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Highlights Of OEWatch For October 2019

October 20, 2019

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 October issue runs a hefty 81 pages with very robust coverage on three of its five sections; Eurasia, the Indo-Pacific, and MENA. Editorial duties are shared among Tom Wilhelm, Karen Kaya, and Thomas Tolare with broad input by a large pool of contributing writers.

The lengthy Eurasia section is dominated by coverage of Russian military topics. The fate of the T-14 Armata battle tank is weighed on page 3 and the author she slight on the manufacturer’s financial troubles. Full production hasn’t even begun and a small batch is expected to enter service by year’s end. A lengthier discussion of the S-300V4 SAM complex and its role in territorial defense occupies pages 5 and 6. Valuable insights on the Russian military’s coastal defenses are found on pages 8 and 10. On page 12, however, is a decent scoop on a “satellite refueling capability” that involves solar-powered “recharging robots.” A genuine surprise is on page 20 where Alla Hurska’s essay provides a helpful overview of China’s efforts to acquire stakes in Ukrainian companies and their valuable technology.

The Indo-Pacific section is rich with a lot of entries about China’s emerging military capabilities. A long take on the jet-powered “stealth drone” called the LJ1 is on page 25. Then on page 28 is a useful introduction to the PLAN’s first locally made aircraft carrier and what it can do. Another treat is an update on a Sino-Russian joint venture to build a large transport helicopter on page 32. A real shocker is the page 34 news of an mysterious unmanned destroyer armed with cruise missiles that Chinese media claims is “combat ready.” When it comes to the Middle East, North Africa section this month, two trends are apparent: Arab states are now crafting artificial intelligence strategies (pages 42 and 43) and Turkey is a regional power that wants to expand its influences and control over energy sources (pages 49 and 50).

The Africa section is a catalog of internal problems. But there are a few standouts. On page 60 is a worrying assessment of public disorder in South Africa as its once thriving economy declines. Another interesting entry is on page 62 where the African Union’s view of foreign military bases in the continent is explained. Matters relating to the integrity of fragile states such as Mali, Nigeria, Niger, and Somalia are each analyzed in successive entries.

The Latin America section is the final and shortest section this month. Colombia’s troubles loom large and on page 71 is a quick take on the possibility the FARC peace deal may end soon as former guerillas resume fighting Bogota. The next entry discusses Venezuela’s role as a protector for the ELN and FARC terror groups and whether a recent show of force along the border with Colombia was meant to deter a unilateral attack on the guerillas. The sections wraps up with a grocery list of Chinese military aid to Peru, which is quite modest and worth only $7 million. None of the aid has lethal applications.

OEWatch often runs several dozen stories in a single issue. Readers should download their own copies and find content that’s most relevant to their curiosity and interest.

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