Global SITREP for Friday, 01 March 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Friday, 01 March 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Friday, 01 March 2024.

  1. EGYPT’S LATEST OPINIONS AND ACTIONS ON ISRAEL AND RAFAH: Egypt is helping to alleviate the crisis in Rafah through a multinational airdropped aid campaign called the Birds of Goodness Initiative. Part of their relief efforts also saw them build two refugee camps, slate one more, and build a field hospital and two aid distribution offices on the Israeli side of the border.
  • Forty tanks and a new concrete barrier have been sent to the border which are not apparently part of the aid efforts.
  • Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry led the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting with the United Nations Human Rights Council and, referencing the upcoming attack on Rafah, said, “Any military action in the present situation would have catastrophic repercussions that undermine peace in the region.” Ministers from Kuwait, Tunisia, Qatar, and Morocco voiced support for this assessment.

Why It Matters: Egypt appears to be leading the Arab League in both aid efforts and military preparations. The previously cited Egyptian stance declaring an invasion of Rafah a red line for Egyptian military intervention appears to still stand. The unified actions of the Arab League in support of Egypt thus far suggest that Egyptian involvement is likely to bring in support from the rest of the League against Israel if the Rafah invasion kicks off in ten days, as promised. There are no signs of Muslim Brotherhood agitation in this matter. – J.V.

  1. ISRAEL PREPARING FOR LEBANON OPERATIONS: According to multiple Israeli news outlets, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is preparing for combat operations against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
  • In the past few weeks, Israel has reportedly killed five senior Hezbollah leaders, including two brigade commanders, and targeted Hezbollah military infrastructure in Lebanon and Syria.
  • “We are actively enhancing our readiness for an attack, focusing on target development, brigade, and battalion training, and finalizing our attack plan. Everything is aimed at transforming the security landscape in the north,” said an unnamed Israeli military official.

Why It MattersTargeting of key leadership and infrastructure is typically associated with shaping operations intended to soften up the enemy before large-scale combat operations begin. – M.S.

  1. CHINA: U.S. WEAPONIZING SPACE AND CONDUCTING MILITARY EXERCISES: Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman Zhang Xiaogang claimed the U.S. is actively weaponizing space and conducting military drills.
  • “The US is maliciously tracking other countries’ spacecraft and comes dangerously close to them, creating a risk of collision,” Zhang added.
  • General Stephen Whiting, Commander of United States Space Command, described Chinese and Russian space and nuclear developments as “breathtakingly fast” in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday.

Why It Matters: Space is the next revolutionary warfare area and will likely make more of a difference than drone warfare in Ukraine. China is using this narrative to undermine the U.S.’ hegemony since this would be a violation of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which forbids exactly these actions. We discussed the open militarization of space numerous times last summer, particularly the Space Force assuming a conventional military role here. China’s spokesman is probably telling the truth, but the Treaty has been so flaunted by all parties with space access that it will likely only serve as a litmus test to see who is allied with the U.S. or China. – J.V.

  1. INDIA NAVAL UPGRADES TO CONTEST THE INDIAN OCEAN: India is conducting several naval operations intended to deepen its foothold on the Indian Ocean and demonstrate and enhance its naval power.
  • Another round of twin carrier operations, the commissioning of four more MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters, and the commissioning of a new naval war college in Goa will all happen over the next week.
  • A new base on Minicoy Island will also be commissioned. Minicoy is 50 miles north of the Maldives. The base will be expanded after the initial setup, and the express mission is to monitor adversary military and commercial activities. The Indians intend to build up capabilities similar to its base in the Andaman Islands, which can house, launch, and recover a P-8I Poseidon.

Why It Matters: The Indians are likely reacting to an increased Chinese presence in the western Indian Ocean after the Maldives kicked out Indian troops and welcomed a Chinese research vessel that was barred from Sri Lanka. Piracy and anti-shipping attacks on Indian shipping have also increased in the Arabian Sea. The entire area is becoming more contested, which, while not likely in the next six to twelve months, opens the possibility for further shipping disruptions. – J.V.

THAT’S A WRAP: This does it for today’s edition. Thank you for reading. If you know folks who would also like to receive this email, would you please forward it to them? We appreciate you spreading the word. – M.S.

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