Jack Merlin Watling, 26 February 2015.
ONES TO WATCH
CHAD: Flintlock counter-terrorism exercises ahead of anti-Boko Haram offensive. US Special Forces are training a selected group of 1,300 troops from 28 African Countries at the annual ‘flintlock’ counter-terrorism exercises in preparation for an African Union offensive against Boko Haram. The Chadian army is expected to take a leading role.
UKRAINE: US and UK military advisers to begin assisting Ukrainian Army. While falling short of material supply of lethal aid, the provision of advisers constitutes direct military assistance and is diplomatically sensitive as Ukraine experiences its first day without military casualties since a week old European brokered ceasefire. Both governments stress that this is not a NATO deployment.
LIBYA: President of Tobruk Government appoints Haftar to head of army. Amid plans for the formation of a national army, the internationally recognised House of Representatives (HoR) has moved to appoint Khalifa Haftar to lead the force. This signals a move towards a military solution to Libya’s militia war, coinciding with demands from Egypt, Jordan, Russia and the HoR to end an arms embargo to equip this new force.
THURSDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2015
EU: European Council President meets PMs of Georgia, Moldova and Bulgaria. Donald Tusk, EC President is meeting with PMs of strategically important countries at a time when Russia is trying to fracture European solidarity over the conflict in Ukraine.
GHANA: President John Mahama delivers State of the Nation Speech. The government has faced growing protests over fuel prices and erratic electrical supply.
LUXEMBOURG: European Court of Justice verdict on asylum request of US Army deserter. The ruling in the case of André Shepherd, who deserted US forces in Iraq to seek refuge in Germany, will set a precedent as to the legality of offering refugee status to combatants fleeing punishment for desertion.
PHILIPPINES: Francois Hollande visits to advance climate change agenda. The French President is working to build a consensus ahead of the key climate conference to be held in Paris later this year.
UKRAINE: Gazprom threatens to withhold gas from Ukraine. Russia has continued to supply Ukraine with gas on condition that payments are made before gas is exported. This modus operandi broke down after Gazprom did not deliver some gas that Ukraine had already paid for. The company has since threatened to cease all gas exports.
RUSSIA: Moscow hosts next round of Syria peace talks. Previous peace talks between the Syrian Government and Opposition representatives have made little progress and few expect headway to be made in Moscow, especially as key opposition groups are not participating, on the grounds that Russia is not a neutral arbiter.
UK: Royal Bank of Scotland releases annual financial results. The banks’ results are politically sensitive in the UK as RBS was bailed out by British taxpayers in the 2008 financial crisis.
FRIDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2015
US: Funding for US Department of Homeland Security expires, threatening shutdown. Republicans in Congress are engaging in political brinkmanship over Obama’s use of executive actions on immigration policy and may refuse to approve funding unless Obama retracts his immigration reforms.
US: Second round of US-Cuba negotiations to re-establish diplomatic relations. The US is aiming to reopen the US embassy in Havana and remove Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
ICC/DRC: Judgement due in appeal against DRC National Integrationist Front leader. Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui was acquitted on 18 December 2012 of crimes against humanity including the murder of civilians, rape and using sexual slavery as weapons of war, and deploying child soldiers. The appeal is a key trial in establishing the effectiveness of the ICC which has faced widespread criticism.
SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2015
LESOTHO: Snap legislative elections. The elections attempt to stabilize the government after the military attempted to oust Prime Minister Tom Thabane on 30 August 2014.
INDIA: Budget presented to Parliament. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, elected as an economic reformer, must gain parliamentary proposal for planned government expenditure for the financial year starting 1 April 2015.
EGYPT: Final verdict against four senior Muslim Brotherhood members. The court issued a provisional death sentence in December, ruling that the four played a leading role in clashes on 30 June 2013 that led to the deaths of 11 people.
UK: German anti-Islamic movement hold rally in Newcastle. PEGIDA recently held a rally in Dresden with 25,000 participants. The event in Newcastle will likely see significant participation from far right groups including the English Defence League (EDL). Such rallies raise key questions about tolerance towards minorities and growing xenophobia in Western Europe.
SUNDAY 1 MARCH 2015
IRAN: Deadline to finalise technicalities for nuclear deal to be signed 1 July 2015. Both the US and Iran have been indicating considerable progress after the extension of negotiations when the previous deadline for agreement expired on 24 November 2014.
CHINA: Prince William visits China. The trip comes amid diplomatic tensions over the recent visit of the Dalai Lama to London.
ARGENTINA: President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner delivers State of the Union Speech. Argentina is in a period of prolonged economic turmoil as the economy contracted in the third quarter and defaulted on its debts. However NewsFixed sources claim that in spite of this rallies are being organised in support of the President.
ESTONIA: General Election. Estonia has been governed by an unstable coalition between the Estonian Reform Party and Estonian Social Democrats after Prime Minister Andrus Ansip resigned in early 2014.
Editing by Paul Raymond.