentsDec 19, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
The scene at a meeting of Ivorian opposition parties on Sept. 14, 2019, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
In Ivory Coast, an Impending Election Portends Instability
When Ivorians go to the polls in October 2020, they won't just be electing a new president, they'll also be testing the country's political stability. During the last decade, Ivory Coast has enjoyed rapid economic growth, averaging 8 percent of gross domestic product per year, following deadly and destabilizing post-electoral violence in 2010. Yet while the growth has been impressive, political reconciliation has lagged. As political forces in the country's three main regions gear up for battle next year, the question of whether Ivory Coast can prevent its political ghosts from returning to haunt the country -- and opening the door for Sahel-based militants to make more inroads in the process -- will be paramount for both the nation's stability and foreign investors.
AssessmentsNov 6, 2019 | 10:30 GMT
Supporters of the opposition Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) party attend an anti-government rally in Islamabad on Nov. 5. JUI-F party leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman led thousands of supporters into the capital and vowed to continue his protest until Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan steps down.
Why the Protests in Pakistan Will Likely Fail to Oust Khan
Tens of thousands of opposition protesters stormed the Pakistani capital of Islamabad on Oct. 31, demanding that Prime Minister Imran Khan step down over allegations that his government won a rigged election in July 2018. The demonstrations were the latest of a growing surge of Pakistani unrest in response to the country's slowing economy and soaring inflation. But while the influx of political unrest and economic anger all but guarantee a rocky few months for the former cricketer-turned-prime minister, Khan's ties to the country's politically powerful army will ensure he's able to weather the storm.
SnapshotsOct 28, 2019 | 16:53 GMT
Argentina Has Elected a Leftist President. Now What?
Center-left candidate Alberto Fernandez won Argentina's Oct. 27 presidential election with roughly 48 percent of the vote, eliminating the conservative incumbent Mauricio Macri, who received roughly 40 percent. Fernandez defends greater state intervention in the economy and expansionary fiscal policies, as opposed to Macri's business-friendly and deficit-tightening positions. Fernandez's inauguration as president on Dec. 10 will mark a change of direction for Argentina. But with the economy expected to shrink by another 3 percent this year, the harsh realities of Argentina's financial situation risk cutting Fernandez's honeymoon period short once he takes office in December. 
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