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Weekly Briefing: July 18, 2016


Weekly Briefing: July 18, 2016

July 18:

John Kerry attends London summit on the conflicts in Yemen and Syria

The US Republican Party holds its four-day national convention in Cleveland, Ohio

The British Parliament vote on renewing submarine-launched Trident nuclear missile

July 19:

Council on Interregional and Border Cooperation of CIS states in Kyrgyzstan

IMF release its latest global macroeconomic forecasts

July 20:

NATO and Gulf defence ministers meet in Maryland to discuss anti-ISIS operations

$2.5 billion Greek debt repayment to ECB due

Brazilian monetary policy decision; unchanged at 14.25% expected

July 21:

European Central Bank holds first monetary-policy meeting since Brexit

July 23:

G-20 finance ministers will meet in Chengdu, China



Photo Credit: Reuters
Photo Credit: Reuters

The attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP in Turkey on Friday night will be in the headlines throughout the week and will be a critical situation to monitor in the coming months.

Authorities have detained more than 6000 people in relation to the movement, including senior military personnel and more than 1700 judges. Erdogan has repeatedly accused US-based Fethullah Gülen and his movement of being behind the uprising and has called on Washington to extradite him. This issue could prove to be a thorn in the side of US-Turkish relations.

While it is too early to predict exactly how President Erdogan will react, the development is likely to boost his popularity among many Turks who remember the dark days of military control. Mr Erdogan, whose rule has become increasingly authoritarian in recent years, will likely use any boost in popularity to push through constitutional amendments to boost the powers of the presidency, which is currently a largely ceremonial post.

Outside of Turkey, Ankara’s relationship with the EU is likely to be hampered by an increase in Erdogan’s authoritarianism and political instability. The lack of movement on a visa-free travel agreement promised to Turkey as part of a broader deal that saw it accepting returned migrants from the EU is likely to continue, and could ultimately result in the collapse of the entire deal. This would be disastrous for Brussels.

You can find in-depth analysis of the potential outcomes of the failed coup here.



Photo Credit: US Department of Defense
Photo Credit: US Department of Defense

On Wednesday, July 20 defence ministers from NATO countries and Gulf states will meet in Maryland to discuss operations targeting ISIS. The meeting comes on the heels of an ISIS-claimed attack in Nice, France on July 14 that killed 84 people.

While ISIS has lost a significant amount of territory in both Syria and Iraq in 2016 the group continues to pose a global terror threat and appears to have become more willing to commit attacks against civilians outside of its territory.

On Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry will attend a summit in London focussed on the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. There have been some significant developments in Syria in the past weeks, including the complete besiegement of a large part of rebel-held Aleppo by regime forces.

Meanwhile, UN-backed peace talks between the Yemen’s internationally recognised government and the Houthis have resumed in Kuwait. While a shaky ceasefire agreed to in April has helped to reduce the intensity of fighting, more than 9000 people have died in the 16-month-old conflict.



Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

From July 18 to 21 the Republican Party will hold its presidential nominating convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The four-day event will see numerous high-profile politicians and celebrities speak in support of presumptive nominee Donald Trump. The line-up includes Republican governors and senators, including Ted Cruz who ran against Trump in the primary contest. The convention comes just days after Trump announced that Indiana governor Mike Pence would be his vice presidential pick.

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Last week FBI Director James Comey announced that Hillary Clinton would not be prosecuted over her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. Despite this, Clinton has suffered from serious public image issues with a recent survey showing 67 percent of voters believed her to be untrustworthy. The lack of confidence in the former secretary of state  has resulted in a rise in support for Trump, with a recent poll showing the two candidates tied at 40 percent.



Photo Credit: AWS2 Evan Kenny/Navy
Photo Credit: AWS2 Evan Kenny/Navy

On the July 18, Admiral John Richardson of the United States Navy is set to begin a three-day visit to China to meet with his Chinese counterpart Admiral Wu Shengli. The visit comes after the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favour of the Philippines and against China’s claims to parts of the South China Sea. In response to the ruling, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin stated that that Beijing might declare an air defence identification zone over the South China Sea if it felt threatened.

In the past year, US warships have challenged to the Chinese claims have been tested by sailing within the 12 nautical mile maritime waters of many of the disputed islands. In response, China has deployed fighter jets and ships to counter the American presence.

The South China Sea will not be the only issue on the agenda, with the two admirals also expected to discuss the Rim of the Pacific naval exercise, along with greater cooperation between the two navies.



Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

On July 19, The Council of Interregional and Border Cooperation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will hold talks in Kyrgyzstan focussed on the transit of drugs and Islamic extremism.

The recent revelation that the Istanbul airport attack was perpetrated by Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Russian nationals has increased fears that Islamic terrorism will spread into the Central Asian region, particularly if large numbers of fighters return from the Syrian battlefields.

The withdrawal of Western forces from Afghanistan has also provided serious security concerns for Central Asian CIS members, some of which have witnessed clashes with a resurgent Taliban along the Afghan border. The increase in conflict has fueled the need for greater intergovernmental cooperation as many of the border regions are often vaguely defined and hard to patrol.

For other CIS members, drug trafficking remains a key issue. Large quantities of Afghan opium transits through Tajikistan and Uzbekistan where it foments corruption and instability. Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Moldova also suffer from drug trafficking-related security issues.



Photo Credit: Getty
Photo Credit: Getty

The European Central Bank (ECB) will hold its first monetary policy meeting since Brexit on Thursday, July 21 in Frankfurt.

While sections of the European economy have been battling strong headwinds in the past few months, most economists expect the ECB to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0 percent. ECB Chief Mario Draghi will make a speech after the decision in which he is expected to offer his thoughts on the economic impact of Brexit and possibly address a growing banking crisis in Italy – Europe’s fourth largest economy.

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