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Annual ForecastsJan 3, 2021 | 21:37 GMT
An image of the COVID-19 vaccine, President-elect Joe Biden, the Huawei logo, and a stock market sign
2021 Annual Forecast
The geopolitical environment in 2021 will be shaped by two global developments: the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efforts by U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's administration to restore collaborative relationships across the globe.
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On GeopoliticsDec 4, 2020 | 21:38 GMT
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men attend the funeral of Rabbi Aharon David Hadash, the spiritual leader of the Mir Yeshiva, in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Beit Yisrael on Dec. 3, 2020.
Where Will Israel’s Increasingly Right-Wing Youth Take Its Foreign Policy?
Israel's youth population is pushing the country decidedly to the political right. As the transition to this age cohort unfolds, the question of which Israeli nationalist party will be in charge comes to the fore. Will they be incrementally expansionist, security-minded, economically-focused types of parties like Likud? Or will they be more ideologically committed to the cause of annexing settlements types of parties like Yamina? Or will they be religiously-focused, culturally conservative, increasingly demographically muscular types of parties like the ultra-Orthodox party Shas? The predominance of one of these three types will have consequences for Israel's regional security posture, on occasion bringing it in line with some new allies in the Gulf while reaffirming enmity with Iran and Turkey.
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PodcastsNov 13, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
Essential Geopolitics: At the Intersection of Empires, the South Caucasus Gets Squeezed
In this episode of the Essential Geopolitics podcast from Stratfor, a RANE company, Rodger Baker, senior vice president of strategic analysis for Stratfor and RANE, looks deeper at the concept of "squeezed states" with Dr. Zurab Khonelidze, the rector of Sokhumi State University, located in the South Caucasus nation of Georgia.
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SITUATION REPORTNov 10, 2020 | 17:44 GMT
Armenia, Azerbaijan: Countries Agree to Cease-Fire in Nagorno-Karabakh
Armenia has agreed to withdraw from several areas and freeze Azeri territorial gains in Nagorno-Karabakh as part of a new Russia-brokered cease-fire agreement with Azerbaijan, the BBC reported Nov. 10. Russia is deploying nearly 2,000 peacekeeping troops to the disputed region to oversee the deal’s implementation,
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On GeopoliticsOct 29, 2020 | 21:00 GMT
The Caucasus Mountains on Oct. 9, 2020.
The Southern Caucasus: Where Post-Soviet and Neo-Ottoman Interests Collide
As fighting rages between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a much higher level competition for regional influence in the Southern Caucasus is taking place. The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which has its own distinct origins, is just a piece of the broader geopolitical competition between Russia and Turkey as a more ambitious Turkey challenges the status quo in it and Russia's overlapping peripheries. Conflict in Nargorno-Karabakh will eventually subside amid renewed negotiations that will have major implications for Russian and Turkish influence in the broader region.
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SnapshotsAug 10, 2020 | 19:52 GMT
Belarus's Anticipated Electoral Crisis Has Only Just Begun
Intensifying protests across Belarus following the disputed Aug. 9 presidential election present a significant threat to President Alexander Lukashenko. Opposition leaders are hoping to shape the initial uproar over the election results into persistent and widespread protest action. This could escalate violence at first, though a prolonged and emboldened protest movement may also eventually break security forces' resolve to crack down on civilians. The international response to the election outcome and subsequent protest violence has also demonstrated a clear divide between the East and West, which could increase the risk for both Russian intervention and European sanctions.
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AssessmentsAug 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
An oil pumpjack operates in Signal Hill, California, on April 21, 2020, a day after oil prices dropped to below zero amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid a Global COVID-19 Resurgence, Oil Prices Are Poised to Stall
The resurgence of COVID-19 infections in many countries around the world has undermined the oil market's notion that the recovery in petroleum product demand will continue upward in the absence of a vaccine. Expectations of a swift demand recovery in recent weeks have also been hampered by concerns about new mandatory lockdowns in places where economic activity had resumed, as well as slower economic recoveries elsewhere. Crude oil prices are thus likely to stall heading into the fourth quarter of 2020 as global demand remains sluggish, while modest rises in OPEC+ supply undermine efforts to rapidly balance the market and drain excess inventories. This means the fiscal position of countries highly dependent on oil export revenues will likely continue to be strained, and that any recovery in drilling activity and the oilfield services sector will also be slow.
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AssessmentsJun 1, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A satellite image shows the arrival of Russian fighter jets at an air base in Libya controlled by Khalifa Hifter's rebel army.
Russia Deepens Its Commitment to Libya’s War -- and Political Future
Russia's deepening support for the Libyan National Army (LNA) proves the Kremlin views LNA leader Khalifa Hifter as crucial to its greater North African and Mediterranean strategy, and could grant Moscow the upper hand in shaping the war-torn country's political future. The U.S. military, among others, recently released photos confirming the arrival of a fleet of Russian fighter jets at two LNA-controlled air bases in Libya. The deployment will make it more difficult for the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) to make further military gains beyond Tripolitania. But perhaps most importantly, Russia's growing involvement in Libya's civil war -- alongside Turkey's continued support for the GNA -- will leave Moscow and Ankara at the helm of any potential negotiations between Eastern and Western Libya, much to the dismay of those in Europe and the United States. 
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GuidanceApr 14, 2020 | 17:21 GMT
A horse grazes near oil pumpjacks outside the Russian city of Surgut on March 10, 2020.
OPEC+ Has Agreed to a Historic Production Cut. But Is It Enough?
OPEC+ recently approved the largest-ever coordinated production cut to offset declining global demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the agreement is unlikely to thwart further price declines in the coming months, the current alignment of interests among the world’s top oil producers means the deal will probably remain in place through the end of the year. But as the market begins to recover, adherence into 2021 will start to wane. 
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AssessmentsApr 2, 2020 | 17:15 GMT
A man pulls a shopping trolley down a near-empty aisle in a supermarket in Paris, France, on March 2, 2020. Supermarket shelves in countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have been emptied of basic food necessities in recent weeks, such as pasta and rice.
COVID-19 Ripples Through Global Food Trade
Just as COVID-19 has caused turmoil in global financial and energy markets, the pandemic is also affecting the global food market as more countries move to shore up their domestic supplies. The attempts by food importers to increase their reserves, and by food exporters to limit the outflow, have already affected prices of core food stocks such as wheat and rice. The pandemic, however, is unlikely to lead to any major food security emergencies in the short term, as many countries are taking action to guarantee access to food and regulate food prices. Global food markets are also somewhat padded as they entered this crisis with already substantial reserves from a period of strong harvests. China, for example, currently holds over half of the 287.1 million tons of the world’s wheat reserves. But localized misalignments of supply and demand still carry risk in other areas of the world.
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AssessmentsMar 19, 2020 | 19:21 GMT
The Goptivka checkpoint, near Kharkiv on the Ukrainian-Russian border, on March 16, 2020.
In Russia, COVID-19 Border Closures Risk Cutting Off Its Public Works
As Russia starts to see its number of COVID-19 patients rise, it has started to impose more stringent measures to contain the virus and limit the fallout. As elsewhere, some measures to slow down the disease will have major economic impacts. Russia closed its border to foreigners on March 18, and will stop processing requests for work visas. While this will surely stem the potential flow of COVID-19 carriers into Russia, it will also likely hit its construction sector, which heavily depends on migrant labor. And this, in turn, could upend Moscow's long-term plans for Russia's economy.
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AssessmentsFeb 6, 2020 | 10:30 GMT
A monument depicts an oil pipeline near the Mozyr linear production dispatching station in Belarus on Jan. 4, 2020.
Russia's Oil Salvo Prompts Belarus to Explore Its Options
Fearing the loss of its last ally in Eastern Europe, Russia has weaponized its crucial oil exports to force Belarus into accepting a level of integration that would effectively guarantee its allegiance. But Belarus has rejected Russia's proposals, knowing that the kind of economic and political synthesis Moscow is demanding would severely restrict its ability to pursue opportunities with Europe and the United States. To bring Belarus to heel, Russia moved to cut off the country's oil supply on Jan. 1, which has since only pushed Minsk to seek out new foreign suppliers. But Belarus' push to diversify its oil ties will likely be short-lived, as permanently severing its trade ties with Russia would require a significant overhaul of its already fragile economy.
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