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Highlights Of OEWatch For May 2017

May 8, 2017

Each month the US Army’s think tank the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) publishes its open source OEWatch magazine as a free download.

The May 2017 issue of OEWatch is the shortest in recent memory and runs just 46 pages. The cover story is New Generation Media & Militias: Russia’s Search & Rescue In Syria, which is the title of the Special Essay on page 44.

The latest OEWatch is divided into six parts with an accompanying Special Essay. Editorial duties are shared between Tom Wilhelm, Karen Kaya, Keith French, and Lucas Winter with a familiar pool of contributing analysts.

May’s OEWatch begins with the Middle East, North Africa section serving up its usual entries on conflict and insecurity across the Arab world. There’s a lengthy discussion of Russia’s influence over Syria, Egypt, and Libya and whether this trio represents Moscow’s new regional footprint. The same subject resurfaces on page 10 about Russia’s growing attractiveness for North African states.

Iran occupies the bulk of the MENA entries. Two are focused on its technological breakthroughs like ballistic missile precision guidance (page 7) and a nanotechnology joint venture with China (page 8).

The Africa section is just as robust with a catalog of ills blighting the continent. The Latin America section is equally predictable as it combs through crime and political issues. There is, however, an entry about Brazil’s armored vehicle production and its upcoming wheeled 6×6 APC on page 25.

The Asia-Pacific section is rich on China-centric material. Pages 30 to 31 have serious treats for Beijing watchers, offering detailed entries about the PLA’s informatization doctrine and a review of India’s own literature about a looming war with China.

The Central Asia, Caucasus section is starved of valuable content, with just two pages whose writing ties the region back to Russia. Of course, OEWatch’s Russia section is filled to the brim but this time its coverage spans “Russia, Ukraine, Europe”–its new heading.

The section launches with a short essay about Russia’s “perspective” on modern conflict. The author’s conclusion on page 35 is quite grim: Russia sees itself as a nemesis of the West in a “world war” scenario. The existence of a counter-terrorism training facility in Chechnya merits some attention on page 36. A brief entry on page 39 sheds a little light on the shady practice of Russian draft dodging. According to the author, it’s now feasible to buy a certificate online proving completion of military service.

The Special Essay in this issue is a short affair written by Lucas Winter. It discusses how the downing of a Russian bomber over Syria in late 2015 and its consequences on the ground was portrayed in local pro-regime media. OEWatch often runs several dozen stories in a single issue. Readers should download copies to find what’s most relevant to their curiosity.



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