This Week in War
All things war for the Week of 27 April through 1 May 2015.
In America, large-scale protests and looting broke out in Baltimore, Maryland following the death of another black man in police custody. The unrest has spread to other urban areas across the country. Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini remained very critical of the recent U.S. police-related violence, claiming it shows the corruption of the state. Such things must not happen in Iran.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Washington to deliver a speech to U.S. Congress in which he apologized for Japan’s WWII aggression. He also met with President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Ash Carter to discuss an expanding role for Japan in America’s “Asia pivot” (whenever it actually begins).
Bowing to pressure from tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists, Texas Governor Greg Abbott deployed Texas National Guard troops to “monitor” some very normal training exercises taking place in his state, among others, by U.S. Special Operations Forces. Conspiracy theorists claim that the exercise is an intelligence gathering operation in preparation for the declaration of martial law by the federal government.
Seven Colombian soldiers were arrested for supplying small arms, ammunition, and explosives to organized crime and FARC guerrillas over the last three years. Negotiations between the Colombian government and the rebel group continue after over 50 years of violence.
Europe & Central Asia
Poland is to purchase American Patriot Anti-Missile Defense Systems in response to Russia placing their own offensive missiles in their exclave of Kaliningrad, (in)conveniently located between Poland and Lithuania.
European Union tensions with Russia were further heightened by continuing proceedings against gas giant Gazprom for anti-free market behavior in Western Europe. This in addition to continuing EU sanctions against Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.
Despite a ceasefire, Ukrainian forces continue to receive intermittent artillery fire from ‘rebel’ positions. Russia maintains its troop concentrations along its border with the contested areas. NATO-member governments, including Canada and the United Kingdom, continued to press Russia on its violations of the Ukraine ceasefire agreement, including continuing to station large weapons platforms along the front lines. Commanders of the last brigade of American forces permanently stationed in Europe requested their Stryker combat vehicles be outfitted with larger caliber cannons as U.S. forces continue to train alongside the Ukrainian military.
Middle East & North Africa
Saudi Arabia halted, but then restarted airstrikes on advancing Iran-back Houthi militants in Yemen. This was paired with a face-off between U.S. Navy warships and an Iranian supply flotilla allegedly carrying supplies destined for Houthi-held areas. This confrontation, in addition to recent news Iran will be buying missiles from Russia continues to impact on the debate in America and Europe over any agreement with Tehran on its nuclear program.
ISIS released another video showing the execution of 30 Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians in Libya. It also claimed responsibility for a bombing which killed 34 in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Asia & Pacific
Under a new bilateral agreement with the Philippines, American military forces would have access to 8 bases along the edge of the South China Sea. China continues to build its own bases, including landing strips and fortifications, on the Spratley and Paracel Islands. China continues to claim around 90% of the South China Sea, despite ASEAN refusing to support its claims at a summit and its own refusal to take part in any formal legal proceedings regarding the disputed territories.
After over a year in captivity, “our girls” were finally brought back. The Nigerian military mounted a large operation in the north of the country to finally recover almost 300 women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Delay and lack of urgency in mounting operations against the terror group was instrumental in the recent presidential election that saw incumbent Goodluck Jonathan unseated by Muhammadu Buhari.
Following anti-immigrant clashes around the country, South African troops were deployed across the country in an attempt to quell the violence.
100 Years Ago This Week
News leaks of the secret London Agreement, signalling Italy’s entry into WWI on the Allied side. Austria-Hungary dispatches more troops to secure its border. Thousands of Germans, Austrians, and Hungarians flee Italy as a result.
16,000 troops from Australia and New Zealand attack the Gallipoli Peninsula, but only occupy a little over three kilometers of territory along the beach. Ottoman forces, led by Mustafa Kemal, press a counterattack, but cannot dislodge the ANZAC forces.
[Photo: Flickr CC: manhhai]