Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Wednesday, 13 July 2022.
- READ TIME: 2 min 33 seconds
- Russia-NATO INTSUM
- Indo-Pacific INTSUM
- Geopolitical INSTUM
BELARUS SAYS NATO PREPARING FOR WAR: Belarusian President Lukashenko said NATO is preparing for war “on the East.” “Western countries are actively reconnoitering in the air and on the ground, developing military logistics, holding exercises, redeploying hardware and reserves from other regions, and increasing military budgets,” Lukashenko said. At the same time, Belarusian troops are participating in a mobilization exercise near the Ukrainian border. – D.M.
UKRAINE, RUSSIA TO MEET OVER GRAIN: In a meeting hosted by Turkey and the United Nations, Ukraine and Russia will meet in Istanbul to negotiate Black Sea grain exports. “Military delegations from Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine and a United Nations delegation will be conducting talks in Istanbul tomorrow (13 July) regarding safe transfer of grain waiting in Ukrainian ports to international markets via sea route,” Turkish Defense Minister Akar said. The slow talks come amid a backdrop of growing global food concerns and protectionism. – D.M.
U.S. PROMISES TO DEFEND PHILIPPINES AGAINST CHINESE INCURSION. SENDS DESTROYER INTO DISPUTED PARACEL ISLANDS: The U.S. Navy conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the Paracel Islands yesterday in a move condemned by China. The island chain is claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan but is illegally occupied by China. A Navy 7th Fleet spokesperson said the guided missile destroyer USS Benfold sailed through the archipelago Wednesday. The operation took place only days after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the U.S. would defend sovereign Philippine territory against Chinese incursions as part of its mutual defense treaty. Chinese naval militia have been in a standoff with Philippine Marines at Second Thomas Shoal in the nearby Spratly Islands. The Islands are claimed by the Philippines but occupied by China. In 2016 an international tribunal in the Hague ruled that China’s occupation of the Spratly Islands was illegal and violated the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention. – M.M.
U.S. ANNOUNCES NEW EMBASSIES IN SOUTH PACIFIC: The U.S. unveiled a major new initiative in the Indo-Pacific regions during the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) earlier today. The Initiative would open two new embassies in Tonga and Kiribati and appoint a diplomatic envoy dedicated to the region. Additionally, the U.S. pledged $600 million in funding to counter China’s growing influence among PIF member states. The financial aid would be used to enhance maritime security, climate change initiatives, and combat illegal fishing. According to officials, the U.S. would also relaunch its Peace Corps program in the region as a sign the U.S. is “stepping up its game” in the Indo-Pacific. – M.M.
NEW GAS PIPELINE LINKS BALKANS WITH EUROPE: Greek and Bulgarian officials have announced the creation of an “energy bridge” between the countries following completion of a new gas pipeline. The 180 Kilometer pipeline stretches into central Bulgaria from an existing pipeline in northern Greece that carries gas from Azerbaijan to Europe. The pipeline eases Bulgaria’s energy demands that had reached a crisis after the cessation of shipments from Russia’s Gazprom, which had previously provided 90% of Bulgarian supplies. The pipeline is expected to be operational by August.
TOP ISIS LEADER KILLED IN SYRIA: On Tuesday, U.S. Military officials announced the death of Maher al-Agal, one of the top 5 leaders of ISIS following a drone strike in Syria. Al-Agal was responsible for the development of ISIS networks outside Iraq and Syria. His killing further disrupts the leadership of the organization and degrades its ability to conduct transnational operations. Al-Agal was the latest targeted in operations conducted by the U.S. Central Command against ISIS leadership which, according to an administrative spokesperson, “represent a threat to the U.S. and its partners in the region”.
IN TODAY’S EARLY WARNING: Mike discusses the global energy crisis and new maritime emissions standards which could slow international trade. You can get access to the daily Early Warning report here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe
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