Jack Merlin Watling, 16 February 2015.
ONES TO WATCH
UKRAINE: Pro-Russian rebels disavow ceasefire. Fighting intensified through Sunday in the town of Debaltseve despite the Minsk-2 ceasefire signed last week. Ukrainian army forces are encircled in the and town ongoing fighting will prompt efforts to relieve those troops, which could in turn see the ceasefire unravel completely.
TURKEY: Ongoing clashes between Kurds and Turkish police. Thousands of Kurds protested across southern Turkey on Sunday, prompting violent clashes with police. They were calling for the release of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, on the sixteenth anniversary of his capture. The unrest is expected to lead to reprisals and may see an escalation of security measures against the Kurds.
EGYPT / LIBYA: How will Cairo react to beheading of 21 Christian Egyptians by Islamic State-linked militants? Thousands of Egyptians are working in Libya and the Egyptian government has already used lethal force against Ansar al-Sharia and its allies around Benghazi, but the beheading of Egyptian citizens may cause Egypt to increase its involvement in Libya’s militia war. President Sisi has called a National Defence Council meeting and announced a 7-day period of national mourning.
MONDAY 16 FEBRUARY
EUROZONE: Greece faces last chance to apply for loan extension. Ahead of a crucial meeting in Brussels, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says he’s confident Athens can secure a deal to ditch tight austerity measures while keeping Greece’s creditors happy and ensuring the country will stay in the Eurozone. Many analysts don't share his optimism.
AZERBAIJAN: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif visits Baku. They will likely discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia and a potential pipeline to ship natural gas from the Caspian through Turkey to Europe.
TUESDAY 17 FEBRUARY
PAKISTAN: Former President Musharaf appears in court on treason charges. The first army chief to face such a prosecution, he’s accused of unlawfully suspending the constitution in 2007 when he declared a state of emergency in the country.
HUNGARY: Hungarians protest Putin visit. Russia’s President has been courting favour among smaller European states and opposition parties to improve Russia’s position in negotiations over Ukraine. His meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Orban sees Hungary breaking an EU decision not to hold bilateral regular summits with the Russian president. Several groups have organised protests.
WEDNESDAY 18 FEBRUARY
USA: White House hosts summit on countering violent extremism. The meeting was organised immediately after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and seeks to examine extremism and its causes. Terror attacks over the weekend in Denmark have underlined the need for a strategy to counter violent ideologies.
INDIA: Israel’s minister of defence visits Indian counterpart. Israel and India’s arms industries have been in close cooperation with planned join missile development programs. Moshe Ya’alon will attend a defence trade exhibition from February 18-21.
Editing by Paul Raymond.