from Monday 14 to Friday 18
- Strategic Resources
- Infrastructure Projects
- Anti-government Protests
- TURKEY: US imposed sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian air defence system, setting the stage for a further confrontation between the two nations as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office. The move comes at a delicate time in relations between Washington and Ankara, over Turkey’s acquisition from Russia of the S-400 missile defence system, along with Turkish actions in Syria, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and in the eastern Mediterranean.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
- MEDITERRANEAN: The US accused Russia of working to destabilize the Mediterranean region, pointing to a series of actions from Libya to Syria. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Moscow “continues to threaten Mediterranean stability using a variety of techniques to spread disinformation, undermine national sovereignty, and sow chaos, conflict, and division within countries throughout the region.”
SOURCE: ANADOLU AGENCY
- MEDITERRANEAN: The United States confirmed is backing the construction of a subsea pipeline that would supply Europe with natural gas from the eastern Mediterranean, and help Europe diversify its energy resources away from Russia, an objective strongly supported by Washington. They are going to work with Israel, Greece and other interested countries.
SOURCE: UK REUTERS
- GREAT BRITAIN: UK Chief of the Defense Staff warned that Russia assembled 10 or so warships and combat aircraft from the northern Baltic and Black Sea fleets in a show of force in the waters off the British and Irish coasts, in a way not seen since the Cold War.
SOURCE: IRISH HEXAMINER
- RUSSIA: The European Union formally prolonged for six months economic sanctions against Russia over the country’s failure to live up to commitments to the peace agreement in Ukraine. The measures target Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors, as well as goods that can be used for both civilian and military purposes.
SOURCE: AL ARABIYA NET
- SWEDEN: Sweden has announced a sweeping rearmament project that will see its defense budget skyrocket over the next few years. The military spending boost was triggered by “the actions of the Russian side”. Russian Foreign Ministry has stated in response to Sweden’s initiative that the country’s “anti-Russian phobias” are “a result of pressure on Stockholm from the outside”, in particular from NATO.
- BELARUS: The European Union has brought in fresh sanctions against senior figures in Belarus, including Deputy Prime Minister Anatoli Sivak, accused of politically motivated actions against peaceful protestors following August’s election.
- BULGARIA: Since July, Bulgarians have been protesting government corruption and demanding its resignation almost daily. Some experts assured the anti-government protests in Bulgaria are likely to continue, despite a new pandemic lockdown.
SOURCE: THE WASHINGTON POST
- CZECH REPUBLIC: The activity of Chinese intelligence in the Czech Republic is becoming increasingly visible, according to the Czech Security Information Service, that highlights that Czech Republic has been a target of cyber activities conducted by groups related to China, and that Chinese intelligence officers used social media, to find ways to influence public opinion, and present a positive image of the PRC.
SOURCE: WARSAW INSTITUTE
- ISRAEL: Israel has approved the construction of thousands of illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank, on Palestinian land. According to the PLO, several indicators on the ground show that Israel is going ahead with its annexation plan even though it had announced that it had been postponed.
SOURCE: MIDDLE EAST MONITOR
- SAUDI ARABIA/QATAR: The media started hyping the possibility of reconciliation between Qatar and Saudi Arabia after US visited Riyadh and Doha at the end of last month. Saudi Arabia cut their relations with Qatar in June 2017 after it failed to commit to a previous agreement stipulating that it stop supporting terrorist groups and refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of its neighbours.
SOURCE: AHRAM ORG
- SAUDI ARABIA: A ship was hit by an explosion at the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah. The incident comes just three weeks after an oil tanker was damaged at the Saudi terminal of Shuqaiq and Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed a missile strike on a Saudi Aramco fuel depot in Jeddah. Tensions in the area have risen as the U.S., a Saudi ally, ramps up sanctions on Iran, which backs the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war.
SOURCE: WORLD OIL
- IRAQ: Two oil wells of the Iraqi North Oil Company and the national oil companies in Iraq’s Kirkuk province were set ablaze by Islamic State (IS) terrorists. Iraq’s oil installations and pipelines have been frequently attacked by extremist IS militants despite the improvement of the security situation in the country after the government declared the full defeat of terror group throughout the country late in 2017.
SOURCE: ASIAN LITE
- TURKEY-IRAQ: Turkey and Iraq agreed to continue fighting terrorists trying to disrupt stability in their common region, the Turkish president announced. Erdoğan said terror groups such as Daesh as well as the PKK and FETÖ, were “common enemies” of both sides and underlined that separatist terrorist aims had no future in Turkey, Iraq or Syria.
SOURCE: HURRIYET DAILY NEWS
- SUDAN: It was confirmed that Russia is planning to build a naval base in Sudan (see also GGN from last week). It will let Moscow increase its influence in the Red Sea and in the Horn of Africa, provide access to the Indian Ocean, and support for Russian ships of the Black Sea and Pacific fleets. It would open up the potential for Russia to expand its military and political influence in East and Central Africa.
SOURCE: ASIA TIMES
- SUDAN: The US has officially removed Sudan’s classification as a state sponsor of terrorism. The move saw Sudan follows the country’s normalization of ties with Israel in another Trump-brokered deal, known as the ‘Abraham Accords’, that recognize Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates’ normalized relations with Israel.
- SUDAN: Experts warn Sudan is now at a critical juncture as tensions have flared between the military and civilian leaders who share power in a fragile transitional government. At the same time, an economic crisis with skyrocketing inflation, exacerbated by the global coronavirus pandemic, is bringing yet more pain to the country.
SOURCE: THE ARAB WEEKLY
- SOMALIA/KENIA: Somalia cuts diplomatic ties with Kenya amid rising tensions between both nations, after Somalia expelled Kenya’s ambassador to the country and ordered its ambassador to return home.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL
- NIGERIA: Boko Haram had seized students from an all-boys boarding school in Katsina, northwest Nigeria, to punish them for “un-Islamic practices.” 333 were missing and assumed captive. Boko Haram claim of responsibility, surprising some analysts, marking a departure from the extremist group’s usual area of operation in the country’s northeast.
SOURCE: WALL STREET JOURNAL
- NIGER: At least 27 killed in an attack in the Diffa region, while many others are wounded or reported missing. Boko Haram claims attack.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
- INDIA-IRAN-UZBEKISTAN: India, Iran, and Uzbekistan have held their first trilateral meeting for possible joint use of Chabahar port, for transit purposes as well as strengthened regional connectivity into Eurasia. For India, the use of Chabahar port is a geopolitical move aimed at countering growing Chinese influence in the region. India is planning on cashing in on existing projects to expand its reach and linkages so that the Central Asian republics have an alternative to China’s BRI.
SOURCE: THE DIPLOMAT
- RUSSIA: Russian energy giant Rosneft has announced the discovery of a “unique” gas deposit in the Kara Sea, in the Artic, containing an estimated 514 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The discovery could establish a new cluster for oil and gas production in the area. It ensures that Russia’s massive offshore discovery could dwarf Gulf of Mexico & Middle East’s energy reserves.
- RUSSIA-CHINA: The Russian government has approved the participation of the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) in a large petrochemical project, in accordance with Moscow’s strategy of establishing closer economic relations with Beijing.
- PAKISTAN: Pakistan has “opened secret normalisation talks” with Israel about normalising relations in order to help in relations with India, while taking advantage of the atmosphere resulting from the normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE and talks of a similar step by Saudi Arabia, according to some Hebrew´s media.
SOURCE: MIDDLE EAST MONITOR
- PAKISTAN: Pakistan recently cleared a bill in Parliament that will virtually give the powerful army sweeping control over the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Greater involvement of the army will serve to address China’s security concerns vis-a-vis Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan. Beijing is worried about terrorism in Balochistan, where separatists have stepped up attacks on Chinese targets in recent years.
SOURCE: TIMES OF INDIA
- PAKSITAN: Gwadar fencing project kick-starts as part of security measures to protect belt and road projects from potential terrorist attacks. Balochistan said the decision will be challenged in the Balochistan High Court and province-wide strikes will be held too.
- PAKISTAN: China has agreed to bail out Pakistan by providing it with $1.5 billion to help to repay a $2 billion debt to Saudi Arabia, with whom Pakistan has deteriorating relations.
SOURCE: MIDDLE EAST MONITOR
- AFGHANISTAN-PAKISTAN: The Islamic State (IS) most potent branch IS-Khorasan Province (IS-KP) continues to display its violent presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, fiercely withstanding the unremitting onslaughts from government and rival Taliban forces. The crisis within the Taliban created an opportunity for IS to rebuild and expand its network in the region.
- AFGHANISTAN: Peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban insurgents will resume in early January. Despite the peace process, violence in Afghanistan has not ended. There are regular clashes in various parts of the country and bomb and rocket attacks in Kabul.
- AFGHANISTAN: The top United States general met Taliban representatives this week in Qatar, urging them to reduce the level of violence and move more swiftly towards a political solution in Afghanistan.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
- INDIA: India agreed with UK on roadmap to broaden ties, to boost cooperation in Indo-Pacific. They focused on defense and security, among others. They also reviewed the situation in Afghanistan, and developments in the Middle East besides discussion on shared concerns over challenges posed by terrorism.
SOURCE: NEW INDIAN EXPRESS
- CHINA/JAPAN: The defense ministers of China and Japan discussed tensions in the disputed East China Sea. Japan expressed concerns over the Chinese ships “repeatedly sailing close to and entering the waters” around the Senkaku Islands, a major stumbling block in the bilateral relationship.
SOURCE: SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
- INDONESIA: Indonesia has dismissed Israeli media allegations that the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country is seeking to establish diplomatic ties with the Tel Aviv regime, after Israel and Morocco agreed last week to normalize relations in a deal brokered by the United States. Indonesia has long been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause and statehood and has refused to communicate with Israel.
SOURCE: ABNA 24
- BOLIVIA: New Bolivia president puts re-establishing ties with Iran top of his agenda (damaged by the previous de facto government, led by interim president Jeanine Anez). He also wanted to re-connect with Venezuela, which already boasts economic ties with Iran.
SOURCE: MIDDLE EAST MONITOR
- SURINAME: ExxonMobil and Petronas discover hydrocarbons in Block 52 off Suriname. The discovery extends ExxonMobil’s leading position in South America.
SOURCE: OFF SHORE TECHNOLOGY
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.