Global SITREP for Monday, 15 May 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Monday, 15 May 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Monday, 15 May 2023

THE WHAT: The Global SITREP is a daily email briefing about geopolitics and defense from Forward Observer. 

THE WHY: We want to share five important global developments shaping Cold War 2.0.

BOTTOM LINE: We’re sending out this email Monday through Friday on a trial basis through the end of the month, so be sure to let us know if you want it continued. Thank you! – M.S.

  1. FIRST UP: Russia promotes BRICS, SCO activity in the Arctic
  • According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Russian government is engaging BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Arctic projects. 
  • Russian officials didn’t disclose details on the projects, which reportedly include energy, logistics, research, and other areas of cooperation.

Why It Matters: Russia is trying to make good use of its allies to expand its own power and to push back against the West in the Arctic. 

2. GAME OF ALLIANCES: Papua New Guinea on track for U.S. defense pact

  • The U.S. and Papua New Guinea plan to sign a new defense cooperation agreement this month. 
  • The new security agreement would open access to the country for U.S. military deployments and potentially new air and naval bases. President Biden is scheduled to visit the country following the G7’s May 19-21 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

Why It Matters: The agreement would follow an expanded defense pact with the Philippines and follow a series of similar engagements with other Asia Pacific countries as the U.S. builds a wall of alliances against China.

3. ACTS OF WAR?: British weapons used in Ukrainian strikes against Russian Luhansk

  • Russian officials said Ukraine struck the Russian-annexed city of Luhansk with U.K.-supplied Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles over the weekend. 
  • U.K. officials announced last Thursday that they were supplying Ukraine with the missiles to enable strikes deeper into Russian-held territory. (That was quick.)

Why It Matters: Russian officials are accusing NATO of deepening involvement that skirts acts of war.

4. TWO CAN PLAY THAT GAME: South African military chief visits Moscow

  • South Africa’s military chief visited Moscow to discuss military cooperation.
  • The meeting follows U.S. accusations that South Africa supplied Russian military with weapons last December.

Why It Matters: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared his neutrality on the Ukraine war, but his country is becoming a geostrategic battlefield between East and West.

5. ECUADOR: One of a few remaining conservative LatAm presidents threatened with impeachment

  • Ecuador re-elected left-wing politician Virgilio Saquicela as its National Assembly leader over the weekend. 
  • Saquicela was re-elected in a 96-22 vote and now needs just 92 votes to deliver on his promise to impeach right-wing President Guillermo Lasso.
  • Meanwhile, Lasso has promised to dissolve the legislature rather than face impeachment.

WHY IT MATTERS: Ecuador is one of a few South American countries with a conservative president, as a wave of left wing movements move to dominate Latin America.

That does it for our very first edition. If you want us to keep going, let us know in the comments or via email. And sign up below to receive this report in your inbox each day, Monday through Friday.

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

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