Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Tuesday, 14 June 2022.
ADMIN NOTE: In anticipation of worsening domestic conditions, we’re making some changes to the DailySA and the Early Warning report. Starting today, the DailySA will cover geopolitical and risk-of-war developments. Our Early Warning report for paid subscribers is focused on domestic issues like food and agriculture, energy, the economy, financial and monetary conditions, low intensity conflict, Far Left and Far Right groups, and other domestic disruptions. If you’re not an Early Warning subscriber, you can get access to the daily domestic intel brief here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe
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- Russia-NATO INTSUM
- Indo-Pacific INTSUM
- Geopolitical INSTUM
RUSSIA THREATENS NUCLEAR STRIKE ON POLAND: Head of Russia’s State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, said if the U.S. gives nuclear weapons to Ukraine, a nuclear conflict will break out in Europe. “Sikorski provokes a nuclear conflict in the center of Europe. He does not think about the future of either Ukraine or Poland. If his proposals are implemented, these countries will disappear, as well as Europe,” Volodin said. His comments are in response to a proposal from the Polish Foreign Minister to “gift” U.S. nuclear weapons to Ukraine since Russia violated the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.
TURKEY TO FORMALLY REJECT NATO EXPANSION: Ongoing disputes between Finland, Sweden, and Turkey may derail NATO’s planned expansion vote during the Madrid Summit. Turkish President Erdogan will “officially declare that his country will not agree to a compromise when it comes to joining NATO countries “support terrorism and terrorist organizations.” Swedish President Magdalena Andersson reaffirmed her country’s commitment to counterterrorism and counter threat finance, hoping to satisfy Turkey’s doubts.
BALTICS DECOUPLING FROM RUSSIAN POWER GRID: The European Union approved a $1.9 billion plan to remove Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia from Russian and Belarusian power grids. “Let’s not leave any opportunities for the aggressor to use energy as a tool of political manipulation,” Lithuanian President Nauseda said. The plan expands on existing emergency connections from the Baltics to European electricity suppliers should Russia prematurely disconnect the power.
SPICY FIRST MEETING BETWEEN CHINA AND U.S. DEFENSE CHIEFS: In the first meeting between the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart China’s Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe, Wei bluntly stated that China will “not hesitate to start a war” and “smash to smithereens” any Taiwan independence efforts, its defense minister warned his US counterpart in the pair’s first face-to-face talks. “If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost,” The meeting took place yesterday on the sidelines of the Shangri-La security summit in Singapore. When asked by reporters how the meeting went with Defense Secretary Austin, Wei replied that the meeting went smoothly.
SINO-RUSSIA ALLIANCE CREATES MASSIVE TRADE SURGE AMID U.S. TENSIONS: China and Moscow are working together to undermine the U.S. dollar’s dominance in trade and finance. This week, monthly ruble-yuan trading volumes skyrocketed by 1,067% to $4 billion. The trade numbers come as both nations seek to reduce their reliance on the dollar and increase bilateral trade to offset the sanctions placed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Accordingly, dollar-ruble trading fell to its lowest level in a decade.
CHINA-AUSTRALIA RELATIONS AT NEW JUNCTURE ACCORDING TO CHINESE AMBASSADOR: Despite tough talk on trade by Australia’s new prime minister, labor party’s Anthony Albanese, China’s ambassador to Australia says relations between the two countries are at a new juncture. Ambassador Xiao Qian gave the upbeat assessment during a speech this weekend before the China-Australia Friendship Society in the coastal city of Perth. Prime Minister Albanese has been a vocal critic of China’s coercive economic policies against Australia but is expected to attempt to patch up the differences between the two nations.
NORTH KOREA COMPLETES NUCLEAR TEST PREPARATIONS: South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) announced that North Korea has completed all preparations for a nuclear weapons test. Additionally, yesterday North Korea test fired its artillery batteries located along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), only 25-30 miles from the capital of Seoul. The North employs massive numbers of artillery pieces along the DMZ north of Seoul as a coercive and deterrent force to disincentive a South Korean or U.S. military response to its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
POLITICAL VIOLENCE SHUTS DOWN LIBYAN OIL PRODUCTION: Amid the latest flare up of political violence in Libya, the government’s Petroleum Facilities Guard has closed the El Sharara oil fields. Libya is now losing oil production at a rate of 1.1 million barrels per day and the country’s oil minister Mohammed Aoun stated that almost the entirety of Libya’s oil fields are now shut down. The impact of the shutdowns could have dramatic effects on the global oil market.
ISRAEL WARNS AGAINST TRAVEL TO TURKEY: The Israeli government is warning to avoid travel to Istanbul over concerns that Iranian-backed groups are trying to kill or abduct Israeli citizens. Israel began warning citizens on 30 May, and has so far claimed that joint actions with Turkish authorities have saved Israeli lives. Iranian officials continue to blame Israel for the assassination of a colonel in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
U.S. REDEPLOYS SOF TO YEMEN IN NEW WAR ON TERROR: The Biden administration confirmed this week that it would deploy U.S. military forces to Yemen in order to battle extremist groups and provide support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition. The President stated, “A number of American military personnel are now deployed in Yemen to conduct operations against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS. The force consists mainly of Special Operations and Intelligence personnel who will work closely with “partner forces.”
UKRAINE EXPECTS 56% OF LAST YEAR’S GRAIN YIELD: Officials in Ukraine report that this year’s expected grain harvest is just 56% of last year. Reduced planting, crop damage, and fuel and fertilizer shortages are just part of the problem. A labor shortage is another part: most men capable of working in agriculture have either fled the country or have been conscripted to fight in the war. With Russia soon expected to produce another round of tens of thousands and potentially up to 100,000 new conscripts, the Russian military can likely keep the conflict churning for months or longer, which sheds doubt on Ukraine’s ability to increase grain yields and also threatens to exacerbate global famine.
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IN TODAY’S EARLY WARNING: Mike takes a look at how civil unrest over food prices could be co-opted by revolutionary groups, and provides a protest, riot, and unrest outlook for the next week. You can get access to his daily report here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe
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