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Showing posts from January 28, 2014

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of Jan. 27, 2014


Jan. 27: Eurozone finance ministers will meet in Brussels one day before all EU finance ministers meet.
Jan. 27: Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic, are expected to meet in Brussels for another round of talks to normalize bilateral relations.
Jan. 28: The EU-Russia summit will take place in Brussels.
Jan. 30: The EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership conference will take place in Brussels.
Jan. 31: The Munich Security Conference will start in Munich and continue through Feb. 2.
Feb. 2: Moldova's autonomous region of Gagauzia will hold a consultative referendum on the effects of Moldova's foreign policy on Gagauzia's independence.

Jan. 28: Political directors of the Group of Eight (G-8) will meet in Moscow.
Jan. 28: The regular meeting of Azerbaijani-Hungarian Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation is expected to take place in Baku.
Jan. 28: Ukraine will hold an extraordinary s…

Panama Canal Expansion: The Dangers of Long-Term Delays

The Panama Canal locks in Colon, 110 kilometers (68 miles) northwest of Panama City, Jan. 17. Expansion of the canal could cease at the end of January if Panama does not agree to pay $1.6 billion in unforeseen costs. (RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)


Significant delays to the Panama Canal expansion project are increasingly likely as negotiations between the multinational construction consortium, Spanish financiers and Panamanian authorities drag out. The Grupo Unidos Por el Canal consortium is threatening to stop work at the end of January after already extending the previous deadline past Jan. 20. According to the Panamanian Dispute Adjudication Board, which is arbitrating the negotiations over who will cover cost overruns, a work stoppage could mean that the canal will not be completed until as late as 2020.

Because the project has been delayed once already, from an estimated completion date of 2014 to mid-2015, a postponement of a year or so would be well within the bounds …

Ukraine's Crisis Ahead of a Special Session

Ukrainian policemen block a road in Kiev on Jan. 27. (ROB STOTHARD/Getty Images)


With an extraordinary session of parliament set for Jan. 28 to discuss the opposition's demands, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is facing a crucial decision on how to resolve the political standoff. The opposition continued its calls for Yanukovich's resignation and early presidential elections as anti-government demonstrations continued throughout the country over the weekend. Regardless of how the domestic political situation plays out in Ukraine, the country and any leadership that represents it will continue to have to cooperate with both Russia and the European Union.


Protests continued to spread over the weekend. Demonstrators are still blockading regional administrative buildings throughout the western and central part of the country, while cities in the east and south that are traditionally pro-Yanukovich began to experience protests as well.

Despite the protests'…

Nigerian Militants Threaten the Country's Oil Industry

Fighters with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta celebrate news of a successful operation against the Nigerian army in 2008. (PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)


Threats against oil infrastructure by a militant group in Nigeria's oil-producing south have once again raised concerns about the reliability of Africa's top oil exporter. The Nigerian militant group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, commonly known by its acronym MEND, threatened Jan. 27 to attack Nigerian oil infrastructure and halt crude oil production by 2015. The militant group retains the capability to conduct limited attacks against Nigerian military personnel and isolated energy infrastructure, but it no longer possesses the organizational cohesion and covert political backing it had in the mid- to late 2000s that enabled it to disrupt hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil production per day.


Before issuing its threat Jan. 27, MEND had been remarkably quiet in …