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SnapshotsSep 29, 2020 | 20:24 GMT
A Split Poll Sways Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Lawmakers to Stay for Extended Term
As the room for dissent in the city shrinks, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp will find itself increasingly divided between those who want to work within the system, those who choose to confront authorities and those who want to simply opt-out of politics altogether. On Sept. 29, 15 Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers announced that they had chosen not to boycott the upcoming extended Legislative Council term, following a poll showing their supporters were divided on the issue. The lawmakers took the inconclusive poll results as a directive to exercise their own discretion, saying they chose "the lesser of two evils" in order to prevent the pro-Beijing camp from easily passing adverse legislation and to maintain a platform to express pro-democracy opinions. 
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SnapshotsSep 29, 2020 | 15:42 GMT
Armenian soldiers fire artillery shells toward Azeri forces in the town of Martakert, located in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, on April 3, 2016.
Armenia and Azerbaijan Intensify Their Border Battle
The current, intense fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces near the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which started early on Sept. 27, follows months of atypically high levels of ceasefire violations between the two sides since a July 2020 skirmish in a different sector of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Russian efforts to alter its strategy in the South Caucasus may have signaled an opportunity to Azerbaijan, prompting an attempt to advance its position on the battlefield while still enjoying strong Turkish support. The established dynamics of Armenia and Azerbaijan’s ongoing conflict, however, are expected to persist, as local geography and a lack of resources limit both sides’ ability to challenge the higher-level reality along the line of contact.
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AssessmentsSep 29, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An illustration shows the flags of Israel and Iran painted on a cracked wall.
For Israel, a New U.S. President Could Mean a Renewed Anti-Iran Push
A victory by U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden in November could prompt Israel to escalate its attacks against Iran in both current and new theaters across the Middle East in order to derail a potential U.S. return to diplomacy with Israel’s regional archnemesis. Before the U.S. election, Israel is unlikely to significantly alter its current strategy of recurrent, opportunistic strikes against Iranian forces in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, since Tehran’s nuclear program is not yet showing signs of the imminent development of a nuclear weapon. Increased attacks against Iran in the coming weeks would also risk jeopardizing the electoral prospects of Israel’s close U.S. ally, President Donald Trump, who is trying to use his reputation as a regional peace broker to bolster his chances of reelection in November. Moreover, Israel’s current “shadow war” with Iran, fought through proxy theaters and covertly within Iran itself, can continue to allow Israel to
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Quarterly ForecastsSep 28, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
2020 Fourth-Quarter Forecast
The last quarter of 2020 will be a waiting game -- waiting for the results of the U.S. election in November, waiting on economic numbers, and waiting to see how the COVID-19 crisis plays out.
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AssessmentsSep 25, 2020 | 20:27 GMT
A picture taken on Aug. 14, 2018, shows the logo of Turkey's central bank at the entrance of its headquarters in Ankara.
Contextualizing Turkey’s Surprise Interest Rate Hike
On Sept. 24, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) announced a surprise interest rate hike in a preemptive move that seeks to prevent the country’s depreciating currency from unfolding into a larger banking or balance of payments and external debt crisis. The steadily declining value of Turkey’s national currency, the lira, is largely the result of economic imbalances -- partially precipitated by a highly negative real interest rate, a credit-fueled construction boom, and large external financing needs, as well as the CBRT’s lack of credibility and near exhaustion of Ankara’s foreign currency reserves.
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On GeopoliticsSep 25, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A damaged EU flag is seen in Brenzone, Italy, on Aug. 14, 2019. 
The Quest for European Unity: No End of History
Europe faces a challenge of identity and international role over the next decade. For nearly 500 years, Europe sat at the center of the international system, its internal competitions rippling out across the globe. But the relative balance of global power and influence has shifted. And rather than being the driving force of global dynamics, Europe is increasingly caught between major powers: the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and now the United States and China. Internally, Europe still strives for the creation of a continental union, though those dreams have been eroded by financial crises, Brexit and a resurgence of nationalism in recent years. Externally, Europe remains fragmented in its foreign policy and prioritization. The shifting patterns of global competition will compel Europe to rethink its internal structures and to come to grips with defining its interests abroad. Otherwise, it will find itself drifting further
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SnapshotsSep 24, 2020 | 19:59 GMT
COVID-19 Tests Jordan’s Stability
Jordan’s deteriorating social and economic conditions due to COVID-19 are driving support to Islamist parties, raising the risk of a government crackdown that could fan the flames of radicalism. Despite recording fewer than 5,000 COVID-19 cases since March, Jordan has taken a strict lockdown approach, with tight border controls and restricted incoming arrivals for tourist locations. The subsequent impact on business activity, and in particular tourism revenue (which accounts for nearly 20 percent of Jordan’s GDP), has in turn taken a steep toll country’s economy, with unemployment now expected to hit an all-time high of 25 percent by the end of this year. 
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