Just one major forecast would have been a big deal. But with the Worldview Annual Forecast, a Decade Forecast for the 2020s, a Global Jihadist Forecast and a 2020 Cartel Report, "hectic" doesn't begin to describe the start of the year at Stratfor!
And then, the news began breaking. Word of the coronavirus that appears to have originated in Wuhan, China preceded the U.S./Iran flare-up that included rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq that caused traumatic brain injury to some troops. Brexit finally happened at the end of January and in between, events ran the gamut from U.S. gun violence to a Russian Parliamentary reshuffle. Everyone wanted to talk to us.
All in all, Stratfor analysts provided more than 80 interviews for media around the globe, including NPR, FOX, Bloomberg, CNBC, and the CBC.
One of the most impactful Stratfor comments that month was a quote from Greg Priddy (Director, Global Energy and Middle East) about the oil markets’ response to the coronavirus outbreak. As Priddy told Reuters,
"There isn’t a compelling case crude needs to go lower until we know more about how bad the demand destruction from the coronavirus epidemic is going to be."
That comment got reprinted more than 150 times in at least 10 languages.
Also echoing far and wide were remarks about cannabis oil made by Stratfor’s V.P. of Tactical Analysis, Scott Stewart to Fox News. His words reached as many as 16 million people.
"Every organization that’s involved in cultivating and smuggling marijuana is going to be adopting this just because it’s a way to get rid of the marijuana that they have, that’s not as popular here but also just because of the fact that it’s more compact so it’s just really a much better product for the cartels to move than those big bulky, you know, bricks of marijuana," Stewart said.
"Lebanon risks sliding into prolonged chaos and violent conflict unless the political elite manages to update the post-civil war political system based on sectarian power-sharing."
In February, major stories for which the media turned to Stratfor for analysis included the Syrian government’s push into Idlib, the latest U.S./Taliban Peace Plan, energy markets, and, of course, the global spread of Covid-19. Associated Press reporter, John Gambrell, pulled this quote from Stratfor for an article entitled, An Increasingly Isolated Iran Tries To Control Coronavirus.
It was reprinted more than 200 times between February 26 and 27; from India to Canada, Egypt, France, the United States and more.
"Containment of the COVID-19 virus within Iran will be a challenge because of Iran’s poor health infrastructure and traditional unwillingness to communicate freely and openly across all branches of government and between health institutions," the Austin, Texas private intelligence firm Stratfor said.
Stratfor’s Senior Vice President for Strategic Analysis, Rodger Baker, was a guest panelist and judge at the Fletcher Political Risk Conference at Tufts University, sharing insight on changing global norms in the 2020s.
And on the 27th, a Tweet from Stratfor got pulled into a Czech market update.
Middle East and North Africa analyst, Emily Hawthorne gave three interviews in two days on topics ranging from thedeath of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarek, to Iran's revolutionary guard.
She also discussed Iran's elections on CNBC Asia.
The recent assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the perceived failure of the more moderate approach of current President Hassan Rouhani and his reformist backers – all of this is factoring into an opening for more conservative policy, more hard-line policy.
That's literally a tiny taste of Stratfor's analysts' work. And to think: it's been only two months. In a U. S. presidential election year, no less. Fasten your seat belts!
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