Global SITREP for Tuesday, 26 December 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Tuesday, 26 December 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Tuesday, 26 December 2023

  1. OPERATION PROSPERITY GUARDIAN FALLS APART:Several critical allies announced they were not participating in Operation Prosperity Guardian despite what the U.S. reported.
  • France, Spain, and Italy will only participate in existing operations and ensure sea lane security in the Red Sea. These include an asset already operating as part of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CSG). They each will escort only their own merchants. Reuters reports the dispute is about whether the coalition will be NATO, EU, or U.S.-led.
  • The Netherlands and Denmark will send fewer than a dozen personnel between them to assist the mission.
  • Greece announced they would send a frigate to participate in the Operation.
  • India is sending two destroyers to the Red Sea after an India-flagged and Liberian-flagged pair of merchants were struck in the Indian Ocean. They have not announced whether they will participate in the Operation.

Why It Matters: China’s 45th Escort Task Force is reportedly underway in the middle of the Eisenhower CSG, likely collecting telemetry data and other forms of signals intelligence. The post-1945 world order is predicated on U.S. protection of sea lanes. A struggling U.S.-led task force and continued attacks play into the Chinese message to the world that the U.S. is a waning superpower and could cause Asia-Pacific allies to question the U.S.’s ability to remain a protectorate. – M.S.

  1. UKRAINE TAKES CREDIT FOR RUSSIAN SHIP EXPLOSION: Ukraine is taking credit for the destruction of the Russian landing ship Novocherkassk, reportedly hit by air strikes while in the Crimean port of Feodosia.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu this morning briefed Russian President Vladimir Putin on the Ukrainian strike against the ship, confirming the attack.
  • According to a Ukrainian statement, the ship was carrying attack drones and claimed the ship had been destroyed.

Why It Matters: Ukrainian attacks against Russian ships in the ports of Crimea earn strategic payoffs in two ways. First, attacks degrade Russian operations in southern Ukraine. Second, these attacks sow doubt in Russia’s ability to hold off Ukrainian attacks and may make continued U.S. and NATO arms shipments more likely. With NATO F-16s and a ramped-up Ukrainian drone production, expect these types of attacks against Crimea to continue. – M.S.

  1. PHILIPPINES REPORTS NAVAL BUILDUP UNDERWAY THROUGH 2026: The state-run Philippines News Agency reports that the Filipino Navy is rapidly stocking up on fast boats and corvettes.
  • The Philippines took delivery of its sixth Fast Attack Interdiction Craft (FAIC), a small, missile-equipped gunboat, from Israel in 2023 and is expecting three more over the coming years.
  • Hyundai Heavy Industries will deliver its first or two corvettes to the Filipino navy in 2025.

Why It Matters: The buildup demonstrates a wartime mindset for the Filipino government and has several major implications. The increase in Filipino naval forces will encourage them to use the new weapons systems for escorts and increase tensions with China. With Israel making the FAIC, we may see significant disruption in that supply chain, resulting in the Philippines seeking a new supplier. Finally, the Philippines is buying weapons systems from across Asia at a time when the Japanese are expanding steel production for weapons systems and exporting them across Southeast Asia. This is likely to create an increased demand for American steel if the Nippon-U.S. Steel acquisition goes through. – 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *