Global SITREP for Friday, 23 February 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Friday, 23 February 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Friday, 23 February 2024.

  1. NETANYAHU’S POST-WAR PLAN NECESSITATES EXPANDING WAR: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put out his first official post-war governance proposal. It demands Israeli control over the entire West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as cooperation with Egypt on the Rafah border crossing.
  • Netanyahu said he was willing to negotiate with any Gaza representative that was “not affiliated with terrorist countries or groups and are not financially supported by them.”
  • Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Spokesman for the Palestinian President, rejected the bill, saying the only way to achieve safety and security was a recognized independent Palestine.

Why It Matters: This war has no end in sight as both sides continue to demand mutually exclusive end states. Netanyahu’s territorial demands would displace millions and likely cause tens of thousands of deaths, fueling both the budding refugee crisis and South Africa’s genocide charge in international court. The territorial demands also violate one of Egypt’s red lines, eradication of the Palestinian state, which they have stated would bring them into the war. – J.V.

  1. HOUTHIS: SUBMARINE WEAPONS AND INSURANCE LETTERS: The Houthi authorities in Yemen sent two notices to international shipping and insurance companies explaining that ships from Israel, the U.S., and the U.K. were banned from transiting the Red Sea, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Bab al-Mandeb Strait. At the same time, they announced a new “submarine weapon” capability that would be used if Israel continued Gaza operations.
  • The Houthis opened a new office called the Humanitarian Operations Center to “coordinate the safe and peaceful passage of ships and vessels that have no connection to Israel.”

Why It Matters: The Houthis are setting up the means to peacefully turn away banned ships and extort money from companies for safe passage. We previously discussed that insurance companies charge hundreds of thousands of dollars per ship. This is likely to increase overall shipping costs, but we may see shipping companies deal directly with the Houthis themselves. Regarding “submarine weapons,” these are likely a form of underwater drone and not a true submarine. These weapons can more easily affect a mission kill by destroying the rudders of warships while being harder to detect. Additionally, if they are equipped with a supercavitating warhead, this is one of the most likely ways to sink a U.S. warship with a single shot. We are entering dangerous territory where a relatively low-technology nation could feasibly defeat a foe with better quality and higher quantities of ships, radically shifting the balance of power on the seas. – J.V.

  1. INDIA SAYS CITIZENS “DUPED” INTO FIGHTING FOR RUSSIA: The Indian External Affairs Ministry reports that a “few” of its citizens joined the Russian Army in support roles but were “duped” into fighting on the frontlines in Ukraine.
  •  Indian officials are working with the Russian government to secure an early discharge for Indian nationals and urged all citizens to avoid the conflict. 

Why It Matters: India’s admonition against its citizens joining the Russian war in Ukraine follows the 11th Bilateral Consular Dialogue with U.S. officials. The meeting was aimed at “enhancing cooperation,” including expanding visa availability between the two countries. India has almost certainly known some citizens had joined the Russian army but is likely addressing this issue now due to pressure from the United States. – M.S.

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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