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Highlights Of OEWatch For June 2017

June 12, 2017

This month’s OEWatch marks the publication’s departure from the Foreign Military Studies Office as it migrated to the All Partners Access Network or APAN. The network allows US government employees to share and collect data on strategic issues. In other words, it’s social media for public intelligence.

All previous issues of OEWatch and its vast digital library are now on APAN.

The cover of the June issue is about the Special Essay titled Trends In The Turkish Military Industry authored by Karen Kaya. This month’s OEWatch is 54 pages long and is divided among six sections, with the Special Essay featured at the end. In what appears to be a first, the Asia-Pacific and Russia, Ukraine sections are almost tied with the same page count.

Editorial duties are shared between Tom Wilhelm and Karen Kaya, with design handled by Lucas Winter.

The Middle East, North Africa section launches this issue with a collection of updates on the region’s ongoing wars–Syria, Iraq, Yemen. It’s apparent that Iran now commands the brunt of coverage, with Turkey a close second, as its various activities are scrutinized across six different entries.

The Africa section is a featherweight this month, with just two entries directly addressing active conflicts (Somalia and Nigeria), while more attention is directed at country-specific local politics. Even the disappointing update on South Sudan’s civil war isn’t concerned with battlefield matters. An interesting read is found on page 19 though, as it discusses the continuing threat posed by malaria to the continent.

The Latin America section is remarkable for its intense focus on criminal activity and local politics. This suggests the continent harbors no serious threat to the US.

The opposite is found in the Asia-Pacific section, whose breadth is a welcome treat for longtime OEWatch readers. There’s further proof of the Philippines’ coziness with China on page 27. It’s an awkward relationship further made unseemly by the open US assistance provided to Filipino soldiers in its ongoing war against ISIS-linked militants.

Another useful insight are blossoming military ties between Thailand and China. The partnership has reached a point where the latter is helping establish an unspecified “arms factory” whose activities are speculated upon on page 28. There’s a lengthy analysis of China’s Belt and Road project from page 30 to 31. Emerging PLA capabilities are discussed on pages 32 and 33. Security concerns in the Southern Philippines and its waters wrap up the section.

The Central Asia, Caucasus section offers little excitement and, as usual, is overshadowed by the heftier portions occupying Russia, Ukraine.

The Special Essay on pages 50-54 give a superb overview of the different projects being undertaken by the Turkish armed forces and its partners in the manufacturing sector. Karen Kaya’s writing here deserves a place in any reading list about Middle Eastern and Central Asian security issues and shares a lot of valuable details on various domestic programs. Simply put, no other NATO member is refurbishing its armed forces on the same scale as Turkey.

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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