DailySA: Spain enters looming European conflict – Forward Observer

DailySA: Spain enters looming European conflict

Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Friday, 21 January 2022. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa

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TODAY’S BRIEFING:

  • Spain enters looming European conflict
  • Drought condition see minor improvement 
  • Possible Iranian Covert Ops in Myanmar
  • Pentagon seeks info on Chinese military recruits
  • Hazards Warning

UPGRADE TO EARLY WARNING AND GET THESE BRIEFINGS:

  • Russia-NATO Top Concerns: Biden’s ‘Green Light’ to Russia
  • Indo-Pacific Top Concerns: Biden’s ‘Green Light’ a signal to China
  • Domestic Top Concerns: Cybersecurity overreach by government
  • LIC Summary/ INTSUM

SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

SPAIN ENTERS EUROPEAN FRAY: Originally seeking an “exclusively diplomatic response,” Spain is deploying a mine-sweeping vessel and frigate to the Black Sea. In response to the growing potential for conflict in Ukraine, Spain is also considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria. Spanish Defense Minister Robles said, “Russia cannot tell any country what to do, so NATO will protect and defend the sovereignty of any country that can or wants to join NATO.” (Analyst Comment: In the absence of U.S. leadership, less prominent NATO allies are bolstering support for Ukraine with advisers, materiel, and repositioning forces. The Russian amphibious landing vessels entered the Mediterranean Sea yesterday, escorted by the French Navy. Expect increased pressure from the U.K., Baltics, and now Spain for a unified NATO response to Russia following President Biden’s comments about a “limited incursion.” – D.M.)

WINTER DROUGHT SEES MINOR IMPROVEMENT: Winter drought conditions persist in the United States, with areas in drought dropping only one percentage point to 68% from last week. Improvements were seen in North Carolina and Texas; however, slight increases were seen in Illinois and Missouri while the rest of the states stayed steady. (AC: Winter drought continues to stay steady with forecasts for improvement starting approximately in March. This downline effect will continue to negatively influence food production this year – D.F.)

IRANIAN COVERT OPS IN MYANMAR: According to data on Flightradar24, Iranian cargo airline Qeshm Fars Air conducted a B-747 cargo flight from Mashhad, Iran, to Myanmar last Thursday. The plane returned to Iran the following day. “This is the second time I have noticed an Iran flight. It is understood [to be] communication related to military technology,” Zin Mar Aung, foreign minister of the shadow National Unity Government (NUG) in Myanmar, told the Asia Times. The U.S. sanctions Qeshm Fars Air over its support flights for Iranian IRGC Qods Force activity in Syria. The Qods Force is Iran’s elite special forces that conducts Unconventional Warfare missions similar to the U.S. Army Green Berets. During the Syrian conflict, IRGC Qods Force used Qeshm Fars Airlines to fly weapons and Qods Force’s elite fighters into Syria in support of Iranian ally Bashar Assad’s government. (AC: Previously, Iran had made threatening public statements over the Myanmar junta’s treatment of Muslim independence movements in the ongoing civil war. It is likely that Iran has put aside its distaste for the Myanmar junta’s persecution of Muslims and is operating in a more mercenary capacity in supplying the embattled junta with weapons and training. The military junta is in a neck-and-neck battle with a coalition of pro-democracy and independence guerilla forces. – M.M.)

PENTAGON SEEKS INFO ON CHINESE MILITARY: The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission is seeking demographic and recruiting information on the Chinese military. Specifically, what issues Chinese leadership has with recruit quality, education, retention, and conscripts versus recruits. (AC: The Pentagon’s quest to understand the structure and potential issues within the Chinese military indicates the U.S. may shift its approach toward the Communist military. Influence operations campaigns rely on these types of information to target Chinese leadership, current soldiers, and potential recruits. While U.S. influence operations have few direct inroads into Chinese culture, understanding potential target audiences is critical in determining the success of a psychological operations campaign to degrade the morale and effectiveness of enemy military forces in a pre-conflict scenario. During conflict, the same information [education, opportunity, and quality of life] can be leveraged in tactical environments. – D.M.)

HAZARDS/WX

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