Turkey - 02

Turkey: Erdogan’s Unusual Alliance: Implications for Domestic and Foreign Policy

A new contender is re-entering politics in Turkey, with significant potential to change a number of Ankara’s domestic and foreign policy positions. This figure is Dogu Perincek, the leader of the Turkish Maoist movement in the 1970s and a long-time opponent of both the AKP and Erdogan. On 20 January Perincek stated that he and

Indonesia - 05

Indonesia: ISIL’s First Attack in Indonesia: Implications for IOCs

On 14 January four Indonesians affiliated with ISIL launched an attack with small arms and homemade explosives in the vicinity of the Sarinah shopping center in Jakarta. The attack resulted in the deaths of eight people, including all four attackers and a Canadian citizen, and injured dozens more. The coordinated attack, which included the use

Mexico - 05

Mexico: New Anti-Theft Law Stiffens Penalties

On 12 January the Ministry of the Interior published in the Official Journal of the Federation the bill entitled “La Ley para Prevenir y Sancionar los Delitos Cometidos en Materia de Hidrocarburos,” better known as the Anti-Hydrocarbons Theft Law, which sharply increases the penalties for engaging in hydrocarbons theft. Notably, the legislation had been stalled

South Africa - 04

South Africa: Mkhize Emerges as Potential Power-Broker in Succession Race

The effects of President Jacob Zuma’s December replacement of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene with David van Rooyen, followed by his turning to Pravin Gordhan to settle financial markets after a severely negative reaction, continue to reverberate. Reserve Bank of South Africa Governor Lesetja Kganyago indicated last week that attendees at the World Economic Forum in

Iraq - 04

Iraq: Party Control of Kurdistan’s Oilfields: A Slippery Slope

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has spent much of the last decade trying to tidy up the contractual and ownership arrangements within the IOC concessions in Iraqi Kurdistan. This meant undoing the small private stakes that middlemen and Kurdish leaders held in the early PSCs. Yet the economic crisis facing the KRG has threatened to

Kazakhstan - 03

Caspian And Central Asia: Astana Aims to Build on Successes in 2016

On 20 January President Nazarbayev signed a decree calling for early elections for the lower chamber of the national parliament (Majilis), which will be held on 20 March this year. Previously, the parliament was supposed to end its tenure in fall 2016, and elections were planned for year-end. This decision was fully supported by the

Russia - 03

Russia: Oil Power-Brokers Seek to Pre-Empt Tax Increases

In the coming weeks, the Russian government will lay out its plans to address the widening budget gap driven by low commodity prices. The current 2016 budget is based on the assumption of an average Urals price of $50/bbl and envisages a federal budget deficit of $32bn. At $40/bbl, the deficit will rise to $52bn,

Libya - 02

Libya: New Unity Government Cabinet Fails to Achieve Consensus Support

After days of horse-trading and missing the intended deadline for announcing the government of national accord (GNA) cabinet, the GNA’s Tunis-based Presidency Council finally released details for what promises to be an unwieldy – if not downright unworkable – government. However, the proposed cabinet must be endorsed by the HoR within a 10-day timeframe, as

KRG - 02

Iraq: The Barzanis’ Accelerated Drive for Independence

The KRG leadership has recently been making an unusual amount of noise about the idea of achieving de jure independence as a new internationally recognized state within the next two to three years. This situation differs from prior years, in which the KRG threw out the independence threat as a lever to focus Washington or

Turkey - 01

Turkey: Mounting US-Turkish Disagreements Threaten Coordination in Syria

In early January US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford visited Ankara to discuss a number of long-term strategic issues with his counterpart, Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar. Their meeting focused on coordinating Turkey’s cross-border operations against ISIL and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) at a time when Turkish