Entradas con Categorías Global Affairs Informes .

Korea: A history of uniqueness and different paths

 

[Michael J. Seth, A Concise History of Modern Korea. From the Late Nineteenth Century to the Present (Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), Volume 2, 356 pages]

REVIEWJimena Villacorta 

Normally, when thinking about the Korean Peninsula, we emphasize on the divided region it is now, and how the Korean War (1950-1053) had a great impact on the two independent territories we have today, North and South Korea. We forget that it once was a culturally and ethnically homogenous nation, that because of its law, couldn’t even trade with outsiders until the Treaty of Kanghwa in 1876 which marked a turning point in Korean history as it ended isolation and allowed the Japanese insertion in the territory which had great effects on its economic and political order.

Michael J. Seth narrates the fascinating history of Korea from the end of the 19th century to the present. In this edition he updates his previous work, published originally ten years before, and he presents it as a “volume 2”, because his latest years of research have produced a “volume 1”, titled A Concise History of Premodern Korea, which follows Korea's history from Antiquity through the nineteenth century.

From falling under Japanese imperialism and expansionism to its division after the Second World War, this book explores the economic, political and social issues that modern Korea has faced in the last decades. The author provides its readers a great resource for those seeking a general, yet detailed, history of this currently divided nation in eight chapters. The first two chapters focus on what happened before the Korean War and on how neighbors and other actors. Russia had great influence in the region until its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). Consequently, Korea became a colony of Japan until the Allied Forces victory during the Second World War. Japanese rule is described as harsh and detrimental for Koreans as they intended to force their own culture and system in the territory. Although, in despite of its aggressiveness, the Japanese contributed to Korea’s industrialization. Countries like China and the United States were also major players. From 1885 to 1894, China had a strong presence in the peninsula as the Chinese didn’t want other powers to take over the territory.

The rest of the book emphasizes on the war and the consequences it had, tracing the different course both countries took becoming contrasting societies with different political and economic systems. The reason for the great differences between the two Koreas is the difference in governments and influences they had after the war, a war that stopped because of a ceasefire, as to date they haven’t signed a peace treaty. Even if South Korea was under Syngman Rhee’s authoritarian and corrupt regime tight after the Korean War, it soon became democratized and the country began to quickly advance in matter of technology and human development leaving North Korea out in the open under a totalitarian dictatorship lead by Kim Jong-un. However, after the separation of the two zones, Kim II-sung was the founder of the North in 1948 and his family dynasty has ruled the country since then. During this period, South Korea has had six republics, one revolution, two coups d'état, the transition to democratic elections and nineteen presidencies. In terms of economics, they went from having a very similar GDP at the beginning of the 1970s to very different outcomes. While South Korea has progressed rapidly, becoming one of the world’s leading industrial producers, North Korea became stagnant due to its rigid state system. South Korea also has a high level of technological infrastructure. Moreover, North Korea became a nuclear power, which has been in its agenda since the division. But as he explores the technical differences of both states, the author fails to elaborate in historical debates and controversies regarding both regions, but he emphasizes on the fact that after sixty years of division, there are still no signs or reunification. 

Without a doubt, it is interesting to learn about Korea’s past colonial occupation and its division, but what I believe is the most captivating is to understand how North Korea and South Korea have evolved as two independent very different states because of the uniqueness and complexity of its history, while still sharing a strong sense of nationalism. As the author says, “No modern nation ever developed a more isolated and totalitarian society than North Korea, nor such an all-embracing family cult. No society moved more swiftly from extreme poverty to prosperity and from authoritarianism to democracy than South Korea.”

Indo-Pacífico: El nuevo orden sin China en el centro

GLOBAL AFFAIRS JOURNAL #3 /  Enero 2021

[Descargar el PDF del Journal completo]

El globo rota unos grados más hacia Poniente

PRESENTACIÓN

Hubo un tiempo en el que el eje estratégico mundial estaba en Europa. Con la incorporación del Nuevo Mundo al orden global, el eje pasó a situarse durante mucho tiempo en el Atlántico, entre Europa y América. La consolidación de la primacía de Estados Unidos convirtió a este país en pivote del mundo. Con el desarrollo de los tigres asiáticos el peso específico del planeta se desplazó hacia el Pacífico, entre América y Asia. Después el concepto inicial de Asia-Pacífico fue perdiendo el sentido de espacio entre dos costas para con el tiempo remitir solo a la ribera donde se encuentra China, a medida que esta ha crecido como superpotencia y ha centrado la atención general. Ahora asistimos a otra progresión en la rotación del globo, de nuevo unos grados más hacia Poniente. Asia-Pacífico cede el lugar a la idea de Indo-Pacífico al incluir en la ecuación a India. Y es posible que, en el futuro, conforme se compacte Eurasia y África participe más en las decisiones internacionales, la forma de mirar el mapamundi sea teniendo al Índico en medio, como un Mediterráneo global.

Hoy, en cualquier caso, estamos estrenando el momento del Indo-Pacífico. Se trata de un nuevo orden mundial en el que China ya no ocupa el centro en el que aspiraba instalarse: el suelo se ha comenzado a mover antes de que pueda asentarse del todo. La misma prisa estratégica de Pekín ha provocado la movilización del entorno asiático, la cual se apoya en parte en una India que, por volumen demográfico y potencialidad económica, puede servir de palanca para el contrapeso continental de China. Global Affairs Journal aborda en este número la articulación de ese contrapeso, que gira alrededor de las iniciativas de un Indo-Pacífico Libre y Abierto y el llamado Quad, cuyos vértices son Japón, India, Australia y Estados Unidos, con implicaciones también para la ASEAN.

 

Índice

 

EL INDO-PACÍFICO COMO NUEVO EJE GEOPOLÍTICO GLOBAL 

Juan Luis López Aranguren [Introducción]

Profesor de Relaciones Internacionales, Universidad de Zaragoza

p. 6-11 [versión PDF]

 

PRESENT COMPLEXITIES AND FUTURE PROSPECTS

Shahana Thankachan

Researcher at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

p. 12-17 [versión PDF]

 

ESTADOS UNIDOS Y AUSTRALIA ANTE

LA EMERGENCIA DE CHINA COMO GRAN POTENCIA

Florentino Portero

Director del Instituto de Política Internacional, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria

p. 18-27 [versión PDF]

 

FREE AND OPEN INDO-PACIFIC: UNA INICIATIVA JAPONESA

DE POLÍTICA EXTERIOR PARA LA COOPERACIÓN GLOBAL

Carmen Tirado Robles

Coordinadora del Grupo de Investigación Japón, Universidad de Zaragoza

p. 28-35 [versión PDF]

 

EL DILEMA INDO-PACÍFICO DE LA ASEAN

Fernando Delage

Director del Dpto. de Estudios Internacionales, Universidad Loyola Andalucía

p. 36-43 [versión PDF]

 

LECTURAS RECOMENDADAS

J. L. López Aranguren, S. Sánchez Tapia

E. J. Blasco, A. Puigrefagut

p. 44-46 [versión PDF]

Venezuela persiste como el mayor foco de inseguridad de América Latina

La seguridad regional americana ha tenido su foco de preocupación en el último año en Venezuela. Repasamos además la venta de armas de Rusia y España a la región, la presencia latinoamericana en misiones de paz, la droga en Perú y Bolivia y los homicidios en México y Brasil

Igor Sechin, director ejecutivo de Rosneft, y Nicolás Maduro, en agosto de 2019 [Palacio de Miraflores]

▲ Igor Sechin, director ejecutivo de Rosneft, y Nicolás Maduro, en agosto de 2019 [Palacio de Miraflores]

INFORME SRA 2020Resumen ejecutivo [versión en PDF]

A lo largo de 2019, Latinoamérica tuvo varios focos de tensión –violentas protestas callejeras contra medidas económicas en Quito, Santiago de Chile y Bogotá, y contra decisiones políticas en La Paz y Santa Cruz, por ejemplo–, pero a medida que esos conflictos fueron apaciguándose (en algunos casos, solo temporalmente) emergió de nuevo el constante problema de Venezuela como epicentro de inseguridad en la región.

Reducida a mínimos la migración centroamericana a Estados Unidos por las restrictivas medidas de la Administración Trump, han sido los migrantes venezolanos quienes sobre todo han seguido llenando los arcenes de las carreteras sudamericanas desplazándose de un país a otro, sumando ya más de cinco millones de refugiados. Las dificultades que ese incremento de población conlleva para los países de acogida indujo a varios de ellos a aumentar su presión sobre el gobierno de Nicolás Maduro, aprobando en la OEA la activación del Tratado Interamericano de Asistencia Recíproca (TIAR). Pero eso no empujó a Maduro fuera del poder, como tampoco la asunción en enero de 2019 por parte de Juan Guaidó del cargo de presidente encargado de Venezuela (reconocido por más de cincuenta países), el fallido golpe de mano de unos meses después o la supuesta invasión de la Operación Gedeón de mayo de 2020.

Aunque Maduro parezca estabilizado, el trasfondo geopolítico se ha ido moviendo. El año 2019 vio cómo Rosneft se afianzaba en Venezuela como brazo del Kremlin, una vez China se había alejado como aportadora de créditos. El riesgo de no recobrar todo lo prestado hizo que Rusia actuara a través de Rosneft, obteniendo el beneficio de comercializar hasta el 80% del petróleo del país. Sin embargo, las sanciones de Estados Unidos finalmente forzaron la marcha de la energética rusa, de forma que a comienzos de 2020 a Maduro no le quedó otro gran socio extrahemisférico al que acudir que Irán. La república islámica, sometida a su vez a un segundo régimen sancionador, volvía así a la estrecha relación que mantuvo con Venezuela en el primer periodo de castigo internacional, cultivada por el tándem Chávez-Ahmadineyad.

Esa presencia iraní es seguida con atención por Estados Unidos (coincide con un despliegue del Comando Sur en el Caribe), siempre alerta ante cualquier impulso que Hezbolá –proxy iraní– pueda recibir en la región. En realidad, 2019 supuso un importante salto en la disposición de los países latinoamericanos contra esa organización, pues varios de ellos la calificaron por primera vez de terrorista. Argentina, Paraguay, Colombia y Honduras aprobaron esa declaración, a raíz de cumplirse en julio el 25 aniversario del atentado contra la AMIA, atribuido a Hezbolá. Brasil y Guatemala se comprometieron a hacerlo en breve. Con ese señalamiento varios de esos países erigieron listas de organizaciones terroristas, lo que permite aunar estrategias.

La desestabilización de la región por la situación en Venezuela tiene una clara manifestación en la acogida y promoción en ese país de las guerrillas colombianas. En agosto el ex número dos de las FARC, Iván Márquez, y algún otro antiguo dirigente anunciaron, presumiblemente desde territorio venezolano, su vuelta a las armas. Tanto ese núcleo disidente de las FARC como el ELN habían comenzado a consolidarse a finales de año como grupos colombo-venezolanos, con operaciones no ya solo en la zona fronteriza de Venezuela, sino en el interior del país. Ambos grupos tienen en conjunto unos 1.700 efectivos en Venezuela, de los que casi 600 serían venezolanos reclutados, constituyendo con ello otra fuerza de choque al servicio de Maduro.

La salida rusa de Venezuela sucede en un momento de aparente menor actividad de Moscú en Latinoamérica. Ocurre así, desde luego, en el terreno de la venta de armas. Rusia, que se había convertido en un importante exportador de material militar a la región, ha visto disminuir sus ventas los últimos años. Si durante la década de oro del boom de las materias primas diversos países gastaron parte de sus importantes ingresos en la adquisición de armamento (lo que además coincidió con la propagación de la marea bolivariana, mejor relacionada con Moscú), el desplome del precio de las commodities y algunos cambios gubernamentales hicieron que en el periodo 2015-2019 Latinoamérica solo sea el destino del 0,8% del total de armas exportadas por Rusia. Estados Unidos ha recuperado su puesto de mayor vendedor al resto del continente.

España ocupa un destacado espacio en el mercado de armas, como séptimo exportador del mundo. Sin embargo, queda atrás en las preferencias de los países latinoamericanos, a los que vende menos material de defensa de lo que le correspondería por el volumen de comercio general que mantiene con ellos. No obstante, el nivel de ventas aumentó en 2019, tras un año de cifras especialmente bajas. En los últimos cinco años, España ha vendido a Latinoamérica el 3,6% de sus exportaciones armamentísticas mundiales; en ese periodo, sus principales clientes fueron México, Ecuador, Brasil, Perú y Colombia.

La mejor dotación de equipamientos militares podría hacer pensar en una mayor participación en las misiones de mantenimiento de la paz de Naciones Unidas, quizá como modo de mantener activo un Ejército, en un contexto de falta de despliegues regionales. Sin embargo, del total de 82.480 efectivos de las catorce misiones de paz de la ONU que había a comienzos de 2020, 2.473 procedían de países latinoamericanos, lo que supone solo un 3% del contingente total. Además, casi la mitad del personal era aportado por un país, Uruguay (45,5% de los efectivos regionales). Otro pequeño país, El Salvador (12%), es el siguiente en compromiso con las misiones, mientras que los grandes países están infrarrepresentados, singularmente México.

En cuanto a seguridad ciudadana, 2019 aportó la buena noticia de la reducción de los homicidios en Brasil, que descendieron en un 19,2% respecto al año anterior, en contraposición a lo ocurrido en México, donde subieron un 2,5%. Si en su primer año como presidente, Jair Bolsonaro se apuntaba un importante logro, gracias a la gestión del superministro de Seguridad Sérgio Moro (éxito empañado por el aumento de las muertes accidentales en operaciones policiales), en su primer año Andrés Manuel López Obrador incumplía una de sus principales promesas electorales y era incapaz de quebrar la tendencia al alza en los homicidios que invariablemente se ha dado anualmente a lo largo de los mandatos de sus dos predecesores.

Por lo que respecta a lucha contra el narcotráfico, en 2019 se produjeron dos hechos especialmente positivos. Por un lado, la erradicación de cultivos de coca por primera vez en el VRAEM, la zona de mayor producción de Perú. Dada su complicada accesibilidad y la presencia de los reductos de Sendero Luminoso, la zona había quedado previamente al margen de las operaciones de este tipo. Por otro lado, el cambio presidencial en Bolivia significó, según Estados Unidos, un mayor compromiso de las nuevas autoridades en combatir el cultivo ilícito de coca e interceptar el transporte de droga que llega desde Perú. En los últimos años Bolivia se ha convertido en el gran distribuidor de cocaína de la mitad sur de Sudamérica, conectando la producción peruana y boliviana con los mercados de Argentina y sobre todo Brasil, y con sus puertos exportadores hacia Europa.

La seguridad pre-Covid en la región americana

Venezolanos saliendo del país para buscar modo de subsistencia en algún lugar de acogida [UNHCR ACNUR]

▲ Venezolanos saliendo del país para buscar modo de subsistencia en algún lugar de acogida [UNHCR ACNUR]

 

[Descargar el PDF completo]

 

INFORME SRA 2020Presentación

La pandemia del Covid-19 ha modificado radicalmente los supuestos de seguridad en todo el mundo. La emergencia del coronavirus pasó de China a Europa, luego a Estados Unidos y enseguida al resto del Hemisferio Occidental. Ya perjudicada económicamente por su dependencia de las exportaciones de commodities desde el comienzo del parón chino, Latinoamérica fue padeciendo las sucesivas restricciones de las distintas áreas geográficas, para finalmente entrar también en una crisis de producción y consumo y de catástrofe sanitaria y laboral. Previsiblemente la región será una de las más largamente castigadas, con efectos igualmente en el campo de la seguridad.

El presente informe anual, no obstante, atiende a la seguridad regional americana de 2019. Aunque en ciertos aspectos incluye hechos de principios de 2020, y por tanto algunos primeros efectos de la pandemia, la incidencia de esta en asuntos como la geopolítica regional, las dificultades presupuestarias de los estados, el crimen organizado o la seguridad ciudadana quedan para el informe del próximo año.

En la medida en que en recientes meses otros desarrollos que en 2019 afectaron a la seguridad se mostraron de algún modo transitorios, Venezuela se mantuvo como el principal foco de inseguridad regional durante el año pasado. En el informe analizamos el regreso de Irán al país caribeño, después de que primero China y después Rusia hayan preferido no ver perjudicados sus propios intereses económicos; también constatamos la consolidación del ELN y parte de las exFARC como grupos binacionales colombo-venezolanos.

Además, destacamos el avance en el señalamiento por primera vez de Hezbolá como grupo terrorista por varios países y aportamos cifras sobre la caída de la venta de armas de Rusia a Latinoamérica y sobre la relativa poca comercialización en la región del material de defensa producido por España. También cuantificamos la aportación de efectivos latinoamericanos a las misiones de paz de la ONU, así como el éxito de Bolsonaro y el fracaso de AMLO en la evolución de los homicidios en Brasil y México. En cuanto al narcotráfico, en 2019 se dio la primera operación de erradicación de cultivos de coca en el VRAEM, la zona de Perú más complicada en la lucha antinarcóticos.

Pakistan. Country Risk Report, April 2020

Artistic image of a Pakistani Rupee [Pixabay]

▲ Artistic image of a Pakistani Rupee [Pixabay]

COUNTRY RISK REPORTM. J. Moya, I. Maspons, A. V. Acosta

 

[Download the report]

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The government of Prime Minister (PM), Imran Khan, was slowly moving towards economic, social, and political improvements, but all these efforts might be hampered by the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 virus since the government must temporarily shift its focus and resources to keeping its population safe. Additionally, high logistical, legal, and security challenges still generate an uncompetitive operating environment and thus, an unattractive market for foreign investment in Pakistan. 

Firstly, in relation to the country’s economic outlook, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was expected to gradually recover around 5% in the upcoming years. However, according to latest estimates, this growth will suffer a negative impact and fall to around 2%, straining the country’s most recent recorded improvements.  On the other hand, in the medium to long-term, Pakistan will benefit from the success of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is a strategic economic project aiming to improve infrastructure capacity in the country. Pakistan is also facing an energy crisis along with a growing demand from a booming population that hinder a proper economic progress. 

Secondly, Pakistan’s political future will be shaped by Khan’s ability to transform his short-term policies into long-term strategies. However, in order to achieve this, the government must tackle the root causes of political instability in Pakistan, such as long-lasting corruption, the constant military influence in decision-making processes, the historical debate among secularism and Islamism, and the new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, PM Khan’s progressive reforms could represent the beginning towards a “Naya Pakistan” (“New Pakistan”).  

Thirdly, Pakistan’s social stability is contextualized within a high risk of terrorist attacks due to its internal security gaps. The ethnic dilemma among the provinces along with the government’s violent oppression of insurgencies will continue to impede development and social cohesion within the country. This will further aggravate in light of a current shortage of resources and the impacts of climate change. 

In addition, in terms of Pakistan’s security outlook, the country is expected to tackle terrorist financing and money laundering networks in order to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Nonetheless, due to a porous border with Afghanistan, Pakistan faces drug trafficking challenges that further destabilize national security. Finally, the turbulent Indo-Pakistani relation is the most significant conflict for the South Asian country. The disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir, a possible nuclear confrontation, and the increase of nationalist movements along the Punjab region, hamper regional and international peace.  

Operation Checkmate: Pakistan in a crossfire between world powers

A view of the Badshahi Mosque, in Lahore, capital of the Punjab province [Pixabay]

▲ A view of the Badshahi Mosque, in Lahore, capital of the Punjab province [Pixabay]

STRATEGIC ANALYSIS REPORT / Naomi Moreno, Alejandro Puigrefagut, Ignacio Yárnoz

 

Operation Checkmate: Pakistan in a crossfire between world powersDownload the document [pdf. 1,4MB]

 

EXCECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report has been aimed at examining the future prospects for Pakistan in the 2025 horizon in relation to other States and to present various scenarios through a prospective strategic analysis.

The research draws upon the fact that, despite the relatively short space of time, Pakistan is likely to undergo several important changes in its international affairs and thus feel forced to rethink its foreign policy. This strategic analysis suggests there could be considerable estrangement between the U.S. and Pakistan and, therefore, the American influence will decrease considerably. Their security alliance could terminate, and Pakistan would cease to be in U.S.’ sphere of influence. Moreover, with the new BRI and CPEC projects, China could move closer to Pakistan and finally become its main partner in the region. The CPEC is going to become a vital instrument for Pakistan, so it could significantly increase Chinese influence. Yet, the whole situation risks jeopardizing Pakistan’s sovereign independence.

India-Pakistan longstanding dispute over Kashmir seems to be stagnated and will possibly remain as such in the following years. India has taken steps to annex its administered territory in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan could potentially follow. The possibility of an open conflict and a nuclear standoff remains possible as both nuclear powers have very different strategies and conceptions which could lead to a misinterpretation and a nuclear escalation. 

In the quest to rethink its foreign policy, the U.S.-Taliban peace and the empowerment of the group has come as a bolt from the sky for Pakistan. Through its ties with the Taliban, Pakistan could gain itself a major presence in the region namely by reaching out to Central Asia and advance its interest to curtail India’s influence. Amid a dire economic crisis, with regards to the Saudi Iranian Cold War, Pakistan could seek a way in which it can recalibrate its stance in favor of the resource-rich Saudi alliance while it appeases sectarian groups who could strongly oppose this potential policy.

 Pakistan ought to acknowledge that significant changes ought to be made in both the national and international sphere and that decisive challenges lay ahead.

Pakistan. Predictions on the eternally hijacked

A woman crosses a bridge in a rural area of Pakistan [Pixabay]

▲ A woman crosses a bridge in a rural area of Pakistan [Pixabay]

STRATEGIC ANALYSIS REPORT / Naiara Goñi, Roberto Ramírez, Albert Vidal

 

Pakistan. Predictions on the eternally hijackedDownload the document [pdf. 1,4MB]

 

EXCECUTIVE SUMMARY

The purpose of this strategic analysis report is to ascertain how geopolitical dynamics in and around Pakistan will evolve in the next few years.

Pakistani relations with the US will become increasingly transactional after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. As the US-India partnership strengthens to face China, the US will lose interest in Pakistan and their priorities will further diverge. In response, Beijing will remain Islamabad’s all-weather strategic partner despite claims that the debt-trap could become a hurdle. Trade relations with the EU will continue to expand and Brussels will not use trade leverage to obtain Human Rights concessions from Islamabad. Cooperation in other areas will stagnate, and the EU’s neutrality on the Kashmir issue will remain unchanged.

In Central Asia, Islamabad will maintain positive relations with the Central Asian Republics, which will be based on increasing connectivity, trade and energy partnerships, although these may be endangered by instability in Afghanistan. Relations with Bangladesh will remain unpropitious. An American withdrawal from Afghanistan will most likely lead to an intensification of the conflict. Thanks to connections with the Taliban, Pakistan might become Afghanistan’s kingmaker. Even if regional powers like Russia and China may welcome the US withdrawal, they will be negatively affected by the subsequent security vacuum. Despite Pakistani efforts to maintain good ties with both Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), if tensions escalate Islamabad will side with Riyadh. Pakistan’s weak non-proliferation credentials will be coupled with a risk of Pakistan sharing its nuclear arsenal with the Saudis.

A high degree of tensions will continue characterizing its relations with India, following the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian constitution. Water scarcity will be another source of problems in their shared borders, which will be exacerbated by New Delhi’s construction of reservoirs in its territory. Islamabad will continue calling for an internationalization of the Kashmir issue, in search of international support. They are likely to fight localized skirmishes, but there is a growing fear that the contentious issues mentioned above could eventually lead to an all-out nuclear war. PM Khan and Modi will be reluctant to establish channels of rapprochement, partly due to internal dynamics of both countries, be it Hindu nationalism or radical Islam.

A glance inside Pakistan will show how terrorism will continue to be a significant threat for Pakistan. As a result of Pakistan’s lack of effective control in certain areas of its territory, the country has been used as a base of operations by terrorist and criminal groups for decades, to perpetrate all kinds of attacks and illegal activities, which will not change in the near future. Risks that should be followed closely include the power of anti-Western narratives wielded by radical Islamists, the lack of a proper educational system and an ambiguous counter-terrorism effort. In the midst of this hodgepodge, religion will continue to have a central role and will be undoubtedly used by non-state actors to justify their violent actions, although it is less likely that it will become an instrument for states to further their radical agendas.

Iran Country Risk Report, May 2019

Iran Country Risk Report (May 2019)

The sanctions that the United States is implementing against the Islamic Republic of Iran since November 2018 are the toughest sanctions ever imposed on Iran. They threaten to cut off foreign countries and companies dealing with Iran from the US financial system in order to deter business with Iran so to curtail the impact of proxy groups on the Middle East’s security and stability. The aim of this country report is to provide the most recent analysis of the Iran's economic and political situation, and estimate its evolution in the short and medium term. It presents an overlook of specific clues about matters related to political risk, as well as the effect that sanctions may have on the Iranian economy, and the prospects for political stability all over the region.

Alona Sainetska

 

Report [pdf. 13,5MB]

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Effects of sanctions

The re-imposition of US sanctions will maintain the Iranian economy in recession during the remaining months of 2019. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the economic meltdown will be very unlikely to happen, as the volume of oil exports is still significant, crude prices are going to continue to rise and other major powers´ opinion will still differ from the US´s. The multinational companies dependent on US financial system will continue leaving the Iranian market, partially leading to declining of the foreign investment, but SMEs will be almost unaffected and new forms of trading are likely to emerge soon.

Iran is likely to build stronger economic and political ties with India, China and Russia, thus giving them more power and openness to new trading opportunities, basically due to lack of any other possible partner on the horizon in the mid-term.

The prices are likely to keep growing up in the following months reaching the average inflation of 31.2% in 2019-20; still the risk of hyperinflation is discarded due to the fact that Iran is able to meet a significant share of local demand through local production. 

Backed by support from the EU, Iran is promised to obtain in the mid-term a special mechanism of payments  (Special Purpose Vehicle) for its oil and other exports (possibly through a barter system) in order to conduct trading outside of the competence of the US sanctions. This is likely to create some tensions between Europe and the US but they will not be powerful enough to split the long-lasting alliance between the two.

Oil and gas

The Iran´s production of oil will probably continue to decrease affecting the world´s oil price.

Five from the eight initial major buyers (Italy, Greece and Taiwan have already stopped their purchases from Iran) are and will be buying Iranian oil now that the waivers have been extended for the following 90 days. Thereby, the Iranian oil will still remain in demand during the following years, and Iran´s government is likely to find solutions for its selling and exportation, even though illegally, in the mid and long-term. Thus, the United States is unlikely to meet its earlier target of driving Iranian oil exports to zero.

Iraq will continue to buy natural gas from Iran in order to use it in the production of electricity, becoming the second largest customer. Taking into account the fact that there is a sort of competence between US and Iran for the influence over Iraq, it can fuel a further deterioration of their relations. It is also plausible that more buyers will emerge if some new forms of trading, which do not rely on dollar, appear soon.

Even though the modest production growth is likely to continue, Iran won´t be able to unilaterally monetize its natural gas resources due to lack of financial partners and the investment, especially from the West. However, it will be able to fulfil its domestic demand and sustain trade with Turkey.

Iran’s ability to increase production and exports of natural gas will be almost improbable, unless the relations with the United States are improved or support from international partners in defiance of sanctions is reinforced. Nevertheless, if Iran manages to accomplish current development projects, its export pipeline capacity will increase from 46.4 bcm/year in 2018, to 119.7 bcm/year to the regional and global markets in a long run. China, India and Pakistan will play a significant role in Iran´s natural gas sector.

The domestic scene

Iran will continue demonstrating considerable resilience in coping with US sanctions, and is likely to continue to fully implement the commitments of JCPOA as long as China, Russia, or countries which are non-members of the deal, such as India, continue to trade with it, and if EU continues maintaining its constructive attitude. In this case, even a greater international support and United Nations diplomatic intervention is expected in the mid-term. However, on a longer run, the JCPOA future will depend upon the economic situation and complex political battles between moderates and hardliners in Tehran.

The current deterioration of the economic conditions in Iran, the rial devaluation and growing inflation, together with already-high unemployment will provoke a further popular discontent which is likely to maintain the protests but without any considerable probability to threaten the Iranian political stability or lead to leadership´s rupture during the upcoming years.

The sanctions are likely to produce some adverse effects on the political local scene over the longer term, as Iranian hardliners may take advantage of them and the popular frustration and obtain the victory in the coming 2020 parliamentary elections and the 2021 presidential poll. As a result, any possibility for future cooperation with US will equal zero.

Iran Country Risk Report, June 2019

Iran Country Risk Report (June 2019)

After some months of implementation, the re-imposed US sanctions against Iran are seriously affecting Iranian economy and forcing disputed political and even military reactions. The present report attempts to provide an analysis of Iran by addressing: the consequences of sanctions, the current and future state of its energy sector, the internal situation of the country, and the future prospect of the Iran-US relations.

C. Asiáin, M. Morrás, I. Urbasos

 

Report [pdf. 14,1MB]

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018, reshaped the Iranian domestic and international reality. On the one hand, the JCPOA enabled Iran to increase its GDP above 7% in the period of 2016-2018, more than double its oil exports and maintained President Rouhani in office after the 2017 elections. On the other hand, the US reimposition of the previously lifted sanctions demonstrated the deep vulnerabilities of the Iranian economy and its huge diplomatic isolation.

US sanctions will affect the whole of Iran’s foreign relations due to its extraterritorial nature. The EU will try to avoid its effect through legal protection of its companies and citizens with mechanisms such as the SPV, whose scope and effectivity is yet to be proved. China, as it is less exposed to the US financial and political influence, will be able to better circumvent sanctions but still far from being totally unaffected. Other countries such as India, Turkey or Russia will find difficulties to handle secondary sanctions, but will be able to maintain a certain degree of trade with the Islamic Republic. Japan or South Korea will have to follow US demands because of its strategic alliance in the Asia-Pacific region and resume energy imports and investments.

The Iranian economy is expected to enter into recession during 2019, GDP growth is expected to be -4.5% and unemployment rate will increase to the 15.4%. This economic hardship will concentrate the political debate in the 2020 legislative and 2021 presidential elections, whose result will determine if a moderate or hardliner political faction seizes power. Social unrest from ethnic minorities and opposition is expected to rise if the economic conditions do not improve, challenging the current political equilibrium of the country.

The energy sector will be deeply affected by US sanctions as it banned all countries from investing and purchasing Iran’s energy products. Sanctions are expected to reduce Iran oil exports to 1million barrels a day from the 2017 levels of 2.4 mbdp, decreasing governmental revenues drastically and freezing most foreign investments. The lack of FDI and technology will aggravate the problems of the Iranian energy sector with possible irreversible effects depending on the sanctions duration.

US-Iran relations are expected to worsen at least until the US 2020 Presidential elections, when a more dialoguing candidate could substitute the hawkish Trump administration. The United States is expected to maintain its current strategic alliances with Saudi Arabia and Israel, whose common goal of pressuring Iran can have unexpected consequences for the Middle East. Domestic politics in Iran, US, Israel and Saudi Arabia will play a major role in the evolution of the events.

Iran Strategic Report, July 2019

Iran Strategic Report (July 2019)

This report will provide an in-depth analysis of Iran's role in the Middle East and its impact on the regional power balance. Studying current political and economic developments will assist in the elaboration of multiple scenarios that aim to help understand the context surrounding our subject.

J. Hodek, M. Panadero.

 

Iran Strategic Report (July 2019)Report [pdf. 15,5MB]

INTRODUCTION: IRAN IN THE MIDDLE EAST

This report will examine Iran's geopolitical presence and interests in the region, economic vulnerability and energy security, social and demographic aspects and internal political dynamics. These directly or indirectly affect the evolution of various international strategic issues such as the future of Iran's Nuclear Deal, United States' relations with Iran and its role in Middle East going forward. Possible power equilibrium shifts, which due to the economic and strategic importance of this particular region, possess high relevance and significant degree of impact even outside of the Iranian territory with potential alteration of the regional and international order.

With the aim of presenting a more long-lasting report, several analytical techniques will be used (mainly SWOT analysis and elaboration of simple scenarios), in order to design a strategic analysis of Iran in respect to the regional power balance and the developments of the before mentioned international strategic issues. Key geopolitical data will be collected as of the announcement of the U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo on the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran on November 2, 2018 with a projection for the upcoming years, thus avoiding a simple narration of facts, which transpired so far.

First part of this report will be dedicated to a more general analysis of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, with a closer attention to Iran's interests and influence. Then, after a closer look on the internal dynamics within Iran, several scenarios will be offered out of which some will be categorized and selected as the most probable according to the authors of this report.

— 10 Elementos por página.
Mostrando el intervalo 1 - 10 de 12 resultados.