Global SITREP for Thursday, 15 February 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Thursday, 15 February 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Thursday, 15 February 2024.

  1. Israel is expanding their war in all directions with hospital raids, strikes in the north, and strikes on Rafah. Egyptian officials are threatening war if Israel continues on this path.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to continue advancing through Gaza onto Rafah as Israeli Special Forces raided a Gazan hospital raid and the IDF conducted more artillery strikes against Hezbollah in the north.
  • Egyptian Parliamentarian Mostafa Bakry told the media that Cairo was considering breaking the U.S.-brokered peace deal established in 1979 if Israel moved on Rafah. 
  • Dia Rashwan, Chairman of the Egyptian State Information Service (SIS), warned Israel that Egypt will go far beyond ambassadorial expulsion if Israel threatens Egypt’s borders or eliminates Palestine, adding, “Egypt has the means that enable it to defend its national security and its lands.”
  • The Arab League Chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit, an Egyptian, warned Israelis at the latest peace talks in Cairo that relations with Jordan and Egypt were under threat. 
  • Why It Matters: Israel’s war is expanding in all directions with the promise that they will not stop until Hamas is eliminated. Rafah is on the border with Egypt, and two senior Egyptian officials have offered the specter of war. Egypt just upgraded defense ties with Turkey yesterday and signed a deal to receive Turkish drones. If Egypt gets involved, Turkey could be implicated as a supporting nation. Additionally, Egypt hosts the headquarters of and leads the Arab League. While the League is not a military alliance, having its leadership get involved in a war on behalf of one of its minor members could result in more member states getting involved. We appear to be on the precipice of another full-scale regionwide war in the Middle East.
  • A war of this magnitude would have many second-order effects, including:
    • Shutting down Red Sea shipping completely via the Strait of Hormuz
    • Enhancing China’s narrative that the U.S. foreign policy regarding Israel was dangerous
    • Waves of refugees into Europe and the United States
    • Disruption to Mediterranean shipping on a broad scale, particularly in the East. – J.V.

  1. CHINA BUILDS NARRATIVE AT UN THAT U.S. IS BREAKING INT’L LAW: China’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, told the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that they had not authorized any nation to use force against Yemen, and thus “not a single country is allowed to twist international law or UN Security Council resolutions to stir up new tensions in the Red Sea.”
  • Zhang called on the Houthis to stop attacking ships in the Red Sea and for there to be an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli war.

Why It Matters: The “twisting international law” statement is the first step toward building an international case against the United States and the United Kingdom for carrying out an “illegal war” against the Houthis, a governing body they do not recognize. In the short term, this is meant to delegitimize the authority of the two of the UNSC states routinely opposed to China: the U.S. and the United Kingdom. In the long term, this could allow China to consolidate its power and influence on the UNSC to impose its will on others more effectively. – J.V.

  1. PHILIPPINES URGES NORTHERN ISLANDS RESIDENTS TO ENLIST: The Philippines Army Chief Lieutenant General Roy Galido urged all eligible residents of the Batanes Islands to join the Philippine Army Reserve as part of the general military buildup on the islands.
  • “We’re not planning to deploy. We are encouraging our fellow Filipinos [in Batanes] to volunteer, to be [a] patriot and be a reservist,” Galido promised.

Why It Matters: The Philippines’ actions and transparency campaign indicate a significant worry that China will try to seize the Batanes Islands ahead of any potential action on Taiwan. The Batanes lie between the main Philippine islands and Taiwan. – 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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