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Field Notes
Stratfor In The News
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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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North Korea: Pyongyang Denies Responsibility For Sony Hack

North Korea denied U.S. accusations that it was involved in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures, an unnamed foreign ministry spokesperson said Dec. 20, Reuters reported.

Georgia: Government Open To Meeting With Putin, Prime Minister Says

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili expressed willingness to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the prime minister said Dec. 20, Trend news agency reported.

Germany: Europe Should Avoid Further Sanctions On Russia, Foreign Minister Says

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned against further EU sanctions on Moscow, the foreign minister said, Deutsche Welle reported Dec. 20.

Russia: Foreign Ministry Denounces New Western Sanctions

The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the new Western sanctions against Ukraine's Crimea region, Russian officials said Dec. 20, Reuters reported.

Canada: Government To Impose New Sanctions On Russia

Canada will impose new sanctions on Russia, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Dec. 19, TASS reported Dec. 20.

Iraq: Kurdish Forces Claim To Take Sinjar From Islamic State

Kurdish fighters claimed to recapture Sinjar, the northern Iraqi town controlled by the Islamic State, on Dec. 20, the Kurdistan Region Security Council said on Twitter, CNN reported.

Israel: Aircraft Bomb Hamas Site In Gaza Strip

Israeli aircraft struck a Hamas military site in the Gaza Strip early on Dec. 20 in retaliation for a rocket fired at southern Israel on Dec. 19, Israeli military officials said, Xinhuanet reported.

Ukraine, Russia: President Obama Bans Investment In Crimea

U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order Dec. 19 banning new investment in Crimea, White House officials said, Xinhuanet reported Dec. 20.

Sudan, South Sudan: Threats Are A Declaration Of War, Army Says

South Sudanese army spokesman Philip Aguer said Sudan's threats to pursue rebels in South Sudanese territory is a declaration of war, World Bulletin reported Dec. 19.

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.