Global SITREP for Monday, 26 February 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Monday, 26 February 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Monday, 26 February 2024.

  1. CHINA COAST GUARD CONDUCTS ELECTRONIC WARFARE ON PH CG: The Philippine Coast Guard Spokesman for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela said the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) likely jammed the automatic identification system (AIS) of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessels during their rotational deployments to the Scarborough Shoal.
  • The vessels were using AIS, but their signals dropped out at the same time as Chinese press releases that they had “successfully repelled illegal intrusions” into the Scarborough Shoal.
  • The PCG and BFAR are rotating deployments to gather evidence of the Chinese using cyanide fishing in Philippine fishing grounds.

Why It Matters: Jamming signals is a form of electronic attack, which is an act of war per U.S. doctrine. The Philippines likely has a very similar doctrine since its armed forces have been shaped by the U.S. over the past 120 years. Additionally, the BFAR is a civilian agency, and AIS may be the only means by which the BFAR can track its boats. Losing AIS for an extended period can result in them assuming the ship is lost. This can easily be misinterpreted as lethal action taken in a contested area like the Scarborough Shoal. The Philippines and China continue to barrel toward a hot war. – J.V.

  1. ECUADOR CANCELS U.S. ARMS DEAL TO AVOID ARMING UKRAINE: Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa canceled a weapons trade with the U.S. after learning the old Russian equipment Ecuador would give would ultimately be sent to Ukraine.
  • Russian weapons from the 1990s were supposed to be exchanged for $200 million in modern U.S. weapons.
  • Noboa’s justification is that Russia is their third-largest trading partner and that he does not want to upset that relationship by supplying arms for Ukraine.

Why It Matters: Ecuador prefers its political relationship with Russia over the U.S. despite the trade data. As an unstated factor, Ecuador could be worried about disarming itself while the U.S. prioritizes the Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and its own rearmament, potentially leaving the deal unfulfilled. This is one more indicator of waning U.S. hegemony. – J.V.

  1. PALESTINIAN GOV’T RESIGNS, HINDERING PEACE: Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh and his cabinet tendered their resignation to President Mahmoud Abas this morning.
  • Shtayyeh said his government would continue performing daily duties until a new government could be formed.
  • Hamas stated they do not care what happens with the Palestinian Authority.

Why It Matters: A whole-of-government resignation prevents any potential peace talks in the immediate term and may cause a lengthening of the war. Hamas’ statement indicates a willingness to see this fight to the end regardless of peace agreements. Additionally, if the state of Israel is involved in any government reformation coming from this resignation, it will likely sour Palestinian and Hamas opinions on the reformed government, further jeopardizing peace. – J.V.

  1. RUSSIA ACCUSES WEST OF ELECTION INTERFERENCE: Russia’s Federation Council accused Western officials of coordinating with domestic radicals in Russia to destabilize the country before the March presidential election.
  • “Western countries have started making direct calls for not recognizing the results of the Russian elections and have stepped up communication with the radicals to try to organize illegal actions. Western official organizations are in close contact with the radicals with the aim to organize attempts to destabilize the socio-political situation in Russia,” reads the statement.
  • According to the Federation Council, the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee is encouraging internal opposition against the Russian government. “We consider these statements as a direct call for illegal actions and an open acknowledgment of preparations for provocations with the participation of radicals listed as foreign agents and other proxies of the West,” the Federation Council’s statement reads.

Why It MattersFirst, the Federation Council is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Senate. Second, Western officials have for years addressed their urgent need to topple Russian President Vladimir Putin. Promoting the illegitimacy of Russian elections is intended to bolster internal opposition to Putin and could lead to increased civil unrest. This is likely a win-win scenario for Western leaders, as any Russian reprisal to interfere in Western elections enables Western governments to further “fortify” their own elections and democratic systems. As was recently pointed out by Trump-era State Department official Mike Benz, “defending democracy” today means defending U.S. institutions from criticism. – 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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