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Kamran Bokhari on the Islamic State and the Shifting Middle East Landscape

"Iran’s trajectory is going up, and the Saudis are in trouble," says Kamran Bokhari, an adviser on Mideast affairs to the U.S.-based global intelligence company Stratfor. "The kingdom has major problems. It is in a multi-front struggle against Iran, the Shiites, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and the Islamic State."

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Reva Bhalla on Putin's Message to the International Community

Stratfor's vice president of global analysis joined Bloomberg TV's "Bottom Line" for a discussion on Russia's mounting economic pressures, as well as other key geopolitical trends around the globe including U.S. nuclear talks with Iran and ECB President Mario Draghi's stimulus plan.

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India: Government Introduces Massive Tax Reform

India's government introduced new legislation Dec. 19 that lawmakers called the biggest tax reform since independence, Bangkok Post reported.

Iraq: Tribal Leaders To Ask Iran For Aid

Ten prominent tribal leaders from Iraq's Anbar province plan to visit Iran to ask for military equipment for the fight against Islamic State militants, Tasnim News Agency reported Dec. 19, citing an interview in Al-Nahreen.

Germany, Russia: Natural Gas Assets Swap Is Canceled

German chemicals group BASF SE and Russian natural gas giant Gazprom have decided against a natural gas assets swap that was planned for this year because of conflict between the West and Russia, Reuters reported Dec. 19.

Iraq: Kurds Break Siege On Mount Sinjar

Peshmerga forces backed by U.S. coalition forces broke the siege of Mount Sinjar, where thousands of Yazidis have been trapped for months, AFP reported Dec. 19.

Iraq: U.S. Denies Ground Forces Involved In Fighting

The U.S. Pentagon denied that U.S. ground troops were taking part in the fight against the Islamic State, Al Jazeera reported Dec. 19.

Venezuela: U.S. Imposes Sanctions On Officials

U.S. President Barack Obama signed legislation Dec. 18 that will freeze the assets and bar the visa applications of Venezuelan officials involved in crackdowns on demonstrators in Caracas and around Venezuela earlier in 2014, Reuters reported.

U.S.: Fight Against Militants Will Take Years, General Says

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James Terry said Dec. 18 that he thought it would take a minimum of three years to achieve a turning point against the Islamic State, Reuters reported.

Belarus: President Orders Switch To Dollar, Euro In Trade With Russia

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has ordered his government to switch to U.S. dollars and euros when trading with Russia, Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty reported Dec. 18.

Somalia: Citing Ebola Fears, Government Bars Sierra Leone Peacekeepers

Somalia has refused the redeployment of Sierra Leone peacekeeping troops because of fears surrounding the Ebola virus, Bar Kulan reported Dec. 18.

Ukraine, Russia: EU Bans Investment In Crimea

The European Union banned investment in the disputed territory of Crimea on Dec. 18, outlawing investment in Russian oil and gas exploration in the Black Sea and prohibiting European cruise ships to dock at Crimean ports, Reuters reported.

Nigeria: Boko Haram Abducts Hundreds

Boko Haram militants have reportedly abducted around 200 people, including several women, in Borno state, World Bulletin reported Dec. 18.

U.K.: EU Rules On Immigration Case

The European Court of Justice ruled that British citizens should be allowed to bring family members who are not EU citizens into the United Kingdom without a travel visa, as long as they are residents of another EU country, Sky News reported Dec. 18.

Nigeria: Soldiers Sentenced To Death For Mutiny

A Nigerian military court found 54 soldiers guilty of mutiny Dec. 17 and sentenced them to death, Premium Times reported.

Iraq: Kurds Near Economic Self-Sufficiency, Official Says

A rise in oil exports is enabling the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, to near a point of economic self-sufficiency, Reuters reported Dec. 17.

Colombia: FARC Declares Unilateral Cease-Fire

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia announced an indefinite unilateral cease-fire to begin on Dec. 20, El Pais reported, citing unconfirmed reports on social media.

Russia: Putin Not Out Of Touch, Press Secretary Says

Russian President Vladimir Putin feels the pain the ruble's recent drop has caused for the average citizen but believes that his approval ratings are not directly tied to the currency's value, his spokesman said Dec. 17, Itar-Tass reported.

France: Russian Marines To Leave Saint-Nazaire Soon

The 400 Russian marines in Saint-Nazaire, France, awaiting the delivery of the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship will leave by the Christmas holidays, Les Echos reported Dec. 17.

Cuba: U.S. President Gives Address On Enhancing Relations

U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro gave simultaneous addresses Dec. 17 to announce new moves toward enhanced relations between the two countries.

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