Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Tuesday, 05 December 2023.
- ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR UPDATE: The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is calling on the United Nations Security Council to force Israel back into a ceasefire and end the war in Gaza.
- Conditions continue to deteriorate in Gaza, as Israeli strikes have leveled neighborhoods and critical infrastructure with no military value. International aid organization reports that virtually nowhere in Gaza is safe from Israeli attacks, as the reported death toll surpasses 15,000.
- There are also conflicting reports on whether the Israelis told the World Health Organization (WHO) to empty out a medical supply warehouse before it would be bombed. There are numerous reports that Israelis are striking humanitarian aid locations, although it’s unclear if Hamas is seeking refuge at these facilities.
Why It Matters: Publicly, pressure continues to build among Arab countries to end the war against Hamas, although other reports say privately Arab leaders want Hamas destroyed due to their destabilizing activities in the region. Qatar remains home to several Hamas leaders, despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s order to hunt down and kill those leaders regardless of their location. Somewhat related, Russian President Vladimir Putin is headed to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia this week. I would expect him to discuss oil production with OPEC to buoy oil prices, keep trade open between Russia and Arab countries, continue to foster non-Western alliances, and, finally, Putin could lobby for Arab non-intervention in the Israel-Hamas war to continue drawing U.S. resources away from Ukraine. – M.S.
- ARMENIA BALKS AT CSTO MEETING: Armenian officials have declined to attend this month’s Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) meeting in Moscow.
Why It Matters: The CSTO is Russia’s central Asian equivalent of NATO. Armenian officials have repeatedly expressed their disappointment that Russia and the CSTO are not intervening in their border war with Azerbaijan. Armenian officials have also floated the idea of leaving the CSTO. This also explains why U.S. diplomats have taken an increased interest in Armenia. – M.S.
- PAPUA NEW GUINEA REMAINS SUBJECT OF U.S., AUSTRALIA, CHINA COMPETITION: Papua New Guinea will begin recruiting Australian police officers for its national police force, citing the growing security relationship between the two countries.
- Last May, Papua New Guinea signed a security agreement with the United States, but officials continue to say they don’t want to be forced to choose between the U.S. and China.
- Meanwhile, China continues to court the island nation and most recently signed a similar security arrangement with the nearby Solomon Islands.
Why It Matters: China and Western powers continue to jostle for diplomatic supremacy across the Indo-Pacific. Over the weekend, France signed a status of forces agreement with the Philippines, which may lead to the stationing of French military personnel there. France has also signed an agreement with Papua New Guinea earlier this year to patrol their waters. – M.S.
- WANG: CHINA-MEXICO COOPERATION HAS GREAT POTENTIAL: Meeting with his Mexican counterpart this morning, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that cooperation between China and Mexico has great potential, and the two sides should continue developing relations.
Why It Matters: China has trade, business, and geostrategic interests in Mexico that could expand to military relations. For instance, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) personnel took part in Mexico’s Independence Day celebration in September, and Chinese officials have left the door open for military-to-military exchanges like China has with some other Latin American countries. While Mexico declined to join BRICS+ (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) this year, most likely due to U.S. influence, Mexico’s next likely president, Claudia Scheinbaum, is a leftist and globalist who is likely to continue pursuing closer ties with China, like her mentor and current president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. As Chinese business and trade interests continue to expand in Mexico, expect the two sides to become diplomatically and, possibly militarily, closer, as well. – 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.