Security Bulletin May 2021 n.2
Middle East and Africa
1. Gaza. Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, shared his country’s support for the rebuilding of the regions affected by the current crisis, although the US shows no indication that it will halt its military aid to, and political support of, Israel. BBC reported that the US is committed to providing an aid package to rebuild Gaza as part of efforts to consolidate the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups. The violence reflected weeks of spiralling Israeli-Palestinian tension in occupied East Jerusalem, culminating in clashes after Israeli violations of al Aqsa mosque on the eve of Eid. Resistance groups in Gaza fired rockets in retaliation, triggering intense Israeli air strikes that targeted civilians, the media and leaders of resistance groups.
2. Tehran. Iran has agreed to extend an agreement allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to keep surveillance cameras at nuclear sites by one month. The framework agreement will expire after Iran’s Presidential elections on June 18. Hard-line opponents of the incumbent Hassan Rouhani are expected to do well and Iranian negotiators in Vienna are likely to change. UK, Germany and France are concerned about uranium enrichment levels.
3. Bamako, Mali. Military officers detained the president, prime minister and defence minister of the interim government on 24/5/2021, deepening political chaos just months after a military coup ousted the previous president, multiple sources told Reuters. The US, UK, France, Germany and the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS signed a statement asking for the immediate release of the interim government. An international envoy is expected in Bamako to evaluate the situation and discuss measures to safeguard the government and resolve the conflict.
1. Madrid. More than 8,000 people have crossed from Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta since Monday, creating a humanitarian emergency and deepening tensions between the two countries, the New York Times reported. Spain deployed troops, military trucks and helicopters in the North African enclave on Tuesday. The sudden arrival of thousands of people in Ceuta came during a deepening diplomatic spat between Spain and Morocco over the hospitalisation in Spain of the leader of the Western Sahara secessionist rebel group, fighting for independence from Morocco.
2. Brussels. Ryanair is cooperating with EU security agencies and NATO in order to redress the “state piracy” incident over the diverting of an aeroplane to arret the journalist Roman Protasevich, who is on the Belaurusian government’s list of terrorists. Several major aviation companies in Europe, like KLM and Lufthansa, announced that they will avoid using Belarusian airspace untill further notice. Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary stated that there were several KGB agents on board the flight. Pilot unions and the organisation of European air traffic control accused Belarus of breaching the Chicago Convention, the international regime governing civilian air transport.
3. Belgrade, Serayevo. Serbia has embarked on the modernisation of the Kub air defence system (SAM) in cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbia’s Deputy Minister of Defense, Nenad Miloradović, unveiled the programme on May 18th, designed to protect ground forces from air attack. The Kremlin is pleased to see that the Soviet era defence system is still active and is considering investment in the region’s defence industry. Greece and Bulgaria are using the S-300 PMU-3 air defence system while Turkey has shaken the NATO Alliance with the procurement of the S-400 Triumf.