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Highlights Of OEWatch For March 2019

March 25, 2019

After a nearly two month’s delay, the latest issue of the FMSO’s open source magazine OEWatch finally came out on the APAN Community Network. Always a public domain free download, March 2019 runs 65 pages and is divided into five sections with each representing specific geographies. The OEWatch editorial team stays the same with the three familiars (Wilhelm, Stein, and Winter) putting the magazine together. The latest OEWatch begins with the Eurasia coverage, which spans much of the former Soviet Union, and the entries are dense but provide few serious insights. On page 8, however, is a very short update on Russian plans for a low orbit surveillance and tracking system that will have broad military uses.

The Indo-Pacific section is heftier in terms of content and scope. Not surprisingly, China-centric entries dominate and the best among the lot are on pages 17 and 24. These deal with the Chinese military’s eagerness to cultivate AI and rumors of a “sixth-generation” fighter being developed for the air force. Found on page 26 is a thorough overview of the Indian military’s procurement woes when trying to import new fighter jets, a requirement whose uncertain outcome is odd given the recent air battles with Pakistan in late February.

The Middle East, North Africa section is just as rich with entries, albeit divided between the goings on between Iran and Turkey. OEWatch recognizes the two countries are the true regional arbiters and their actions send strong ripples across Asia. On page 39 is a lengthy essay about Ukraine’s acquisition of Bayraktar TB2 drones from Turkey, a sure sign that deep cooperation initiated four years ago is flourishing. On page 43 is a useful update on a regional deal that could deepen the Levant’s geopolitical problems. It turns out Ankara is now at odds with several neighbors, including EU member states, over gigantic offshore gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Africa section is a lot more exciting this month. Russia’s commitment to establishing new alliances in the region are bearing fruit and the Central African Republic’s (CAR) newfound dalliance (see page 48) with the Eurasian power is just one example. The analysis on page 47 doesn’t provide a lot of details except for mentioning how financial guarantees and tapping natural resources are Moscow’s preferred tools in the continent. The possibility of South African drone exports is analyzed on page 53, with the author pointing to Milkor’s recent success with unveiling new models.

This issue wraps up with the Latin America section that deals with organized crime and transnational issues rather than conflict. With Venezuela falling apart in slow motion, it’s a relief the rest of the continent has avoided a destabilizing crisis. Readers should download copies to find what’s most relevant to their curiosity.

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