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Highlights Of OEWatch For June 2018

June 14, 2018

Each month the US Army’s think tank the Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) publishes its open source OEWatch magazine as a free download on the APAN Community Network. The June 2018 issue is 67 pages long and marks a stylistic break from its predecessors. There are no longer bold letters reigning over the chosen stock image on the cover and even the contents have assumed new forms.

This month’s OEWatch has just five sections: MENA, Africa, Latin America, Indo-Pacific, and finally Eurasia in place of the usual Russia, Ukraine. The trio of Tom Wilhelm, Matthew Stein, and Lucas Winter are still responsible for putting the magazine together with inputs from a pool of contributors.

The entries under Middle East, North Africa are heavily skewed in Iran’s favor–nothing new there–with a token two-page spread about the messy ownership of Socotra Island. On page 13 is an interesting profile of a little-known insurgent group in Iraq called “White Flags” who are believed to be ISIS stragglers. A detailed analysis of the Ephesus 2018 exercises in Turkey is found on page 14.

The Africa section is rich with internal strife. Somalia’s woes lead the way as it crawls out of its failed statehood. There’s a succinct discussion on the rift between Somaliland and the greater Somali state on page 18 followed by a dismal assessment of Somalia’s re-organized military on page 19. Secession looms large once again on page 25, where Cameroon’s English-speaking minority are feeling persecuted.

Not surprisingly, threats to public order is the overwhelming theme in the Latin America section, which maintains its unwavering focus on the affairs of Colombia and Venezuela. But on page 27 is a remarkable update on what could be Brazil’s re-emergence in the global arms industry. A new cruise missile being developed by Avibras is already being marketed to potential buyers in the Middle East.

The June issue of OEWatch now subscribes to the Pentagon’s new doctrine for the “Indo-Pacific.” In fact, this is the name for the diverse section that spans pages 36 to 47. The most valuable entry is on page 43 that’s about a “civil-military fusion” in China’s military-industrial complex. But OEWatch is at its best when picking apart open sources on Russia’s own doings.

Thrown under the Eurasia section is all the Russia-centric entries and extra helpings from the Arctic Circle, the Caucasus, and the -stans. The best of the lot are two entries discussing Russia’s advances in battlefield robotics and UAVs (see page 56 and 57) and then on page 65 is a superb snippet on the rise of KazCosmos–Kazakhstan’s own space agency.

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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