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Highlights Of OEWatch For December 2017

December 10, 2017

The final issue of OEWatch for this year almost exudes a celebratory tone. On the cover is a composite image layered with the text Fallouts From The “Caliphate”: Some Foreign Perspectives. This keeps up the magazine’s latest approach to analyzing specific subjects by creating a whole section for them. For December, it’s the catastrophic defeat of ISIS in the Middle East. OEWatch is available as a free download from the APAN Community Network.

Editorial duties are still shared between Tom Wilhelm, Karen Kaya, and Lucas Winter with contributors pitching in with their region specific  analyses. This month’s OEWatch runs 67 pages long with seven sections. The one for Russia, Ukraine is now labeled Russia, Ukraine, Europe.

December’s OEWatch starts with the entries collected under “ISIS Fallout.” The excerpts and insights from pages 3 to 6 are highly recommended for counter-terrorism researchers. These detail ISIS’ activities in Southeast Asia, which includes appointing new leaders among its Malaysian agents, and the possible migration of its fighters to other trouble spots, including Central Africa. On page 8 is a short description of an apparent attempt to lay the groundwork for a caliphate in D.R. Congo.There’s also a detailed update on ISIS’ prospects in Afghanistan from Russia’s perspective.

The Middle East, North Africa section remains preoccupied with Iran’s activities. On page 13 is an update on the militant group Hamas’ renewed alignment with Tehran and its other proxies. Iranian capabilities are explored at length from pages 15 to 17 with glimpses into its latest unmanned and missile technology.

The Africa section takes stock of the continent’s ongoing wars. But there aren’t any updates on Nigeria’s festering insurgency this time, with entries on the jihadi problems of Mali and Somalia taking its place. OEWatch’s scrutiny of Latin America stays within the realm of the familiar–organized crime, Colombia’s drug war, and Venezuela’s decline.

Variety takes command in the Asia-Pacific section where China’s activities predominate. There’s a one page synopsis of the China-India rivalry when it comes to national space programs on page 39. The entry on pages 40 to 41 takes stock of infrastructure projects in the disputed Himalayan frontier between China and India. The Caucasus, Central and South Asia section runs a mere three pages touching on a Chinese economic corridor over Pakistan, Armenia’s recent diplomatic efforts, and upcoming arms deals between Russia and Uzbekistan.

The substantial Russia, Ukraine, Europe section is a treat for Moscow watchers, who can ignore the token entry about Catalonian unrest on page 67, for its detailed outtakes on recent technological breakthroughs. The likelihood of Russian electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons are discussed on page 50. On the following page is a short assessment of the Struna-1 stealth detecting bistatic radar that Russian media claims is capable of tracking the F-35 and F-22.

There’s an even more detailed entry on page 52 of an over the horizon (OTH) radar for countering hypersonic missiles. On page 54 is a curious discussion of a Russian satellite “mothership” that’s able to deploy microsatellites in orbit. The section’s longest entry are three pages about how Russia’s poor railway infrastructure could be improved to hasten military deployments. An appendage to this is a primer on the army’s newest engineering vehicle–a road-laying system for marshes so that tanks won’t get bogged down in the muck.

There’s a small update on page 60 on a new requirement for micro-UAVs designed for taking out other drones. On page 65 is a scoop that confirms the revival of Russia’s wing-in-ground aircraft program but this time its use is for either the Arctic Circe or the Pacific Ocean. 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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