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LONG READ: The oligarch problem
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OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Czech Pirates and Mayors approve final coalition agreement for 2021 elections
Hungarian vehicle makers hit by supply chain shortage
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
BALKAN BLOG: US approach to switch from quick-fix dealmaking to experience and cooperation
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BALKAN BLOG: The controversial recipe for building up Albania
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EBRD investments reach record €11bn in pandemic-struck 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
Montenegrins say state administration is most corrupt institution
North Macedonia plans to cut personal income tax in IT sector to zero in 2023
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
Romania’s central bank cuts monetary policy rate by 25bp to 1.25%
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovenia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
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ISTANBUL BLOG: Biden must find a way to work with Trump’s strongman pal Erdogan
CAUCASUS BLOG : What can Biden offer the Caucasus and Stans, all but forgotten about by Trump?
Armenia ‘to extend life of its 1970s Metsamor nuclear power plant after 2026’
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Iran’s technology minister indicted for failing to properly implement internet censorship
No US move to rejoin Iran nuclear deal imminent say Biden national security nominees
TEHRAN BLOG: Will Biden bet on a quick return to the Iran nuclear deal?
Tehran Stock Exchange chief quits amid “Black Monday” fury
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
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OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
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American and Iraqi soldiers at Ain al-Asad air base in Iraq are reported to have scrambled to move personnel and weaponry to fortified bunkers nearly eight hours before Iran’s January 8 missile attack on the base and another on a base at Erbil.
Reuters reported the scenario on January 13 after interviewing two Iraqi officers stationed at Ain al-Asad.
By midnight, not a single fighter jet or helicopter remained out in the open, one of the sources, an intelligence officer, was cited as saying. Another Iraqi intelligence source said US troops seemed “totally aware” the base would be attacked “after midnight.”
When the missiles finally landed at about 01:30 local time, they struck “empty bunkers that had been evacuated hours before,” the intelligence source said. No one was injured or killed in either of the two attacks.
Such reports add to the theory that the retaliatory strikes by Iran—conducted after the January 3 Donald Trump-ordered drone missile assassination at Baghdad airport of top Iranian general and second most important Iranian government official Qasem Soleimani—were little more than a telegraphed shot across Washington’s bows and an attempt at placating the home audience calling for quick vengeance. Whether Iran now uses proxy forces to conduct a ‘long game’ revenge aimed at driving US forces out of the Middle East and perhaps hurting Trump’s 2020 re-election chances is now a key question.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described the missile strikes as a “slap”, while stating that they were “not enough” of a punishment.
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace Force, has been quoted in state media as saying, “We did not intend to kill. We intended to hit the enemy’s military machinery.” And yet Hajizadeh repeated the spurious claim relayed by Iranian state media that the attack had killed dozens of US soldiers.
An advisor to Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told Reuters that Iran did not directly notify Iraq until shortly before the missile strike—but said Iran passed warnings through other countries. The advisor said both Iraq and the US were warned of the impending strike by one Arab country and one European country, declining to name them. Other media reports have spoken of Denmark as being that country.
“Iran obviously [warned these countries],” the adviser said. “Iran was keen that both the Americans and Iraqis be aware of the strikes before they occurred.”
The news agency could not verify the adviser’s account.
Iran’s deputy minister of economic affairs and finance has said the country’s foreign debts are currently very insignificant at nearly zero, Tasnim News Agency reported on January 20.
In a parting shot, Iran imposed sanctions on US President Donald Trump on the eve of the January 20 transfer of the American presidency to Joe Biden.
Trump and a number of members of his ... more
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on January 17 lashed out at claims from French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian made in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche that Iran is building up ... more
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