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Highlights Of OEWatch For June 2020

June 30, 2020

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. OEWatch’s June issue runs 83 pages divided among five sections spanning Eurasia, the Indo-Pacific, MENA, Africa, and Latin America. Editorial duties are shared among Tom Wilhelm, Karen Kaya, and designer Thomas Tolare with input by a large pool of contributing writers.

The Eurasia section is always heavy on Russia-specific topics. On page 8 is a surprising little scoop about Russia ordering Chinese shipbuilding equipment for its own naval manufacturing. On pages 10-11 is a helpful essay by Sergey Sukhankin titled Looking Beyond China: Asian Actors In The Russian Arctic. The essay is followed by a long entry about airborne exercises in Russia’s arctic, which is further proof of how determined Moscow is to fortify its control over this geography. Two useful entries about Russian electronic warfare are found on page 16 to 18.

The best parts of the Indo-Pacific section that aren’t about the COVID-19 pandemic are concerned with China. On page 28 is a very good brief on the possibilities of 6G technology that China might roll out by the 2030s. The entry on page 29 is very intriguing as it sifts through media reports on quantum communications between satellites and terrestrial infrastructure. The form and substance of Chinese propaganda through state-owned media is dissected on page 37 since the world is still reeling from the pandemic.

The contents of the Middle East, North Africa section have a strong emphasis on the new regional powers who are trying to shape their neighborhood: Iran and Turkey. But on page 47 is a very nice introduction to the state-funded development of unmanned systems in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This entry is followed by another assessment of Turkish drone technology on page 48. Iran’s own impressive advances with its combat drones is given attention on page 55. On page 53, however, is an entry discussing why Turkey hasn’t activated the S-400’s air defense systems it acquired from Russia last year.

The Africa section has a wealth of entries dealing with small-scale conflicts in the Sahel and elsewhere. Somalia’s persistent Islamist insurgency occupies pages 63 to 65 that shed light on Al Shabaab’s illicit activities. There’s also a short update on the brewing Islamist insurgency in Mozambique on page 71. Several entries are focused on the impact of COVID-19.

The Latin America section offers a balance of regional COVID-19 entries and domestic security problems. Readers should download their own copies and find content that’s most relevant to their curiosity and interest.

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