Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Friday, 01 July 2022.
- READ TIME: 3 min 53 seconds
- Russia-NATO INTSUM
- Indo-Pacific INTSUM
- Geopolitical INSTUM
BELARUS READY FOR NUCLEAR-ARMED FLIGHTS: Belarusian President Lukashenko told reporters and Russian officials that they are ready to “mirror” NATO nuclear posture in air patrols. Lukashenko said his country must “be ready” and asked, “Why do they [NATO] train, why do they carry nuclear blanks? In order to put a nuclear bomb into the plane tomorrow and drop it where it should be.” Belarus would need to receive nuclear weapons from its Union State ally Russia, as it recently amended its constitution, revoking its non-nuclear status.
LAVROV WARNS OF TROOP BUILD UP IN POLAND, BALTICS: In a joint press conference with Belarusian officials, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed concern over NATO troop increases in Poland and the Baltics. Lavrov said the West is destroying relations and increasing the risk of conflict with Russia or Belarus over its actions.
RUSSIA WILL RESPOND TO NATO IN FINLAND, SWEDEN: Russian President Putin said his military will respond “in kind” to new NATO threats based in Finland or Sweden. “Everything was fine between us, but now there might be some tensions, there certainly will,” he said. The Russian leader softened his previous language, warning of rapid deployments of forces in response to the NATO expansion.
CHINA CONDEMNS JAPAN’S MILITARY BUILD-UP AND PLANS TO SEND ADVISORS TO TAIWAN: A Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman said on Thursday that Japan should not send the wrong messages to “Taiwan independence” forces and to stay out of China’s internal affairs. The statement was in response to questions about the possibility that Japan would send Japanese Self-Defense Force personnel to Taiwan to coordinate a joint defense from Chinese aggression. “We have expressed our serious concern and demand for responsible clarification on this matter to Japan,” he said at a news conference in Beijing. “If Japan is bent on provoking us, plotting for ‘breakthroughs’ in its relations with Taiwan or even playing with fire in the highly sensitive fields of military and security affairs, it will face grave consequences.”
NORTH KOREA HAS ENOUGH NUKE MATERIAL FOR 100 NUCLEAR WEAPONS: A recent estimate from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency states that North Korea may be producing enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium to build 12 nuclear weapons per year and that it currently has enough to build 100 nuclear warheads. While the exact amount of weapons-grade nuclear material in the North’s possession is unknown, a Rand Corporation report estimated that it was producing weapons-grade uranium at a rate that could create an arsenal of over 200 nuclear warheads by 2027.
CHINA EXPANDS LITHIUM EMPIRE INTO AFRICA: Chinese backed Huayou Cobalt has taken over the Arcadia lithium mine in Zimbabwe. Huayou seeks to develop in-country refining capabilities to process the lithium within five years. The company says it is planning to expand into local generation of battery-grade lithium sulfate “only when the construction and economic conditions are right.” The company expects lithium production to begin by 2023.
ZAMBIAN SOCIALISTS CALL FOR OUSTING OF US AFRICOM: Echoing growing anti-western sentiment in the region, Zambian socialist party leader Fred M’membe is urging President Hakainde Hichilema to cancel recently signed status of forces agreements and the opening of a U.S. The socialist leader has condemned efforts by the US to build partnerships in Africa as “a new form of enslaving our continent.” M’membe instead urged growing ties to Russia and China, which “have been on our side when our continental liberation required support.”
NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS NEED TO DOUBLE BY 2050: The International Energy Agency (IEA) has stated global nuclear power capacity will need to double by 2050 to meet planned zero emissions goals. This would increase the power generated from nuclear sources from 412 to 812 Gigawatts. This need comes with significant challenges as 60% of existing nuclear plants are nearing the end of their operational life spans of 30 years. Overcoming this will require extensive investment in additional reactor infrastructure, such as next-generation facilities. These facilities recycle previously spent nuclear fuel rods and possess 100-year operational lifespans.
MALI SAYS NO MORE UN PEACEKEEPERS OR HUMAN RIGHTS INVESTIGATIONS: The Malian government said on Thursday that it would defy a United Nations Security Council call for UN peacekeepers to investigate human rights abuses in the country. Currently, Mali hosts MINUSMA, a nine-year UN peacekeeping operation, which the UN extended on Wednesday for 12 months. Mali’s military took power in a 2020 coup that some analysts say was supported by China. Mali’s new government immediately cut ties with its colonial power France and invited Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Group to help fight against Islamic extremists plaguing the country. “Mali is not in a position to guarantee the freedom of movement for MINUSMA’s inquiries without prior agreement of the government,” Mali’s UN ambassador Issa Konfourou told the council. “Mali does not intend to comply with these provisions despite them being adopted by the Security Council.”
IRANIAN NUCLEAR TALKS REACH FRUITLESS END: Trilateral nuclear talks between the US and Iran in Doha to revive the 2015 Nuclear Deal have ended without any meaningful progress. Iranian reports say U.S. offers “exclude any guarantee for Iran’s economic benefits’ ‘ citing the “weakness of the Biden Administration” in making decisions. US officials, who arrived with low expectations, say the Iranians have shown no urgency in resolving the growing crisis, instead focusing on previously settled issues and concerns unrelated to the 2015 deal. One unnamed US official stated, ” If there is a side that needs to make a decision, it’s them — and it’s been them for months.”
IN TODAY’S EARLY WARNING: Mike discusses domestic energy issues and the economy. You can get access to his daily report here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe
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