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Showing posts from July 21, 2014

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of July 21, 2014


Editor's Note: The following is an internal Stratfor document listing significant meetings and events planned for the next week. Stratfor analysts use this to stay informed of the activities and travel of world leaders and to guide their areas of focus for the week.


July 21-22: EU ministers for ministers responsible for trade, industry, research and innovation, economy and space will hold informal meetings in the Competitiveness Council in Italy.
July 22: The EU Foreign Affairs Council will be held in Brussels.
July 22: A Central European summit on security policy will be held in Poland. The presidents of Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Baltic countries and the Visegrad Group will attend the meeting.
July 22-24: European Parliament committee meetings will be held in Brussels.
July 23: The EU General Affairs Council will be held in Brussels.
July 24: Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu will meet to continue the negotiations on the r…

Emigrant Voting Rights Stir Debates in Europe

A voter casts her ballot in a polling station during Italy's February general elections.(FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)


In recent years, several European countries have made it easier for their citizens living abroad to vote. Some have even created electoral districts to represent emigrants. This is a controversial issue in the countries that grant these rights and in the countries where the immigrants reside, and accusations of foreign meddling in domestic issues abound. Expatriates are becoming an increasingly attractive electoral group for some countries as nationalist parties become more popular throughout the Continent. This will create tension between the countries that impose strict immigration policies and those that want to attract the votes of their citizens living abroad.


Most countries allow their expatriates to vote in elections and referendums, often using their embassies and consulates as polling stations. A few countries still require their citiz…

North Korea: Missile and Rocket Launches

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The pace and scope of North Korean missile and rocket launches have notably intensified over the past few months. North Korea has tested several missile systems at several launch sites, sometimes testing the same system at different locations, other times testing several systems at the same location.

The tests could be largely symbolic or like most other countries in the world, North Korea may be carrying out an accelerated technological program designed to improve its weapons systems. There are suggestions that Pyongyang has improved the accuracy, the timeliness of launches and the range of some systems. The North Koreans have also carried out successive drills in various locations, perhaps as a way to gauge the readiness of its armed forces.

The North appears to be improving the range and perhaps the accuracy of its KN-09 300 mm Multiple Launch Rocket System. The KN-09 tests showed a 40-kilometer increase in range from last year, now placing most, if not all, of So…

A Chronology of Russia from Yeltsin's Fall Through Putin's Rise

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses a joint session of the Russian parliament in Moscow on March 18.(SERGEI ILNITSKY/AFP/Getty Images)


Editor's Note: As Stratfor readies to look forward in coming days at the implications for Russia -- and its leader Vladimir Putin -- in the downing July 17 of a Malaysian jetliner, we also invite readers to take stock with us of past forecasts of Russia’s geopolitical evolution in the context of global events. Stratfor Chairman George Friedman will examine the likelihood of Putin’s undoing in the next issue of Geopolitical Weekly, to publish July 22. Accordingly, we look back here at 1998, when we predicted the unfolding Kosovo crisis would be the undoing of late Russian President Boris Yeltsin. We share our assessment from 2000, when we assessed how newly elected President Putin was rapidly consolidating absolute power. In 2005, Stratfor reassessed Putin's situation after his first presidential term and laid out how his leadershi…

Chronology: The Journey Toward a U.S.-Iran Detente Continues

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a news conference about the Iranian nuclear program July 15 in Vienna.(JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)


Stratfor forecast in 2010 that the United States and Iran, despite decades of hostility and rivalry, would reach an accord around common interests. At the time, our prediction was met with widespread skepticism. It was a difficult to accept such an outcome. Soon after Hassan Rouhani took over the Iranian presidency in June 2013, we updated our assessment to show how the conditions were ripe for the two sides to move towards a detente. Three months later we saw a preliminary agreement on the issue of Iran's alleged bid to build nuclear weaponry. Now the two sides seem likely to extend the July 20 deadline to continue talks toward a permanent agreement, but that does not mean the process is in trouble. On the contrary, the negotiations are expected to take time and there will be many stages moving forward.
Thinking About the Unthinkab…

Saudi Arabia Braces for a Renewed Jihadist Threat

A spokesman for the Saudi Interior Ministry briefs on an attack by al Qaeda militants on July 5. (FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)


Days after reinforcing its borders with Iraq, Saudi Arabia has boosted security around critical facilities countrywide. This is in part a response to the deteriorating situation in Iraq and in part based on intelligence that the kingdom itself is at risk of terrorist attack. Riyadh is hardening strategic domestic infrastructure and energy sites that might be within the reach of terrorists linked to the Islamic State transnational jihadist organization. This security posturing reflects the inherent risks posed by Saudi Arabia's erstwhile strategy of using regional militant groups to target Iranian and Shiite interests.

A July 18 report from a Saudi-owned news agency revealed a plot to hit petroleum facilities, desalination plants, government buildings and other potential targets in Saudi Arabia. The report was apparently based on leaked intellige…