Top 10 Geopolitical Trends of 2019


Top 10 Geopolitical Trends of 2019

  1. Europe’s Populist Surge

In 2019, the rise of populism in Europe continued apace. France’s Yellow Vest protesters returned to the streets throughout the year. They also inspired people in other countries throughout Europe and around the world. The populist struggle also advanced in Britain over Brexit, with pro-Brussels forces making numerous attempts to cancel Brexit or force another referendum, but all of their efforts failed.

web_European far right parties
web_European far right parties

Another notable success for the populist trend was the parliamentary elections in Spain, where the rightist Vox party more than doubled its seats and became the third most powerful party in the political arena.



  1. Shiite Crescent Protests

In early October, Iraq witnessed the start of violent protests that eventually led to the resignation of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Almost simultaneously with the Iraqi protests, massive demonstrations started in Lebanon that forced out Prime Minister Saad Hariri. On November 15, similar protests broke out in Iran after the government introduced new quotas for gasoline and increased prices.

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi wave flags in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Wednesday. Shortly afterward, the military staged a coup, ousting Morsi and suspending the constitution.

The purpose of the ongoing protests in Iraq and Lebanon is to break the Shiite axis and deprive Iran of access to the Mediterranean Sea by overturning governments friendly to the Islamic Republic. Besides USA and Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are also heavily invested in the protests in Iraq, having provided money to the rioters through their emissaries.

  1. Turkey-Iran-Russia Nexus in Syria

The collaborative efforts of Turkey, Russia and Iran in Syria through 2019 have been extremely successful. On September 16, the latest meeting of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani took place in Ankara. Turkey-Russia-Iran Tripartite summitBy early October, Turkey had launched Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria against Kurdish separatist units. This operation was one of the results of Turkish-Russian agreements regarding the creation of a buffer zone near the Syrian-Turkish border in accordance with the 1998 Syrian-Turkish agreement in Adana. The Kurdish pseudo-state in eastern Syria ceased to exist, and the Kurds themselves were forced to negotiate with the government in Damascus. In December 2019, Operation Idlib Dawn began that is most likely to build Assad’s control over a significant part of the province of Idlib.

  1. Hong Kong Protests

On May 15, mass protests began in Hong Kong which have continued ever since. Initially, the protests were directed against a proposed change to the territory’s extradition law, which would have allowed mainland China to extradite 4criminals who flee to Hong Kong. However, even after Hong Kong authorities abolished the proposed changes, the protests did not stop. British and American authorities and media sources have provided strong public support to the protesters from the very beginning. The US sees the Hong Kong protests as a tool to put more pressure on China in the framework of the trade war.

  1. US in the Middle East

Turkey’s preparations for Operation Peace Spring forced the United States to begin withdrawing troops from Syria. The United States began to transfer troops from Syria to Iraq, leaving bases in areas where the Turkish operation was supposed to take place. However, following statements about the withdrawal from Syria, US authorities announced their intention to maintain control over the oil fields of this country.  The US did withdraw a significant number of troops from Syria and relocated others to the southeast.

Coinciding with the troop decrease in Syria, the US increased its military contingent in Saudi Arabia. In September, the Pentagon announced the deployment of an additional 3,000 troops to the country. In total, the number of US troops there has reached 14,000.dd

  1. Kashmir

Over the year, the situation in Kashmir remained tense. india-killed-355-kashmiris-in-2018-ifjhr-1546208059-8219In August, New Delhi announced the abolition of state of Jammu and Kashmir and the creation of two union territories in its place. The changes resulted in a decrease in the territorial autonomy of Kashmir and the abolition of the special status of the territory, which was previously prescribed in the Constitution of India. This provoked heavy protests from Pakistan and the local Muslim population in the Indian-Occupied Kashmir. This issue is far from solved, and it seems like things will only heat up further in 2020.

  1. Latin America

In 2019, countries through the Western Hemisphere were shocked by massive protests. Political crisis in Venezuela reached its climax when Washington-backed opposition forces refused to recognize the victory of Nicolas Maduro in the presidential election. In February, massive protests broke out in Haiti, while July saw demonstrations taking place all across Puerto Rico, a US colony in the Caribbean. In October, leftist protests swept the Andes: Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia.7 In November 10, the Bolivian President, Evo Morales, announced his resignation and flew to Mexico, where he was granted political asylum. As a result of the presidential elections in Argentina in October, anti-American forces returned to power. Another centre of opposition to US hegemony could be Mexico, where the left-wing Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Labor Party came to power in December. On the other hand, Brazil, led by Jair Bolsonaro, has become the stronghold of the pro-American right.

  1. Libya

Throughout 2019, the civil war in Libya only intensified. On April 4, the head of Libyan National Army, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, launched an offensive on Tripoli, where the Government of National Accord (GNA) is based. Haftar’s forces have so far been unable to take the capital. Forces loyal to the GNA control the west of the country, while those of Haftar control the east and south. In December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed two agreements with the head of the GNA, Fayez Sarraj, establishing Turkey’s maritime boundaries with Libya and securing military assistance to the GNA. These agreements have paved the way for an increase in Turkey’s military presence in Libya.


  1. Trump’s Impeachment

In the United States, the main political event of 2019 was likely the House of Representatives’ decision to impeach President Donald Trump on December 18th. The president is accused of abusing power and obstructing the work of Congress. 9Although the Republican-controlled Senate will most likely vote against impeachment, the Republicans may find an opportunity to use the Senate process to interrogate Democrats: primarily regarding Joe Biden and his son Hunter. This could allow them to hurt the ratings of one of Trump’s main competitors in the 2020 election.

  1. The End of the INF Treaty

In 2019, the INF Treaty was terminated. The termination of the Treaty has very serious implications for the global arms control system. At this point, nothing is stopping Russia or the United States from creating and deploying such missiles, including nuclear equipment, in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The security of Europe and the Middle East is at grave risk.


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