Global SITREP for Tuesday, 16 January 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Tuesday, 16 January 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Tuesday, 16 January 2024. 

  1. TIT-FOR-TAT ATTACKS IN THE RED SEA: The USS Carney destroyed a Houthi radar site while the Houthis launched an anti-ship cruise missile at the USS Laboon.
  • U.S. Fighter jets destroyed the missile launched at the Laboon, according to Central Command.

Why It Matters: This is the first intentional attack against U.S. forces. The Houthis are well aware of the U.S. Navy’s missile defense capabilities and are likely probing American defenses. The attacks are likely to increase in frequency and complexity, culminating in swarm attacks, in the coming months as the Houthis figure out where and when the U.S. Navy is weakest. – J.V.

Houthis previously said they would only attack Israeli ships or those en route to Israel. Now, British and American commercial ships are considered “legitimate targets,” according to Nasruldeen Amer, a spokesman for the Houthis. Japanese shipping company Nippon Yusen suspended its routes through the Red Sea today, a signal that Houthis could soon expand their attacks on additional U.S. allies. – H.B.  

  1. TAIWAN ELECTION RESULTS: LEGISLATURE AND PRESIDENT SPLIT: Over the weekend, Taiwan elected Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party to be president but did not give him a supporting legislature.
  • No party holds a majority of the 113 seats, but the Kuomintang (KMT) holds the largest share of seats with 52. 
  • The Taiwan People’s Party holds eight seats, giving the pro-status-quo position on the Taiwan independence issue a clear but slim majority.
  • Lai Ching-te said he would not change the status quo in his victory speech.
  • China’s officials voiced concerns over Lai’s previous pro-independence stance and that he would continue Tsai Ing-wen’s economic decoupling policy with the mainland.

Why It Matters: China’s primary casus belli, a declaration of independence, seems to be off the table. Even if Lai wishes to go back on his word, more than half of the legislature is clearly against independence. We may see China pivot to “soft independence” or “undeclared independence” to continue its mission of reunification. – J.V.

  1. BANGLADESH’S BUDDING “INDIA OUT” MOVEMENT RISKS WAR: The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) announced its “India Out” movement to remove all Indian influence in the nation.
  • The BNP is the largest opposition party to the ruling Awami League.
  • The BNP is designated a terrorist organization in the United States.

Why It Matters: The BNP is likely seeking to gain support from China by replicating the recent India Out movement from the Maldives. Historically, India and China have both supported the ruling Awami League. This is an opportunity for China to exert greater control in South Asia and the Indian Ocean, resulting in further loss of control by the United States. Any support from China would likely result in the BNP becoming an insurrectionist force in Bangladesh, as they have refused to participate in elections since 2014 despite being the primary opposition party. Any instability will likely bring India to the Awami League’s aid, resulting in a war on the subcontinent. – 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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