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For international security analysts, humanitarian operations planners, and humanitarian logisticians, the ability to identify emerging global hot spots is crucial. Over the coming months, areas such as Syria, the Crimea, Venezuela, Sudan, and the Central African Republic will no doubt make a list of potential shatter belts, complex emergencies, and geopolitical flashpoints worth monitoring. But there’s another region on the Earth’s surface that the security and humanitarian community absolutely must monitor. It’s a relatively obscure swath of ocean to the west of South America stretching into the vast Pacific. It’s the fertile ground where an El Niño event may unfold over the coming months, and the implications are significant. (more…)