Weekly Round Up 22 – 28 January 2018

This is our first weekly round up of some of the more interesting or important stories you might have missed. We will pick three stories, provide you with the basics and our perspective. Beneath each you will find the source. It is our endeavor to broaden the media horizon of our readers.

Operation Olive Branch

Who?
The Turkish Armed Forces, Syrian Kurdish Militias / Rebel Groups

Where?
Afrin District (northern Syria, along the southern border of Turkey)

Copy of Copy of afrin-map.png

What?
Offensive campaign to eliminate so called militants and create a safe buffer zone between Turkey and Syria.

Why?
Turkey has long considered most armed Kurdish groups as insurgents and terrorists. The Turkish state wants to ensure that the region along its southern border does not become a hotbed for terrorist groups.

Why is it important, relevant, worth consideration or keeping an eye on?
Turkey has further strained its relationship with both the Damascus government, who regards the Turkish military offensive as an invasion of sovereign Syrian borders, as well as the United States, their NATO ally, who has and continues to directly support the forces the Turks are fighting against. On the other hand Russia continues to maintain friendly relations with both the Turkish government as well as the Syrian Kurdish groups.

The outcome of the Turkish offensive, no matter what it is, will certainly have a lasting effect on the region and any effort to rebuild the Syrian state, or create some sort of stability in the region.

 

For a well written, fuller explanation of the situation, see the AP article by Zeynep Bilginsoy:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/ap-explains-turkeys-operation-olive-branch-in-afrin/2018/01/22/7ca8741e-ffb4-11e7-86b9-8908743c79dd_story.html?utm_term=.838ad1f23d05

 

Sino-Franco Relations

Who?
Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping

Where?
The People’s Republic of China

What?
Trade deals opening the Chinese market to French companies, with an emphasis on nuclear power, aerospace, food and pharmaceuticals.

Why?
To strengthen trade relations between France and China as well as to build trust for future cooperation.

Why is it important, relevant, worth consideration or keeping an eye on?
This is an interesting move by the French president who has redoubled his country’s commitment to the European Union. This could very well be a starting point of a larger pivot towards Asia as many European countries have increasingly rocky relations with their traditional trading partner, the United States.

Full overview by Vincent Bonhaume and Thibaut Minot
http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2018/01/23/china-france-relations-gaining-momentum-2018.html

 

Kabul Blast

Who?
Taliban (terrorist group)

Where?
Kabul, Afghanistan

What?
Bomb in an ambulance, killing 100, injuring over 150 people.

Why?
An attempt to further the political goals of the Taliban by the use of violence and terror.

Why is it important, relevant, worth consideration or keeping an eye on?
This is the third attack by Islamist terrorist organizations in Kabul in a week. The important factor is that an attack of this size would have massive media attention in the west. Events in Afghanistan are often not reported about although within the past 15 years many men and women from around the world have served, fought and died there in order to make a difference. Was all the effort and resources expended in Afghanistan in vain? Did the west make a lasting difference in Afghanistan? Or has the country regressed since the end of the ISAF mission?

Article by Al Jazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/huge-blast-rocks-afghanistan-kabul-180127084053950.html

 

Media you might have missed:
Some really interesting reporting via Twitter this week about life on the ground in Somalia from @RolandOliphant

1 Comment

  1. Good round up of some of the many issues from around the world this week. How the Turkey-NATO situation plays out will be interesting/eventful. Is there a growing case to ‘kick’ them out, as they continue to wage war on the “army of terror” (as stated by Erdogan) whom he will “strangle before it’s even born” despite being heavily supported by the US?

    On Afghanistan, I recently watched a short film on the strategic objective of the US & West following the war to rebuild and secure – the Kabul to Kandahar highway and the “The Ring Road” (which dates back far beyond the Soviets as stated in the film) and how they failed. Worth a quick watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKVDXbIpW9Q

    Like

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