Global SITREP for Wednesday, 31 May 2023 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Wednesday, 31 May 2023

  1. FIRST UP: NATO countries split on Ukraine attacks in Moscow
  • NATO countries disagree on whether Ukraine should be allowed to continue attacking targets in Moscow, including attacks intended to kill Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the decision to use Western weapons to strike targets inside Russia was ultimately a Ukrainian decision. German and British officials have backed Ukrainian attacks inside Russia, while the United States and France say that Western-provided weapons should not be used in the attacks.
  • In response, Russia’s Dmitri Medvedev declared British officials in Ukraine were now “legitimate military targets”.

Why It Matters: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s intention is almost certainly to draw NATO into the conflict by escalating its war with Russia. This is reportedly the primary reason why the U.S. has not yet provided ATACMS ballistic missiles, which can reach well into Russian territory.

  1. STRATEGY: Lavrov pushes BRICS currency in Africa
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is picking up diplomatic victories on his latest trip to Africa.
  • Kenyan President William Ruto announced efforts to deepen trade ties with Russia. And officials in Mozambique welcomed closer trade ties in return for Russian military exports.

Why It Matters: Lavrov’s promises of foreign investment and food and fertilizer exports to African countries are part of a larger strategy to deepen trade ties and push African countries off the dollar and into a BRICS common currency.

  1. NO ARREST: South Africa grants diplomatic immunity for Putin
  • South Africa’s government announced diplomatic immunity for all world leaders at the annual BRICS conference in August. Officials said this was a common practice for international meetings under South African law.
  • According to officials, Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t be arrested despite an International Criminal Court arrest warrant. So far, none of the BRICS leaders have confirmed they will attend in person.

Why It Matters: South Africa is trying to balance its international obligations with its close diplomatic ties to Russia. Invoking diplomatic immunity is a way to legitimize the decision not to arrest Putin, as South Africa deferred the arrest of Sudanese leader Omar Al Bashir, also wanted by the ICC, during a 2015 visit.

  1. DARK DAYS: Xi warns China of “major tests” ahead
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping warned members of the Chinese Communist Party to improve national security ahead of the “complex and challenging” scenarios of the future.
  • “We must be prepared for worst-case and extreme scenarios, and be ready to withstand the major test of high winds, choppy waters, and even dangerous storms,” the CPC said in a press release.

Why It Matters: Xi has repeatedly made similar comments intended to improve military readiness and economic control of the country. Accompanying Chinese media reports focused on the espionage threat from the United States and Western countries, which have ramped up ahead of an eventual South China Sea conflict. 

  1. POKER FACE: CIA Director says U.S. “has better hand” than rivals
  • CIA Director William Burns said the U.S. is approaching another rare transformational moment in world history, but that “the United States still has a better hand to play than any of our rivals”.
  • Burns added that U.S. global dominance “isn’t guaranteed,” and that “middle powers are hedging their bets” on the United States. Burns made the remarks in April, but the transcript was published yesterday.

Why It Matters: The “better hand” outlook is generally accepted by the D.C. establishment, and is probably true. In just about every geostrategic area, the problems facing the United States are the least bad of everyone else’s worse problems.

THAT’S A WRAP: That 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.

Mike Shelby is a former Intelligence NCO and contractor. He's now the CEO of Forward Observer.


  1. Only that, you were on the money your read.

    Again, I suggest a close read of Lysander Spooner’s book NO TREASON, it’s short, and draws our attention to our Constitution… and its failure to represent us in a civil war.

    Perhaps we should go further back yet… but if we don’t stand for personal self determination, we will most certainly be slaves.

    You asked a question awhile back… if I remember it was should we try to fight through our criminal court system, or take a firm, rational stand in a sovereign state… by whatever name, and fight for it.

    Governments of the world, between 1900 and the year 2000, killed at least 180 million of its own unarmed civilians.

    Mike; what in Heaven’s name, could be more dangerous than a government.

    I would like to hear your opinion of Natural law and Volunteerism… brash as it may appear. There are some extremely well thought out books on the subject.

    Our backs are to the wall… how can we not discuss these issues now?


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