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Islamic State Backgrounder and Threat Assessment

No word better describes the rapid ascent of Islamic State (IS) than ‘shocking.’ It shocked the early optimists of the Arab Spring, most of who predicted that a liberal, secular opposition would seize the upper hand in the fight against al-Assad in Syria. It shocked al-Qaeda and its regional proxy al-Nusra Front, both of which were suddenly relegated to bit parts in the wider drama of who controls the Middle East. It shocked an overly complacent al-Maliki government in Iraq, costing the former prime minister his political career. And it shocked outside powers near and far, from the Saudis who saw a pet project turn on them, to an Obama administration that had its core foreign policy platform of a full Iraq withdrawal made to look foolish and premature. But how could one militant group catch so many people off guard? The answer is simple: Islamic State is not like any of the jihadist organizations that came before it. In terms of ideology, recruitment, financing, and tactics, it is a completely different enemy requiring a totally new approach to combat it effectively. This report examines the historical background of Islamic State and the reasons why it differs from its predecessors. The information contained within it will help ensure that the politicians, investors, and stakeholders currently working to build a better Middle East won’t get caught off guard again.

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Japan: Economic Outlook and Risk Assessment

Japan seems to be experiencing an economic revival, with the Nikkei 225 jumping over 5,000 points (or 50% of its value) since Shinzo Abe was swept into power in December of 2012. But serious structural hurdles to sustained growth remain. This 20-page report provides an in-depth assessment of three such hurdles: demographic decline, public debt burden, and geopolitical tensions with China over the East China Sea Diaoyu/Senkakus island dispute. It then provides a set of recommendations meant to answer the key question of whether Japan’s growth spurt will go on to outlive the placebo effect of "Abenomics."

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Investment Landscape in the Sahel

An in-depth analysis of the investment landscape of Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. This 24 page document provides important information for those investing or doing business in the Sahel region.

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The Security Threat from the Sahel: Mali, Mauritania, and Niger

The Security Threat from the Sahel: Mali, Mauritania, and Niger provides a detailed analysis of present day security issues in the Sahel and projections about where the region is headed. If you or your company operate or invest in this part of the world this report is a must-read.

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