IRAQ/ISIS – The Iraqi Shia militia – the Badr Organization says its fighters will enter the ISIS held city of Fallujah once civilians have left. This will bring them into close contact with Sunni militia and government forces battling to retake the city. Relations between the groups are not good.
SYRIA/ISIS – Government troops are now inside Raqqa province slowing approaching the ISIS held town of Raqqa from the west. The U.S backed Syrian Democratic Forces are to the north of the town. Yesterday almost 40 airstrikes by Russian and Syrian jets hit rebel-held areas in and around Aleppo city.
USA/ISIS – The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman has now passed through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean and has already been used to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. This the first time a U.S. carrier has been used to launch airstrikes from the Med since 2003.
SWITZERLAND/ISLAM – Women have led the call to prayer, led the prayers, and given the sermon at mosque in Bern where the congregation was mixed. Halima Gosai Hussain led the prayers. She has a theology degree and an MA in Middle Eastern Studies and is a founding member of the Inclusive Mosque Initiative. Mainstream Islam does not accept that a woman can lead prayers. Following the service many people took to social media to abuse those who had taken part.
NIGER/BOKO HARAM – 30 Niger troops and 2 Nigerian soldiers have been killed in the Niger town of Bosso after it was attacked by hundreds of Boko Haram fighters.
TURKEY/GERMANY – President Erdogan has said that despite the German Parliament recognizing the events of 1915 as ‘The Armenian Genocide’ relations between the two countries would endure.
POLAND/PARAMILITARIES – Poland is forming a ‘Territorial Defense Force’ of 35,000 paramilitary volunteers. It will be trained to combat the type of hybrid warfare activities such as those undertaken by Russia in Ukraine. Poland, the Baltic States, and the USA all want NATO members to bolster defences in Eastern Europe but most states are dragging their feet
At some point this month a court in The Hague will rule on whether the artificial islands built by China in the South China Sea are Chinese territory. The ruling, and who then respects the decision, will be crucial for relations throughout the region. Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has cancelled four official trips in the past two weeks. Perhaps this week we will find out why.
June 6 – Sudan and South Sudan resume border talks.
June 6 – Brazil Senate commission debates whether to speed up impeachment proceedings against President Rousseff.
June 7 – Israeli PM Netanyahu in Moscow to celebrate 25 years of tie between Israel and Russia. Agenda will include Syria.
June 7/8 – Indian PM Modi meets President Obama in Washington DC and will address joint session of Congress. USA is now the biggest supplier of arms to India.
June 10 – Protests against labour laws in France planned.
June 10 – EURO 2016 football tournament begins in France. Whole country on heightened alert for terror attacks.