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  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The Indonesian army has, so far, failed to derail President BJ Habibie's plans for East Timorese self-determination. Nevertheless, military leaders have reasserted themselves as key players in domestic politics by imposing a high cost on politicians who fail to take sufficient account of their agenda. Civilian contenders for political power are actively courting army support. A likely consequence will be the emergence of a civilian-led government with close ties to the military. Opposition leader Megawati Sukarnoputri is the front-runner for the presidency, possibly with Army Chief General Wiranto as her vice-president.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Indonesia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Debate surrounding the US elections in 2000 has centred on the contests for the presidency, and control of the House of Representatives. Far less attention has been placed on the partisan balance within the Senate. During the past two decades, the upper chamber has increased its influence over policy direction, a trend that appears likely to continue. Growing senatorial influence will act as a moderating force in US politics regardless of who occupies the White House or which party holds a majority in the House.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The attractions of the single european currency are likely to draw the Scandinavian countries into the euro-area by around 2003. However, the outlook for United Kingdom accession is complicated by differences in its economic profile compared with the rest of the euro-area, combined with its enduringly euro-sceptical public opinion. These factors are likely to postpone its accession until later in the decade.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Last week's signing of an Israeli–Palestinian agreement at Sharm al-Sheikh represents an important development in the search for a lasting settlement in the Middle East. The deal illustrates that it is possible to reach an agreement from which all parties will gain, while also exposing enduring problems. The progress made at Sharm al-Sheikh represents, as Nabil Shaath of the Palestinian authority described, an 'unfreezing' of the peace process. Whether the whole process can be infused with greater warmth depends firstly on US efforts to impel the Syrian–Israeli peace negotiations; secondly, it relies on the ability of the regional leaders to make the compromises necessary to reach a peace that all can present as a victory to their domestic constituencies.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Syria
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The present incursion of Islamic rebels into Dagestan is not the prelude to a re-run of the Chechen war across the Russian periphery. However, it highlights Moscow's failure to adequately monitor developments in the North Caucasus region and the lack of military preparedness for dealing with internal rebellions. Despite the potential for increased violence, weak central government control is likely to prevail across the region, but only because for the majority of the local population, the alternatives appear even less palatable.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Caucasus
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In the past nine months, the United States and the United Kingdom have pursued a low-intensity military campaign against Iraq. Such actions have been made easier by a lack of political scrutiny. However, the US administration in particular now faces mounting criticism from France, China and Russia, who favour a relaxation of policy, and domestic US interest groups favouring a more activist stance. Despite these pressures, US President Bill Clinton is unlikely to change policy significantly in his remaining 18 months of office.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iraq, United Kingdom, Middle East, France
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: On July 28, the IMF's Board of Directors announced their approval of a 4.5 billion dollar loan to Russia. Rather than representing a breakthrough deal, the agreement is merely the latest chapter in the cycle of non–compliance and renegotiation that has characterised the Fund's relationship with Moscow. With presidential and parliamentary polls scheduled during the next twelve months, electoral pressures will almost certainly prevent the latest macroeconomic programme being implemented. Moreover, unless the root cause of Russia's economic problems—its dire GDP growth rate—is rectified, a further round of comprehensive renegotiations will be required.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In recent weeks, economic data has produced conflicting signals about the strength of domestic demand within the US economy. A majority within the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) believes that growth will decelerate and that only a small tightening of monetary policy will be necessary in the short term. However, the Federal Reserve has consistently underestimated domestic demand, and there are signs that the economy is still buoyant. Moreover, with improving economic prospects in Europe and Asia, the external forces encouraging lower US interest rates are likely to be reversed. The combination of these factors could put pressure on the Fed to tighten further.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The success of NATO in forcing the Serbian army to quit Kosovo has led some western leaders, notably the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, to espouse a new 'moral' emphasis in foreign policy. While a complete abandonment of self–interest for ethics can be dismissed, there are important new factors affecting the conduct of international affairs, which vary in regional applicability.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Despite last week's crackdown on pro-reform demonstrations, there is still considerable momentum behind President Mohamed Khatami's political liberalisation drive. While the democratisation movement may have suffered a short-term setback and is likely to encounter further opposition from right-wing clerics, Khatami's reform coalition remains in place and is still likely to be buoyed by next year's parliamentary election results. Nonetheless, the president needs quickly to reassert his commitment to change in the run-up to the election.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East