Global SITREP for Wednesday, 31 January 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Wednesday, 31 January 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Wednesday, 31 January 2024. 

  1. ISRAELI COMMANDOS EXECUTE COMBATANTS IN HOSPITAL: Israeli special forces disguised themselves as doctors and patients to infiltrate a hospital in the West Bank and kill one Hamas militant and two members of the group Islamic Jihad.
  • The Hospital Medical Director claims the Israelis shot the three militants while they slept.

Why It Matters: Medical professionals, particularly civilian doctors, are generally a protected class in war. This operation is likely to elicit further accusations that Israel is committing war crimes and further radicalize the Islamic world against Israel. This could lead to an international Islamic league joining forces against Israel to stop this behavior. – J.V.

  1. MEDVEDEV TO JAPAN: KILL YOURSELF IF YOU WANT THE KURILS BACK: Russian Security Council Head Dmitry Medvedev offered Japan a final peace treaty to World War II yesterday if Japan would acknowledge Russia’s sovereignty over the disputed Kuril Islands.
  • Japan would have to come to terms with Russia developing the islands and stationing weapons on them, Medvedev said.
  • “We don’t give a damn about the ‘feelings of the Japanese’ concerning the so-called ‘Northern Territories.’ These are not disputed territories but Russia,” said Medvedev. “And those samurai who feel especially sad can end their life in a traditional Japanese way by committing seppuku. If they dare, of course.”
  • Russian and Chinese Defense Ministers Sergey Shoygu and Dong Jun announced during their first call yesterday that they would take Russia-China defense cooperation to even higher levels.

Why It Matters: Specifically framing this as ending a long-dead war and informing Japan that there will be weapons at their northern border suggests Russia is prepared to resume open hostilities if Japan objects. This is likely a first act to justify Russia entering a potential Pacific war to assist China. – J.V.

  1. CHINA ACCEPTS TALIBAN AMBASSADOR, CONTINUES PEACE CAMPAIGN: Yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinping accepted credentials from the Taliban Ambassador to China in Beijing.
  • This follows China sending their own ambassador, several high-profile mineral rights deals, and China abstaining from a United Nations Security Council vote on a special envoy for Afghanistan. 

Why It Matters: China is keeping up its peacemaker campaign in the Middle East to counter the United States’ ongoing “peace through superior firepower” campaign against the Houthis. China is likely to make a press peace in the Israel-Hamas war when the White House can not claim a hand in the decision, and the U.S.’ reputation has been sufficiently sullied. – J.V.

  1. NZ SEEKING TO JOIN AUKUS, CALLS FOR EXPANDED PACIFIC OPS: New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is in Australia today to discuss joining an expanded AUKUS agreement.
  • Peters cited “Pillar Two” of the agreement as their focus. Tier Two of AUKUS includes joint cybersecurity, computing, hypersonic missile, and radar development.
  • “[The U.S. has] certainly upped their game, but they need to work with greater intensity on the immediate problems at the ground level of many of the island nations,” Peters said.

Why It Matters: New Zealand has previously been unwilling to participate in anti-China matters. This sudden change of heart suggests the threat of war in the Pacific is growing, and nations attempting to maintain neutrality are picking sides. This is likely the first of many otherwise neutral Pacific nations to pick a side for a potential war. – J.V.

  1. U.S. RAPIDLY CORRECTING LOGISTICS IN THE PACIFIC: Army officials disclosed to Reuters that they had intentionally left behind hundreds of vehicles, trailers, and containers after last year’s Talisman Sabre.
  • Commander of U.S. Army Pacific Forces General Charles Flynn said the Army plans to do this “more and more.”

Why It Matters: The Army is rapidly and quietly fixing its logistics shortfalls in the Pacific under cover of exercises. This is likely happening among all the branches. Now that this information is public, China is likely to use it to decry the U.S.’ preparations for war and condemn every exercise. Numerous exercises happen every year. This policy could rapidly rebuild stockpiles in the Pacific and perhaps even significantly mitigate the tyranny of distance. – 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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