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Highlights Of OEWatch For September 2020

October 1, 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 September issue runs 73 pages divided among five sections spanning Eurasia, the Indo-Pacific, MENA, Africa, and Latin America. Editorial duties are shared among Tom Wilhelm and designer Thomas Tolare with input by a large pool of contributing writers.

The Eurasia section gives a superb overview of upcoming Russian military tech. This is understandable after the annual ARMY 2020 exhibition in late August that serves to promote Russian-made weapons and equipment. Noteworthy is an update on page 5 about the construction of two “universal landing ships,” otherwise known as LHDs, larger than the French-made Mistrals that weren’t delivered in 2015. These Priboy-class amphibious transports are reported to have space for 1,000 marines and 25 helicopters. Then on page 7 is a short analysis of Iskander-M ballistic missiles being used in coastal defense against naval surface ships. Entries that pick apart Turkey’s military entanglements in the Caucasus, where Armenia and Azerbaijan are at war again, and Libya are found on pages 26 and 28.

The Indo-Pacific and MENA sections are short affairs in this issue of OEWatch. On page 36 is a helpful summary of China’s restructuring of its armed forces and the next entry on page 38 about India’s military procurement offers a great contrast between the two rivals. Ties between Beijing and New Delhi have soured in the last few years and reached gridlock after skirmishes in their longstanding border dispute resulted in multiple casualties. The best entry in the MENA section is on page 42 where the intense competition between Egypt and Turkey over Libya’s future is examined.

The Africa section is quite diverse but hardly breaks from familiar topics relating to terrorism. On page 53, however, is a useful explanation of a thorny geopolitical feud involving the Nile states; these are Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The problem is over the Grand Renaissance Dam that has cost Ethiopia billions to construct. The entry tries to determine if Egypt is serious about a military base in Somaliland, a quasi-independent state bordering Ethiopia. Another entry on page 56 discusses the possibility South Africa may get involved in Mozambique’s ongoing ISIS-led insurgency.

The Latin America section doesn’t break away from the usual topics either. But the surprising, if meager, bilateral trade of Iran and Venezuela are conducting is acknowledged on page 71. The activities of the Mexican drug cartel known as CJNG are analyzed on page 66 and 73–this particular group are using bomb-laden quadcopters and lots of paramilitary equipment in a dangerous escalation versus the Mexican state. Readers should download their own copies and find content that’s most relevant to their curiosity and interest.

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