“Hostage-taking goes back to the dawn of terrorism,” Scott Stewart, Stratfor's vice president of tactical analysis, told USA Today. “But because ransoms are being paid out, we are seeing an epidemic of kidnappings.”
To get a read on what the future holds for the Middle East and Ukraine, Barron's connected with "one of our favorite experts on geopolitics" -- Stratfor founder George Friedman. "His judgments tend to be more nuanced and long-term than those of the press or Wall Street."
"Maliki knows it is very difficult to gain a third term and is playing a high-stakes game to try and ensure his authority and influence continue into the new government, despite who may officially become prime minister," said Kamran Bokhari, a Middle East specialist at analysis firm Stratfor.