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SnapshotsJun 18, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Turkey Expands Its Military Operations in Northern Iraq
The escalation of Turkey’s operations against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq has shown Ankara’s willingness to encroach on Iraqi territory, even if it risks damaging ties with Baghdad. On June 17, Turkey deployed commandos in northern Iraq’s Haftanin region as part of Operation Claw-Tiger, a follow up to the air-intensive Operation Claw-Eagle launched the day before. Turkey's defense ministry described the operations as Turkey’s largest in the area in five years. Although Turkey has been conducting airstrikes in northern Iraqi territory against Kurdish militants and extremists for many years, the deployment of ground forces is an unusual development illustrating escalation in the urgency with which Turkey views these operations, which continue Ankara’s goal of targeting and destroying enclaves of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 
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SnapshotsJun 15, 2020 | 17:11 GMT
Despite ‘Intensified’ EU-U.K. Trade Talks, a No-Deal Brexit Remains Possible
The U.K. government’s decision to officially forgo extending its membership in the EU single market beyond Dec. 31 has increased the probability of no-deal Brexit on Jan. 1, but a limited trade agreement remains possible given Brussels and London’s mutual desire to avoid further economic disruption in light of the COVID-19 crisis. On June 15, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a virtual meeting with the presidents of the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament in an attempt to unblock EU-U.K. negotiations. According to an EU press release, Johnson confirmed that the United Kingdom will not seek to remain in the bloc’s single market in 2021. But during the meeting, he and EU leaders also agreed on the need to “intensify” talks and secure “new momentum” toward reaching a deal by increasing the frequency of trade negotiations from monthly to weekly. There are still significant obstacles, however, to
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AssessmentsJun 15, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Protesters in New York City kneel at an intersection to demand an end to systemic racism and police brutality on June 11, 2020.
U.S. Unrest Further Strains Trump’s Ties With Global Allies
Global U.S. allies are increasingly condemning the White House’s heavy-handed response to the nationwide protests following George Floyd’s death, suggesting a further erosion of U.S. leadership that could compromise Washington’s ability to find consensus on its controversial agenda of multilateral economic and security issues. Commentary from reputable news outlets and elite opinion-makers in Europe over the past week have questioned whether American internal polarization and discord would weaken its ability to function as a reliable ally. Increasingly irritated with the White House’s break from long-standing diplomatic norms, European governments appear to be translating opinion into policy action by challenging Trump’s proposed adjustments to the Group of Seven (G-7) summit and U.S. military posture in Europe.
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On GeopoliticsJun 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi answers questions during a video press conference on May 24, 2020, in Beijing, China.
China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ Diplomacy Risks Backfiring on Beijing
The growing global backlash against China's involvement in both the COVID-19 pandemic and Hong Kong's political crisis is fueling a new brand of "wolf warrior" diplomacy in Beijing based on a nationalistic Chinese movie. This more aggressive stance abroad exposes a sense of vulnerability in Beijing, and poses two potential risks for the regime -- the first is that the tactic backfires overseas, and the second, and perhaps more problematic, is that Beijing loses control of the nationalistic narrative.
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SITUATION REPORTMay 4, 2020 | 20:41 GMT
Pakistan: Factory Owners Inform Court of Inability to Pay Workers Due to COVID-19
In a petition against a government measure that requires factories to pay their workers full wages and bans firing, Pakistani textile industry owners in Sindh informed the province’s high court that they were unable to pay many of their workers due to the economic instability brought on by the COVID-19 lockdown, Geo News reported May 4. 
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AssessmentsApr 29, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A pro-Brexit banner is seen outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Oct. 30. 2019.
The Scramble to Secure EU-U.K. Trade Ties Amid COVID-19
Time is running out for the European Union and the United Kingdom to reach a free trade agreement before Britain's scheduled exit from the EU single market on Jan. 1, 2021. The second round of negotiations, which ended on April 24, failed to produce significant progress. This leaves only two more rounds of scheduled talks before London has to decide whether to extend its participation in the single market in late June, lest risk having to trade with the European Union under costly World Trade Organization (WTO) tariffs starting next year. As both sides reckon with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis, a limited trade agreement that preserves the status quo of U.K.-EU trade relations as much as possible, or an extension of London's membership in the single market, will become increasingly likely in order to avoid a disruptive "hard" exit that neither Brussels nor Britain can afford. 
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AssessmentsApr 27, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An Iranian warship takes part in celebrations for “National Persian Gulf Day” in the Strait of Hormuz on April 30, 2019.
Trump Ups the Ante With Iran in the Persian Gulf
Iran and the United States may be heading toward another round of confrontation, even as both countries deal with significant COVID-19 outbreaks at home. Following a recent incident where 11 Iranian ships harassed U.S. vessels transiting the Persian Gulf, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted April 22 that he had "instructed" the U.S. Navy to destroy any Iranian vessels harassing U.S. ships. It remains unclear the extent to which, if at all, the United States will adjust its rules of engagement in response to Iran's latest maritime provocations. But the exchange highlights how Washington and Tehran’s current hawkish streak and inclination toward public threats could lead to another round of miscalculation and/or escalation between the two rivals. 
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AssessmentsApr 16, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A pumpjack outside the Russian city of Surgut.
The Golden Age of Russian Oil Nears an End
Russia's easily accessible oil reserves have long been the cornerstone of its economy. But these conventional fields are depleting, leading to the need to invest and expand into more untapped sources. This transformation will not be easy or cheap, as various factors have led to a poorly optimized oil sector that's ill-equipped to soften the blow of rising costs. The key to maintaining a strong energy market, and securing the capital needed to develop new and expensive fields, will instead rest on whether Moscow can secure its foothold in China's increasingly oil-hungry market. In any case, Russia may have little choice but to accept that its glory days of oil dominance and high profit margins are nearing an end. 
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