Global SITREP for Friday, 02 June 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Friday, 02 June 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Friday, 02 June 2023

  1. FIRST UP:  U.S.-China Conflict Takes Over Shangri-La Dialogue
  • Asia’s top security conference starts today and runs through the weekend. The annual Shangri-La Dialogue features the world’s top defense officials, including U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chinese Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu.
  • Diplomats from the European Union are pressing for increased cooperation with Asian allies against China.
  • Meanwhile, other EU officials are meeting in Uzbekistan for the second annual Central Asia – European Union summit.

Why It Matters: China wants to challenge EU security cooperation and “Global NATO” encroachment into Asia, but they have limited options. We should see Shangri-La lead to closer security ties between Europe, the United States, and their Asian allies, despite Chinese objections.

  1. STRATEGY: Russians, Chinese meet on BRICS+ expansion
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu, and other representatives met to discuss BRICS+ expansion to include Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The talks took place in South Africa and included foreign ministry officials from 15 counties, including Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

Why It Matters: China’s strategy has been clear for some time: gather the world’s top commodities-producing countries to reshape the global financial and geopolitical landscape. Saudi Arabia and Iran are top contenders to be the first to join BRICS+, in another sign of growing Chinese influence in the region.

  1. MIDDLE EAST: CENTCOM attempts to salvage security ties
  • U.S. Central Command’s General Michael Kurrilla spent the last two weeks visiting the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, and Israel. 
  • Kurilla met with the foreign defense officials to discuss security cooperation and boosting military-to-military ties.

Why It Matters: The timing of Kurilla’s otherwise routine visits coincide with a number of Middle Eastern countries shifting towards China’s sphere of influence. The UAE officially withdrew from a U.S.-led regional security task force last month, while Saudi Arabia continues lurching towards Chinese security cooperation. These meetings appear to have at least included fact-finding on the state of relations with China, and at most were an attempt to salvage fraying U.S. security ties in the Middle East.

  1. AFRICA: U.S. to reopen embassy in the Seychelles
  • The U.S. State Department announced yesterday they will reopen an embassy in the Seychelle Islands, off Africa’s east coast, after a 27-year absence.

Why It Matters: The United States is playing catch up in Africa, following China’s growing influence. In fact, the U.S. has been playing catch up across Latin America and the Indo-Pacific for several years. The State Department last year, for instance, announced it would open embassies in Tonga and Kiribati, and reopen its embassy in the Solomon Islands. 

  1. REPORT: Russian spies infiltrating the United States
  • According to a Brazil-based British Broadcasting Corporation news outlet, Russia’s intelligence services are using the country as a gateway to infiltrate into the United States and other countries.
  • Citing documents from U.S. federal law enforcement, the report claims a number of Russian spies have been arrested after assuming Brazilian identities.
  • Brazilian officials speaking off the record said Brazil’s mixed racial/ethnic population and lax document control probably led to Russia choosing the country as an international hub.

Why It Matters: Detailed reporting on U.S. counterintelligence efforts is rare. While the information can’t be confirmed, it’s a good reminder that U.S. border security and the immigration system remain challenged in stopping foreign spies using third-party citizenship as cover to come into the United States. 

DON’T MISS: Retired Marine Lt. Col. and former CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer Max Morton releases his next Early Warning report today, focusing on developments in the global balance of power and the risk of war. It will be released to Early Warning subscribers this afternoon. Subscribe at

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.

Mike Shelby is a former Intelligence NCO and contractor. He's now the CEO of Forward Observer.

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