Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Friday, 28 July 2023.
- FIRST UP: Leaders of the coup in Niger declared General Abdourahamane Tiani as the new head of state on Friday.
- The coup was hailed by Wagner paramilitary group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, who also offered his services to General Abdourahamane.
- Tiani, the former head of the presidential guard, suspended the constitution and dissolved the government, saying his National Council for Safeguarding the Homeland (CNSP) would assume both executive and legislative authorities.
Why It Matters: Africa is becoming a geopolitical contest between the China-Russia eastern alliance and the U.S.-led rules-based order. Western militaries working on counterterrorism operations in several Sahel countries have been ordered to leave over allegations of mediocre performance and meddling in nation-state affairs. Some African leaders have instead invited the Wagner Group, formerly of Russia but now operating out of Belarus, to provide assistance in fighting Islamic extremists. Up until this coup, the U.S. had worked extensively with the Niger government on counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda and ISIS in the Sahel. – M.M.
- TAIWAN TO GET U.S. WEAPONS PACKAGE: The U.S. is expected to announce a $330 billion weapons package for Taiwan today.
- The package will likely come from the $1 billion in Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) previously signed by President Biden.
- A list of weapons to be provided has not been released, but some officials have said it may include advanced MQ-9B surveillance drones.
Why It Matters: Taiwan has complained in the past over delays in the delivery of weapons Taipei has purchased, saying that their deliveries had been redirected to Ukraine. Using the PDA to provide Taiwan with this substantial military assistance package means it will be pulled from existing U.S. military war stocks and arrive in Taiwan much quicker than non-PDA materials. – M.M.
- INTER-TRIBAL WAR BREAKS OUT IN INDIA: Fighting between two tribes in India’s Manipur state is causing concern in New Delhi.
- The Meitei community and the Kuki tribals in the country’s remote northeast have been feuding for almost three months with increasingly powerful weapons, creating a warzone-like atmosphere.
- Over 180 people have been killed in the fighting since May.
Why It Matters: The Modi government in New Delhi is becoming worried over the fighting in Manipur. What was once considered occasional violence amid tribal tensions in the region has broken out into full-on internecine war. The conflict began to spiral out of control in May when the courts ordered the Manipur government to provide economic benefits to the Kuki tribals. India is a casual ally of the U.S., although it remains non-aligned. If the violence in Manipur continues to increase, China could potentially step in and covertly fund one or both sides in an effort to distract Modi’s government – thus turning New Delhi’s attention inward to deal with the internal security situation and away from aiding the U.S. and its allies in the Pacific. – M.M.
- GERMANY SEES STUNTED GROWTH: German economic output stagnated during the second quarter of this year.
- The latest numbers follow a 0.1% decline in the year’s first quarter.
- German unemployment sits at a low 2.9%, but inflation and higher interest rates have neutered Germany’s post-COVID recovery.
Why It Matters: Germany faces what some analysts call a “slowcession.” Energy insecurity due to the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russian natural gas have combined with rising commodity prices to put Germany’s economy between recession and stagnation. Europe and the U.S. face similar problems, and the recession/slowcession economy will likely create political change as people on both sides of the Atlantic struggle with inflationary pressures. – M.M.
- RUSSIA DOWNS ATTACK DRONE HEADED FOR MOSCOW: The Russian defense ministry said it shot down a Ukrainian attack drone outside Moscow in what appears to be the third drone attack on the capital this month.
- Russian officials said there were no casualties from the destroyed drone and did not specify the location where they shot the drone down.
Why It Matters: Ukraine is continuing to launch attacks on infrastructure targets deep inside Russia, although most of those attacks have resulted in only minor damage. Russia has said it will respond harshly to attacks outside of the war zone, though it is difficult to tell what is normal warfare and what is a response to violating Moscow’s red lines. Expect continued Ukrainian attacks inside Russia, with an increasing chance that Kiev will hit a sensitive target and draw a truly harsh response. – M.M.
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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.M.