Jack Merlin Watling, 26 March 2015.
ONES TO WATCH
YEMEN: Houthis advance on Aden as Saudi forces gather at border. The Shiite rebels have been trading threats with Riyadh as they gain more territory. Meanwhile, senior Yemeni officials have denied claims that President Hadi has fled the country and his military leaders are under arrest.
ISRAEL: President gives Netanyahu mandate to form government. After talks with the main parties following last week’s legislative elections, Reuven Rivlin has officially asked former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to form the next coalition government. A right-wing coalition is almost inevitable, but negotiations on its exact form could take weeks.
THURSDAY 26 MARCH 2015
YEMEN: Arab League discusses intervention. Arab Foreign Ministers meet in Egypt to discuss Yemeni President Hadi’s plea for the 22-nation body "to provide immediately all means necessary, including military intervention, to protect Yemen and its people."
CHINA: International forum promotes “solidarity and cooperation” among Asian nations. Chinese President Xi Jingping will give a keynote address at the annual Boao Forum, which brings together leaders from across Asia. Talks between Xi and his Sri Lankan counterpart are of particular interest - Sri Lanka has started to warm its ties with China’s rival India since elections earlier this year.
BRUSSELS: President of Kyrgyzstan meets senior EU officials. Kyrgyzstan is a key Russian ally and a leading supporter of the Eurasian Union, in part due to Kyrgyzstan’s economic dependence on Russian trade. Almazbek Atambayev will meet with the Presidents of the European Parliament and European Commission as relations with the EU and Russia deteriorate over Ukraine.
FRIDAY 27 MARCH 2015
SIERRA LEONE: Government imposes new curfew to tackle Ebola. Although the epidemic is slowing, an uptick in new cases through March has forced the government to impose a three day lock down throughout the country, including in the capital of Freetown. Approximately 3,700 people are believed to have died from Ebola in Sierra Leone within the last year.
US: Hillary Clinton faces subpoena deadline. After it emerged that Clinton had used her private email while secretary of state, the House Committee on Benghazi - responsible for investigating the death of US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in September 2012 - has ordered her to hand over private emails. The scandal may be costly for Clinton should she decide to run for President.
US: Greek defence minister on week long tour of US, visiting diaspora. Although the visit is in part to participate in Independence Day celebrations organized by the Greek community, the US may seek to obtain assurances that Greece will back the EU in Ukraine after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed sympathy for Russia’s position.
UK: North Sea oil workers decide whether to strike. Members of Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union, may decide to strike after talks collapsed over decreasing pay and holiday. The strike could deliver a serious blow to Britain’s aging oil industry.
SATURDAY 28 MARCH 2015
NIGERIA: Presidential elections. President Goodluck Jonathan faces down former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari, in a closely-fought election. Concerns have been raised about vote-buying and other forms of electoral fraud. If Jonathan’s supporters are seen as having cheated, the opposition backlash could lead to a serious deterioration in an already dire security situation.
EGYPT: Tense Arab League summit to discuss Libya, Yemen and Islamic State. Arab heads of state are meeting in Cairo to discuss regional stability and security, but with members of the league backing opposing factions in Libya, Syria and Yemen, negotiations are likely to be very heated. Qatar will find itself isolated after withdrawing its ambassador from Egypt earlier this year following Egypt’s push for an international intervention in Libya.
TANZANIA: Indian foreign minister visits to boost economic ties. India has been slow to invest across Africa but is now seeking to expand bilateral ties with Tanzania and South Africa. Both countries are in desperate need of investment as key infrastructure deteriorates. South Africa in particular faces power shortages due to its ageing electricity network.
SUNDAY 29 MARCH 2015
SINGAPORE: State funeral for “Father of Singapore” Lee Kuan Yew. The funeral will take place at the National University of Singapore before a private cremation. The public have been able to pay their respects since Monday, when the body was laid in state before Parliament.
TUNISIA: World leaders invited to march against terrorism. The Bardo museum in Tunis reopened on Wednesday following the death of 22 civilians in a terror attack on March 18. Salma Elloumi Rekik, Minister for Tourism, will lead a commemorative march through central Tunis. World leaders are expected to attend.
UZBEKISTAN: President “re-elected” amid speculation of succession. Dictator Islam Karimov has led Uzbekistan since 1989. His three “opponents” are unknown and have largely used their campaigns to praise Karimov’s record. Nevertheless at the age of 77, questions are being raised about a succession. A power struggle appears to be unfolding with the President’s daughter under house arrest.
Editing by Paul Raymond.