Global SITREP for Thursday, 14 March 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Thursday, 14 March 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Thursday, 14 March 2024.

  1. ISRAEL TO BUILD “HUMANITARIAN ISLANDS” FOR RAFAH EVAC: The Israeli Defense Force Spokesman said Israel would evacuate Palestinian refugees in Rafah to “humanitarian islands” in the center of Gaza with international help ahead of a Rafah invasion.

Why It Matters: This will delay the Rafah invasion, and thus, a potential expansion of the war with Egypt. Using an international coalition to facilitate moving refugees has the potential to warm international relations and prevent outside Arab intervention. – J.V.

  1. THE WEST COUNTERS BRI IN ASEAN MEMBERS: The West is courting several Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members with foreign direct investment.
  • Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysian heads of state are in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss investments.
  • U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo led a delegation of U.S. businesses to the Philippines to discuss investment opportunities.
  • The Philippines netted $5 billion in investments from the two countries for hospital improvements and medical training, farmland reclamation, armored car and armored personnel carrier (APC) manufacturing “for the Asian market,” and data centers for a “digital insurance platform,” identity data sharing, and numerous green energy manufactures.

Why It Matters: Western investments in the region will directly counter China’s Belt and Road investments. Additionally, Philippine President Marcos promised to deepen defense ties with Germany, including buying defense goods once his Congress has approved the funds. This is likely to include buying the APCs they will be manufacturing, as that would greatly reduce the waiting time for delivery. – J.V.

  1. CHINA PREPARES NEW TERRITORIAL DISPUTE WITH VIETNAM: Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry is voicing concerns about China’s recently revealed baseline for territorial waters in the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • Baselines are the starting point for determining territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone per the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

Why It Matters: While China has not asserted any authority over the territory their new baseline would give them, their history dictates that they will use this to claim additional territory and cause tensions as they encroach on Vietnamese aquatic commerce. Vietnam depends on commercial fishing to feed its people. This new encroachment could cause Vietnam to side with the West in a potential war simply to gain some of its fisheries back. – J.V.

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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