YEMEN/SAUDI – Saudi-backed forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi have taken control of the western and southern approaches to the 3rd largest city –Taiz. They are also now maneuvering ahead of an assulat on the capital, Sanaa which is held by the Houthis
CHINA/SOUTH CHINA SEA – China’s artificial island building will allow it to project ‘substantial offensive military power’ within months according to the U.S. national intelligence director James Clapper. Mr Clapper claimed the construction of the islands will enable China to take far more than just defensive military action from them.
RUSSIA/IRAN – Russian media says Moscow will ship the first delivery of the S-300 missile defense system to Iran within 6 months.
EGYPT/ISIS – The Islamic State is pushing the Egyptian army out of areas in the north of Sinai according to the Stratfor website. Its source says the army now avoids deploying tanks and armed vehicles to the area because of rocket propelled grenade attacks.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE – Attacks by Palestinians against Israelis increased during the recent visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel. Mr Biden criticized the Palestinian leadership for failing to condemn the attacks, and for inciting violence. After one attack in which an American tourist was murdered in Jaffa, 9 other people wounded, and the attacker shot dead, the official Palestinian Authority TV news described it as a ‘stabbing operation ‘and said ”In Jaffa, a young man was martyred by the bullets of the occupation police. This happened in the Jaffa Port area. The occupation police said that he had carried out a stabbing attack in the area”
ANGOLA/PRESIDENT – President Jose Eduardo dos Santos says he’ll stand down in 2018. This is remarkable news from a man who has been President for 37 years. We have only 2 years to wait to see if happens.
THE WEEK AHEAD –
WATCH – If the Syrian peace talks do begin again watch to see if the ‘federalism’ begins to be bandied about, and if so, the stance of the opposition groups. Any details emerging about the death of Mihail Lesin in Washington D.C. will be worth noting . The former advisor to Putin did not die of a heart attack as at first said, but of ‘blunt force injuries to the head, neck and upper and lower torso.’ Another Litvinenko but this time in the USA? What will be the scale, if any, of the drop in support for Angela Merkel’s CDU Party, and rise in support for Alternative for Germany in the regional election results?
March 16 – European Commission unveils proposal to reform the Dublin Agreement (III) , which allows asylum seekers to be deported to the EU country in which they first arrived and stipulates they must be first registered there.
March 16 – End of China’s annual National People’s Congress.
March 17-18 – The European Council meets. The proposed deal with Turkey regarding refugees tops the agenda.