IRAN/S-300 – Iran displayed its new Russian S-300 missile defense system during a National Army Day parade in Tehran. This is a serious piece of kit which would come in useful in deterring the possibilities of air strikes against the Islamic Republic unless a foreign airforce was prepared to lose several jets. The S-300 can engage multiple aircraft and ballistic missiles from over 100 miles away.
IRAN/SYRIA – Another 2 Iranian military fatalities in Syria have been announced in the Iranian media.
SOUTH SUDAN/ETHIOPIA – Fighters from South Sudan have crossed into Ethiopia and killed up to 140 civilians according to Reuters. The attackers are not thought to be South Sudanese government forces. The Ethiopian military chased them back across the border reportedly killing
60 of them.
NATO/POLAND – The American and German defence ministries have both said that NATO will not establish new bases in Poland. This follows requests from Poland for an enhanced presence. Despite not planning extra fixed positions the USA is beefing up its military presence in Eastern Europe.
MACEDONIA/ELECTION – Macedonia will hold an early parliamentary election on June 5th. The country remains politically and ethnically divided and is struggling to hold back the refugees and migrants on its border with Greece.
NORTH KOREA/NUKES – N Korea is likely to conduct its 5th nuclear test in the near future according to S Korean government sources. N Korea is due to hold a Worker’s Party Congress in early May and it may coincide with this.
COMING UP – Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin in Moscow (see diary) is just the latest in a series of one to ones they have held. Israel is nervous about Russia’s ‘friendship’ with Iran and Hezbollah, Russia would prefer Israel not to be so friendly with Ukraine. We rarely get details quickly, but they usually agree something in private which becomes apparent later. It’s not a suprise that Bibi said just last night that Israel will never give back the Golan Heights to Syria. He was signalling to Moscow that the area should not be part of any future peace deal for the Syrian war.
April 18 – EU leaders meet to discuss Libya and the growing numbers of migrants trying to reach Europe from there.
April 20 – After a 2 year break following Russia’s annexation of Crimea the NATO-Russia Council is scheduled to meet in Brussels.
April 20 – UK Secretary of State for Business, Sajid Javid in Iran.
April 21 – Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow.
April 21 – U.S. President Barack Obama in Saudi Arabia.
April 23 – EC President Tusk and German Chancellor Merkel in Turkey to follow up on the EU-Turkey refugee deal. So far – so mixed. German media will also focus on the comedian insulting Erdogan story.
April 24 – Serbia – parliamentary elections.