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Highlights Of OEWatch For September 2017

September 9, 2017

This month’s OEWatch focuses on another menacing US adversary, Iran, and its regional ambitions. The cover features a stock image of an Iranian ballistic missile as a backdrop to the title Considering Iran in bold and caps. September runs a convenient 60 pages and is divided between six sections, with Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and Russia, Ukraine almost tied in length. OEWatch is available as a free download from the APAN Community Network.

Editorial duties are shared between Tom Wilhelm, Karen Kaya, and Lucas Winter together with a pool of contributors for each section.

Entries about Iranian politics nearly occupy the entire MENA section totaling nine pages. The first of the lot examines a new Iranian missile, the Sayyad 3, that appears to be an improved copy of an American naval SAM. There’s another entry about Iranian technological development on page 5, which is about a homegrown low orbit rocket for the national space program. Two entries are devoted to Tehran’s concerns about the Kurdish question in Northern Iraq. On page 8 is a lengthy analysis of a defense pact between Tehran and Baghdad.

Page 17 of the MENA sections takes a closer look at the Iranian-backed Houthi’s menacing Scud missiles used to attack Saudi targets.

The Africa section of the September OEWatch is completely unremarkable. The entries on Latin America offer more variety but are still preoccupied with the continent’s familiar domestic troubles.

The Asia-Pacific section is very substantial this issue. It starts with a brief on Thailand’s current regime–an almost coequal partnership between the king and the junta–and asks whether a rift is beginning to emerge. Page 29 is an analysis of Xi Jinping’s remarks during the PLA’s 90th anniversary. Beijing’s activities across the Caribbean are examined on page 31. Two entries, on page 32 and 33, discuss Indonesia’s growing role in regional security.

The entries under Central Asia, Caucasus, and South Asia are rather sparse. There’s a brief on the recent Doklam standoff pitting India against China. Then OEWatch manages to find proof of Uzbekistan seeking improved military ties with Turkey on page 38.

The Russia, Ukraine section is predictably vast, occupying 20 pages almost overflowing with text. Pages 39 to 40 offer a serious glimpse onto the Southern Military District’s overhaul in preparation for conventional war (against NATO). Page 41 tries to unravel the mysterious “Strelets” operating system for Russian command and control computers while further advances in electronic warfare, judged superior to US and NATO capabilities, are on page 52. Page 43 is still another assessment of Russia’s dysfunctional conscription system.

An entry on page 55 contemplates whether a diplomatic crisis is brewing between Moscow and Astana. Moscow’s activities in the Arctic Circle are scrutinized on pages 57 and 58. A genuine scoop is on page 59, revealing details about a long-term effort to build natural gas pipelines and infrastructure from the Arctic Circle to the Asia-Pacific. The outcome being Russia anticipates fresh demand from emerging economies in East Asia and beyond.

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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