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Global Energy Advisory January 27th 2017

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

• The two-day Syria peace talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana yielded no firm agreement on how stakeholders in the conflict and their backers will proceed from now on, but they did send a signal that all parties seem to be willing to reach an agreement. The talks were attended by representatives of the elected Syrian government, rebel groups, and Russia, Iran, and Turkey--the latter three brokering the agreement. Both Syrian sides in the conflict, according to media reports, expressed reservations to the agreement on the grounds that it had not been brokered by the Syrians themselves. The geopolitical implications of this latest development seem to be that Russia and Iran are expanding their influence in the Middle East and Turkey is not against it: Syria’s southern neighbor has pledged to make sure it only supports non-terrorist anti-Assad groups. The Astana talks are no replacement from the Geneva peace process, which is led by the UN and the U.S. No specific details on the peace process were given after the talks, aside from an announcement that Russia, Iran, and Turkey will set up a mechanism to ensure the ceasefire agreed in December is enforced.

• President Trump has approved two highly controversial pipeline projects – Keystone XL and Dakota Access – that were suspended by the previous administration due to a public outcry against the potential of an adverse impact on the environment. The…

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