Jack Merlin Watling - 4 May 2015.
ONES TO WATCH
IRAQ: Islamic State militants counter attack, trapping government forces in Baiji. Despite recent advances by the Iraqi army, supported by Shia militias, Islamic State fighters have recaptured most of Iraq’s largest oil refinery at Baiji, trapping around 150 Iraqi soldiers. The government troops are running low on ammunition, food and water.
COLOMBIA: President to rule on fumigating coca crop after WHO warning. The World Health Organization has stated that one of agrochemical giant Monsanto’s most popular products is ‘probably’ carcinogenic. The president’s decision is to come just days before Colombia had planned to crop dust illegal drug plantations.
NEPAL: US marines arrive for aid mission. International aid is pouring into the country. despite damage to airports and roads. rural communities are beginning receive help.
PAKISTAN: Security Council may censure Pakistan for release of Mumbai attack coordinator. Lashkar-e-Taiba who coordinated the Mumbai attack was released on the 9th of April resulting in strained relations between Pakistan and India. The move is also a significant step backwards for Pakistan’s counter terror strategy.
YEMEN: Saudi special forces rumoured to be operating in Aden. Saudi Arabia has denied the presence of its Saudi led coalition troops in the Southern Yemeni port city, but journalists have noted non-Yemeni troops in the region with sophisticated weaponry. Anti-Houthi forces have claimed that a raid on Aden’s airport was led by their own men who had received advanced training. The assault was supported by close air support from coalition aircraft.
MONDAY 4 MAY 2015
SYRIA: UN tries to restart peace talks. The UN will be meeting with Syrian factions separately in Geneva to develop a framework for peace talks. Recent talks hosted by Russia were boycotted by the Syrian opposition. Direct negotiations between the warring factions are expected to begin in six weeks.
NAGORNO-KARABAKH: Parliamentary election results expected. Elections in the breakaway region claimed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan were held on Sunday. The election has been dismissed by the US, EU, OIC and Azerbaijan.
NATO: Relations between Greece and Turkey improve as Turkey hosts Greek jets. The ‘Tiger Meet’ exercises are one of the most visible NATO exercises with joint air maneuvers involving 11 air forces, displays and interforce competitions. The very visible hosting of Greek jets by Turkey is a significant step in improving security cooperation between the two wary NATO members.
QATAR: French president signs €6.3 billion deal to sell Qatar 24 Rafale fighters. The deal will add considerably to over €15 billion of French arms exports already signed this year, aiding Frances struggling economy. However tensions between Qatar and its fellow GCC states renders the deal controversial.
US: Kurdish President on week long US tour. Masoud Barzani is touring the US to test support for Kurdish independence. Barzani may also be seeking to gain greater support for Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State as many Kurdish groups remain cut off from international arms.
TUESDAY 5 MAY 2015
FRANCE: National Assembly to vote on extended counter-terrorism law. The bill will extend the state’s powers of surveillance through the intelligence services and has been opposed by civil society groups as well as the data hosting companies who see the new compliance requirements as prohibitively expensive. Both of the major parties support the bill and it is expected to pass easily after the prominent Charlie Hebdo massacre.
ISRAEL: Former Prime Minister to be sentenced for corruption scandal. Ehud Olmert was found guilty last year for corrupt practices committed while he was mayor of Jerusalem, but recent evidence has led prosecutors to press further charges, which will add considerably to Olmert’s existing six year sentence.
CHINA: EU Foreign affairs chief co-chairs strategic talks. The talks will be watched closely by the US as American and European policy towards China’s increasingly assertive foreign policy is not closely aligned.
EU: European Commission publishes economic forecasts for 2015. GDP, Inflation, Unemployment, Budget deficits and Public debt projections will be included for all 28 member states, candidates and key trade partners.
WEDNESDAY 6 MAY 2015
UK: Mass strike ballot opened by unions a day before the UK general election. 17,000 union members will be balloted in potentially the biggest UK industrial action in over 30 years. The ballot comes in the wake of the union’s failing to agree terms with India’s Tata Steel conglomerate but is seen as a mechanism for maximising union impact around the election.
INDIA: Verdict expected in the trial of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan. Charged after a hit and run car accident ten years ago in which a homeless person died, Salman Khan could be imprisoned for up to 10 years if a guilty verdict is delivered.
Editing by Jeremy Walker.