Global SITREP for Monday, 24 July 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Monday, 24 July 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Monday, 24 July 2023.

  1. FIRST UP: Ukraine conducted drone strikes on high-rise buildings in Moscow on Monday.
  • The drones struck two office buildings near Russia’s Ministry of Defense at around 4:00 am local time but did not cause any casualties.
  • Ukrainian officials said the attacks were in response to Russian attacks on Odesa, which Russia said was retaliation for a Ukrainian attack on the Kerch bridge to Crimea last week.

Why It Matters: While the Ukrainian drone strikes did not kill or injure any Russians and appeared to cause only superficial damage, the strikes in the heart of Moscow are a symbolic victory for Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine have called each other’s attacks terrorism, a mostly meaningless term due to its overuse in the conflict. Ukraine’s strike into Moscow will likely increase calls from Russia’s nationalist politicians for more effective leadership in Russia’s special military operation. – M.M.

  1. LET’S TALK: Top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi proposed high-level talks between China, Japan, and South Korea during a meeting with the Japanese foreign minister in Indonesia.
  • Wang and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi met at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Indonesia earlier this month.
  • China’s foreign ministry refused to comment on the proposed meeting.

Why It Matters: China likely understands that the U.S.’s most capable partners in a conflict with China would be Japan and South Korea, a relationship Beijing is keen to disrupt. Although Tokyo is rapidly modernizing its military due to overt territorial threats from Beijing, Seoul is still sitting on the fence over the China-U.S. power struggle. Japan’s drive to modernize and expand its military is likely due to its doubts about the U.S.’ willingness to counter Chinese military action in the region – something that South Korea’s leadership is looking hard at in assessing its commitments to the U.S. beyond the Korean peninsula. – M.M.


  1. SPAIN TURNS RIGHT BUT SHORT OF 180 DEGREES: Spain is headed for political gridlock after elections gave big gains to the conservative Popular Party, but not big enough to unseat the current socialist prime minister.
  • The victory gave conservatives and nationalists 170 parliamentary seats, but socialists and their allies retained 172 seats.
  • Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s current government requires 176 seats in the lower house to form a government.

Why It Matters: Sanchez’s socialist party performed well below expectations, signaling a shift to the right by Spanish voters. The divided results make the hardline Catalan separatist party Junts the new kingmaker. Expect Junts to ask for a referendum on independence for northeast Catalonia in return for enough seats in the lower house to give Sanchez the minimum required to form a government. – M.M.

  1. SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S STILL A CHANCE?: The United Nations is making another attempt to bring Moscow back to the Black Sea Grain agreement.
  • Moscow came under pressure in the United Nations Security Council on Friday from China and a host of other developing nations to rejoin the now-dead Black Sea Grain deal.
  • United Nations delegates also roundly condemned Moscow for its repeated attacks on the Ukrainian port of Odesa.

Why It Matters: Before its termination last Monday, it looked like the deal would go through after the U.N. agreed to reciprocity of movement for Russian agriculture products and readmission to the SWIFT financial payments network for a Russian agricultural bank; however, the U.S. and NATO member states refused to go along with the U.N. brokered concessions, ultimately resulting in the termination of the deal. It is unlikely that Russia will come back to the table on the grain agreement as it has already embarked on an effort to destroy Ukraine’s trade and transportation infrastructure. China’s calls to rejoin the deal could be performative or a reaction to a poor domestic wheat harvest compounded by crop-destroying weather this summer. – M.M.

  1. IRAQIS TRY TO STORM GREEN ZONE: Iraqi protesters, angry over Koran burnings in Europe, tried to storm Baghdad’s diplomatic Green Zone on Monday.
  • The protest followed a Koran-burning protest in front of the Iraqi embassy in Denmark.
  • Iraq’s prime minister cut diplomatic ties with Sweden over a protest group’s desecration of the Koran in that country last week.

Why It Matters: Tensions between Europeans and immigrant muslims are reaching a peak in much of Europe. The inability or unwillingness of a wave of muslim refugees to assimilate into the cultures of their new host nations has created friction in those countries. The Koran burnings in Europe are a symptom of a rising tide of resentment among Europeans over the uncontrolled immigration policies of their ruling class. Expect to see a swing to nationalist leadership in coming elections across Europe. – M.M.

DON’T MISS my next Early Warning report, focusing on developments in the global balance of power. It’s released to DailySA subscribers each Friday.

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.

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