No. 2 July 2021
Rome, Italy. The UAE have asked Italy to withdraw from the Al Minhad air base, which hosts aircraft from various nations, for flights to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean. The diplomatic escalation followed an arms embargo on the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) imposed by Rome earler this year, citing their role in the Yemeni conflict. Italian military personnel has left the base while Italy seems ready to ease the embargo.
Paris, France. French military personnel seem to prepare in advance for the 2024 Olympics, testing a laser-powered anti-drone system. The system will protect nuclear plants and major sporting venues against small low-flying drones that can escape radar detection.
Russia & Easten Europe
Moscow, Russia. President Joe Biden has told President Vladimir Putin that the US will take “any necessary action” to stem Russian cyber-attacks. The United States expect Moscow more transparency and data-sharing. Even if cyberattacks are covered by a veil of plausible deniability and Washington has not published its forensic evidence on Russian involvement, the US is threatening with retaliation unless Moscow cooperates.
Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukraine’s defence ministry has accused Russia for an attack on the website of the Ukrainian Naval Forces, which included the posting of fake reports about the 2021 Sea Breeze exercises. Russia’s foreign ministry deflected Ukraine’s allegations, suggesting the evidence presented is designed to carry favour with Washington but is not authentic.
Vilnius, Lithuania. The government accuses Belarusian authorities of encouraging the flow of illegal migrants and announced the erection of a border fence along its border. Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Shimonyte accused Minsk of “actively and passively involved in organizing the flow of illegal migrants.” Specifically, Lithuania will create two barbed wire fences extending 550 kilometers (340 miles) along the 680-kilometer border.
Damascus, Syria. Following a Russo-American compromise at the UN Security Council, the international has renewed the mandate of an international humanitarian aid operation along the Turkish-Syrian border.
Baghdad, Iraq. The Islamic State continues a campaign of hit-and-run attacks against the country’s Security Forces, also targetting tribe and village leaders across Western Iraq. The same mondus operandi was used before 2014 in the same region, close to the Syrian border.
Kabul, Afghanistan. The country’s main airport seems to have become the epicentre of the conflict in the region. Russian Security forces offered to provide border control assistance along the Tajik border. Turkey is ready to assume responsibility for the defense of Kabul’s Airport, a key for the flow of international aid. Despite statements to the contrary, it is likely that Turkey will use Syrian mercenaries to patrol the airport.
Tehran, Iran. The Afghan government and the Taliban met in Tehran and agreed on support for the establishment of an Islamic state. Iran’s outgoing foreign minister, Javad Zarifi, hailed the withdrawal of international forces, days before the hardline Raisi comes to office.
Beijing, China. Chinese researchers want to send more than 20 of China’s largest rockets to practice turning away a sizable asteroid – a technique that may eventually be crucial if a killer rock is on a collision course with Earth. Altering an asteroid’s path presents a lower risk than blasting the rock with nuclear explosives, which may create smaller fragments without changing their course, scientists say. The Chinese space program is under the authority of the People’s Liberation Army and the taikonauts have military rank. This complicates international cooperation.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Haiti has asked foreign troops for a mission that would protect key infrastructure following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Haitian police announced the arrest of a group of 28 foreign mercenaries involved with the assassination in the capital Port-au-Prince. As the foreign minister and the President are lining up to succeed the Prime Minister, it is feared that the domestic power struggle could add to instability, as gangs and extremist groups are also preparing to fill the emerging power vacuum.