Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Tuesday, 06 June 2023.
- FIRST UP: China, Belarus strike partnership
- Belarus and China agreed to move forward on a comprehensive partnership, while releasing few details about their recent high level meetings.
Why It Matters: China is encroaching on countries well within Russia’s sphere of influence. Belarus, for instance, is part of Russia’s so-called Union State. China appears to be exploiting Russia’s relative weakness to strike these partnerships and potentially replace Russia as benefactor. While Central Asian acquiescence to China may signal doubts about Russia’s viability as a security partner in the future, these partnerships may also more easily allow Chinese aid to flow to Russia through new intermediaries.
- STEPPING STONE: Qatar to join China’s SCO
- Officials from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) confirmed that Qatar is “on the way” to becoming a full member.
- The SCO was founded by China, Russia, and other central Asians states in 2001, and has grown to include countries from the Middle East.
Why It Matters: At a minimum, Qatar’s coming SCO addition is indicative of China’s growing influence in the Middle East. At most, accession to SCO is widely seen as a stepping stone to joining BRICS+, which would be in line with China’s energy-first global partnership strategy.
- FLOOD: Ukraine, Russia blame each other over dam explosion
- Ukrainian and Russian officials are blaming each other over an explosion that damaged a dam on the Kakhovka Reservoir, releasing flood water and causing the evacuation of civilian areas south of Kherson, Ukraine.
- Ukrainian officials said Russia is responsible for the attack, as rising waters on the Dnipro and other rivers would disrupt the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
- Russian officials blamed Ukrainian terrorists, saying that the flooding could push Russian forces out of defensive positions and also disrupt water supplies to Russian-held Crimea. [READ MORE]
Why It Matters: The partial destruction of the Kakhovka dam comes a couple weeks after a high profile cross-border raid into Russia. This attack could be part of a new Russian escalation against Ukrainian infrastructure to stop Ukrainian raids into lightly-defended Russian border areas.
- COLOR REVOLUTION?: Kyrgyzstan reportedly stops coup
- Kyrgyz special services detained a network of activists reportedly plotting a violent popular revolution against the Kyrgyzstan government.
- According to a statement from the Kyrgyz National Security Committee, the group’s operations were financed by a foreign country. They provided no additional information on that country.
Why It Matters: Russia and China have repeatedly warned about the potential for Western-backed color revolutions in Central Asia, though this may not be a Western-backed coup attempt. European Union officials were just in Kyrgyzstan last week to hold the second annual EU-Central Asia summit, where Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov said his country would work more closely with the EU.
- PARTY: BRICS leaders confirm 2023 summit attendance
- The leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) confirmed their planned attendance at August’s annual BRICS Conference, according to a South African press release.
- There’s been some jostling over whether South Africa would arrest Putin upon arrival, due to an outstanding arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC). South Africa will grant diplomatic immunity to the world leaders.
Why It Matters: South Africa’s immunity is a big win for BRICS, which can look forward to August with all world leaders unified in attendance. It’s also a snub to Western-led international bodies like the ICC, and shows that new limits could be imposed on their authority by Eastern-aligned countries.
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.