Black Sea (EURASIA):
- The U.S. Navy has sent a third warship into the Black Sea as it steps up its presence in the strategic region. It is the largest U.S. Navy presence in the Black Sea in three years. The Black Sea has taken on greater strategic importance for the United States and NATO after Russia illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
- US Navy is eyeing a tougher posture in the Arctic to push back against Moscow, and top Pentagon officials said that the U.S. could launch “freedom of navigation” operations near Russia’s Arctic coastline. Such operations would resemble Navy exercises in the South China Sea, an area in which American ships regularly contest growing Chinese territorial claims.
China (ASIA PACIFIC):
- The US added Chinese National Overseas Oil Corporation to a US economic blacklist. It said CNOOC has “repeatedly harassed and threatened offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction in the South China Sea, with the goal of driving up the political risk for interested foreign partners, including Vietnam.”
Philippines (ASIA PACIFIC):
- The United States will defend the Philippines against attacks in the South China Sea, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who stressed the importance of the U.S.-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.
Saudi Arabia (MIDDLE EAST):
- The US military is exploring new bases in Saudi Arabia amid rising tensions with Iran. They already had tested unloading and shipping cargo overland from Saudi Arabia’s port at Yanbu, a crucial terminal for oil pipelines in the kingdom.
Syria (MIDDLE EAST):
- The US forces are setting up a new military base in Al- Yaarubiya area in the east of Al-Hasakah province, Syria, near the border with Iraq. In the last few months, the US military has brought thousands of trucks carrying weapons, military equipment and logistics to al-Hasakah to plunder Syria’s oil and other natural resources.
Jordan (MIDDLE EAST):
- US plan to build new military base in Jordan, in line with the expansion of military cooperation between this country and the United States.
Iraq-Afghanistan (MIDDLE EAST):
- The US has decreased its number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to 2,500, accomplishing a key goal of President Donald Trump. Under a plan instituted by Trump the Pentagon is seeking to completely withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by May, but it is unclear if incoming President Joe Biden will continue to implement the policy.
Israel (MIDDLE EAST):
- The Biden administration said it will work closely with Israel on regional security issues and to build on the country’s regional normalisation agreements.
Yemen (MIDDLE EAST):
- United States designated Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels as a foreign terrorist organization.
- The United States urged Turkey, Russia and the United Arab Emirates to immediately halt their military intervention in Libya.
Cuba (CENTRAL AMERICA):
- The U.S. designated Cuba as a “state sponsoring terrorism” once again more than five years after removing the country from the list. China firmly opposes the United States decision.
Taiwan (ASIA PACIFIC):
- China sent warplanes into the South China Sea breaching Taiwan’s airspace. In recent months, China has ramped up its naval presence in the region and criticized any military operations in the area by the US as “collusion” with Taiwan.
- Firmly opposed to the U.S. decision to hold a so-called “political-military dialogue” with Taiwan authorities. The U.S. State Department announced it planned to hold a conference with Taiwan authorities to discuss regional developments, Taiwan-U.S. military cooperation, and arms sales.
- China also intensified its rhetoric directed towards Taiwan and said its independence would result in war.
Hong Kong (ASIA PACIFIC):
- China stressed that Hong Kong police’s recent arrests of activists suspected of subversion are China’s internal affairs which the EU side has no right to interfere in.
India (SOUTH ASIA):
- China clashed with India again on their contested Himalayan border, highlighting the fraught state of relations between the giant nuclear-armed neighbours.
Afghanistan (SOUTH ASIA):
- China, who is seeking to become more involved in intra-Afghan peace talks, has cautioned that an unorganized US departure could open the way for militants to re-establish Afghanistan as a regional hotbed of Islamic terror. China is concerned that Afghanistan, which shares a land border with China’s restive Xinjiang province, could in particular become a breeding ground for Uighur Muslim militants.
Myanmar (SOUTH ASIA):
- China is planning to expand infrastructure links with the key oil and gas port of Kyaukpyu in Myanmar (Burma) as part of efforts to develop its Belt and Road (BRI) investments in the country, which recently suffered a military coup, declaring one year-state of emergency.
Pakistan (SOUTH ASIA):
- China is embroiled with Pakistan in their most serious disagreement relating to the Belt and Road Initiative, causing the annual bilateral summit of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to be delayed.
Syria (MIDDLE EAST):
- China called during a UN Security Council session for the cancelling of western unilateral coercive measures against Syria immediately.
- China signed a memorandum of understanding with Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Botswana on jointly building the Belt and Road. China will continue to actively participate in Africa’s infrastructure construction in such areas as transportation, energy and communications.
- Russia is rebuilding its leadership in the Caucasus, leaving little room for Turkey, which helped Azerbaijan prevail on the battlefield.
Syria (MIDDLE EAST):
- Russia is looking -with Iranian counterpart- a political solution to the crisis in Syria implementing UN Resolution 2254 through a Syrian-Syrian dialogue without any external interference.
- Russia intends to deploy newest heavy artillery to Ukrainian border. Russia explains the build-up of its artillery power on the south-western borders by the allegedly increasing NATO’s presence in the region.
Baltic Sea (EUROPE):
- Russia reinforces its Baltic Fleet stationed in Kaliningrad. Russia claims that it has strengthened its forces in the region due to increased NATO presence in the Baltic States
TurkStream pipeline (EUROPE):
- Russia has begun delivering natural gas to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina through the TurkStream pipeline, reaching a total of six European countries receiving Russian gas supplies via the TurkStream pipeline.
Nord stream 2 (EUROPE):
- Russia is planning to file a lawsuit over the hindrances other countries have been posing to the gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2. Believes that the US has not changed its stance essentially and that pressure on the project would go on.
Venezuela (SOUTH AMERICA):
- Russia announced that will cooperate closely with the new National Assembly of Venezuela elected on December 6, 2020. The European Union, the U.S., and Canada have so far refused to recognize it.
East-south China sea (ASIA PACIFIC):
- Japan seeks US vow of support in East China Sea, as dispute with China heats up. Chinese ships in the disputed area have become an urgent issue for Tokyo, which also sent a diplomatic note to the UN over China’s activities in the South China Sea.
East-south China sea (ASIA PACIFIC):
- The UK is planning joining the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) created to counter China. It may be discussed during Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s planned visit to India.
Israel/Palestine (MIDDLE EAST):
- Foreign ministers of Germany and France discussed with Egypt and Jordan ways to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Gulf of Aden (ASIA-AFRICA):
- Turkey submitted a motion extending Turkish forces’ deployment in the Gulf of Aden, Somalia and the Arabian Sea. The Gulf of Aden — near Yemen and close to the world’s fourth-biggest oil transit chokepoint, the Bab el-Mandab strait — is a strategic energy route for Middle Eastern crude oil.
Eastern Mediterranean (EUROPE):
- Turkey has offered to resume talks with Greece over the eastern Mediterranean and other issues this month. Greece rejected talks planned for last year after Turkey deployed a seismic exploration vessel to disputed waters.
Nuclear Deal (GLOBAL):
- Iran urged new US President Joe Biden to return to the 2015 nuclear deal and to lift the sanctions on the Middle Eastern country. Some media assured that US administration will launch an initiative through European mediators to open a direct dialogue with Tehran.
- Iran is having active diplomatic relations with three neighboring countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) of the Caucasus region and it has gained a better opportunity to play a more influential role in the region following the departure of former US President Donald Trump from office. According to analyst, Iran pursues the foreign policy of resolving disputes of the Caucasus region without the presence of any ultra-regional powers.
Arabian Gulf (MIDDLE EAST):
- Iran announced the opening of a new missile base along the Arabian Gulf.
Qatar (MIDDLE EAST):
- Saudi Arabia opened its borders with Qatar for the first time in three years, a leap toward easing a dispute that split the energy-producing region and complicated US efforts to isolate Iran.
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