New month, new mire.
SYRIA/ISIS – At least 45 people were killed and 110 wounded yesterday near the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque in Damascus which traditionally attracts Shia pilgrims. A car bomb and 2 suicide bombers caused the slaughter. Islamic State claimed responsibility which came as the UN mediated peace talks in Geneva were getting underway.
NIGERIA/BOKO HARAM – The Islamist terror group attacked the northeastern city of Maiduguri on Saturday killing at least 65 people. They targetted a crowd with suicide bombers, set fire to houses, and opened fire on people. Despite conducting three attacks last week the group is under pressure and has lost territory.
BURUNDI/AFRICAN UNION – The AU has said it will not send a force of peacekeepers into Burundi unless invited in by the government. Hundreds of people have been killed in ethnic violence in the past year but President Nkurunziza refuses to allow in a peacekeeping force.
CHINA/US – The U.S. Navy has carried out another ‘freedom of navigation’ voyage in the South China Sea. This time the guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur sailed within 12 nautical miles of Triton Island. The Chinese Foreign Ministry condemned the move saying the U.S. has entered Chinese territory. Vietnam and Taiwan also claim sovereignty over the island, the USA says it is in international waters.
TURKEY/RUSSIA – Turkey claims that a Russian Su-34 jet violated its airspace on Friday despite numerous warnings. The Russian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to discuss the situation. Tension between the 2 countries remains high following Turkey’s shooting down of a SU-24 last Nov.
IRAN/ELECTION – The grandson of the late Iranian Supreme Leader, Ruhollah Khomeini, Hojjat ol Eslam Hassan Khomeini, has been disqualified as a candidate to stand for the elections to the Assembly of Experts. Hojjat Khomeini, who is notably more liberal than his grandfather, is challenging the ruling
NORTH KOREA to see if it follows up its nuclear test by launching a ballistic missile test. Tokyo has threatened to shoot down the missile if it enters Japanese air space
Mon Feb 1st – Ali Akbar Velayati, senior advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader in Moscow.
Mon Feb 1st – Burma’s new parliament sits for 1st time.
Thurs Feb 4th UK hosts international conference on Syrian refugee crisis.
Thurs Feb 4 – German and French interior ministers in Greece to discuss bail out and refugee crisis.
Fri Feb 5 – Japan and Iran will sign a bilateral investment treaty.
Sun Feb 7 Chinese New Year holiday period begins, huge numbers of people on the move.