Pakistan/India – At least 5 Indian soldiers and 3 militants were killed after an assault by suspected Pakistani militants on an Indian army camp in Jammu and Kashmir. The attackers are suspected to be linked to the Jaish-e-Mohammed group.
Turkey/Kurds – Kurdish fighters near the northern Syrian town of Afrin shot down a Turkish army helicopter on Feb. 10, 2 soldiers on board the helicopter died. The Turkish military also said 5 soldiers were killed and nine wounded in clashes with mainly Kurdish forces elsewhere in the Afrin region.
SAUDI/WOMEN – A top religious cleric has said Saudi women should not have to wear the abaya, the long, loose-fitting robe used to cover their bodies in public. Women should dress modestly, said Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, but this did not mean they have to wear the abaya. The statement does not necessarily mean a change in law, but it does indicate the direction of some strains of thought in the country.
COMING UP –
The big set piece event is the Munich Security Conference. It always throws up news lines. Chancellor Merkel’s keynote speech should make headlines for its content, but also because she is currently seen as faltering and possibly on the road to becoming a lame duck. Britain’s PM May will also make a speech which might give some clarity on her position on Brexit negotiations, but we’ve heard such predictions before.
Mon – President Trump expected to unveil plans for funding a $1.5 trillion infrastructure overhaul.
Mon – National Executive of South Africa’s ANC meets again to discuss future of President Zuma.
Mon – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow. Moves are afoot for Russia to be offered a role in the ‘peace process’ following Trump’s Jerusalem embassy move.
Mon – Kuwait hosts a donor conference to raise money to reconstruct Iraq.
Tues – Julian Assange not in court again, but his lawyers will make another attempt to ensure he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy without being arrested.
Weds – NATO defence minister meet in Brussels – A chance for the US and Turkey to discuss the Turkish invasion of northern Syria which brings them into proximity of US forces.
Thurs – Deadline for Hungary’s Central European University to comply with a law or face closure. The University is sponsored by George Soros and has fallen out with PM Viktor Orban.
Fri – Annual 3-day Munich Security Conference opens. Angela Merkel makes the keynote address.
Fri – Chinese New Year celebration begins, as does the Year of the Dog.
Fri – Which also happens to be the birthday of Kim Jong Il – ‘Day of the Shining Star’.
Sat – 10th anniversary of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia.