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  • OSINTSUM: Monday 1 April 2024

OSINTSUM: Monday 1 April 2024

The most pressing geopolitical issues in brief

OSINTSUM
Global Situation Update
Monday 1 April 2024

Note from the author: After a short hiatus due to other commitments I have brought the OSINTSUM back, albeit in a heavily abridged format. I’m hoping that by compromising on the length of reporting I can still provide you with a useful overview of geopolitical developments.

I am still looking for a long-term sponsor for the newsletter, which would enable me to return to the longer-form version, so do get in touch if you are interested in reaching thousands of geopolitics-focused readers!

Africa

Egypt: The International Monetary Fund has confirmed a deal with Egypt which will see it will increase its bailout loan from $3bn to $8bn in an attempt to shore up the north African country’s economy following an acute shortage of foreign currency and rising inflation.
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Senegal: Senegal’s top court has confirmed Bassirou Diomaye Faye’s presidential election victory, marking a swift transition of power following weeks of political crisis.
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Somalia: Plans to amend Somalia’s constitution back to universal suffrage from clan-based electoral voting have been rejected by the semi-autonomous north-eastern state of Puntland, which is demanding a full referendum on the matter.
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Southern Africa: Aid agency USAID has warned an estimated 20 million people will require food relief in southern Africa in the first few months of 2024, adding that millions in Zimbabwe, southern Malawi, Mozambique, and Madagascar will be unable to feed themselves well into 2025 due to the failure of this year’s harvest.
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Asia

China: China’s manufacturing sector saw growth in March after five months of decline, indicating recent stimulus measures are beginning to have a positive effect.
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China: Experts from Japan have visited China to meet with counterparts in an attempt to quell Beijing’s concerns over the discharge of treated radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.
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India: Thousands have attended a rally organised by an alliance of India’s opposition parties to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government over accusations it is stifling opponents and undermining democratic institutions ahead of next month’s national elections.
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Taiwan: Taiwan tracked six naval vessels and four military aircraft from China near its territory yesterday, and deployed forces in response.
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The Philippines: Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has directed his government to enhance coordination on maritime security to address “a range of serious challenges” to his country’s territorial integrity and peace - likely in response to recent confrontations with vessels from China in the South China Sea.
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Europe

Austria: A protest in Vienna by the Afghan diaspora groups the Afghan Cultural Association and the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement condemned recent aerial aggression by Pakistan in Afghanistan, as well as a recent increase in extrajudicial killings in Pakistan.
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France: France has deployed 13,500 security personnel to protect 4,350 churches across the country over Easter after its terror alert level was raised to its highest level following the 22 March Islamic State attack on Moscow’s concert hall.
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Germany: Germany has become the biggest country in the European Union to legalise recreational cannabis, with adults over 18 now allowed to carry up to 25 grams of dried cannabis and cultivate up to three plants at home.
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Romania and Bulgaria: Romania and Bulgaria have partially joined Europe’s ID-check free travel zone - known as the Schengen Zone - marking a new stage of the countries’ integration with the European Union.
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Turkey: Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party, claimed an unexpected success in this weekend’s local elections by maintaining control of major cities including capital Ankara and Istanbul.
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UK: A record 5,000 people arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats in the first three months of this year, beating the previous record of 4,548 in 2022.
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UK: Iran’s most senior diplomat in Britain has denied claims that the Iranian government was behind a knife attack on a TV presenter in London amid growing fears over threats to dissidents.
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Israel/Hamas Conflict

Israel: Thousands of protesters in Israel have demonstrated to call for the removal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from his post, accusing him of being an “obstacle” to securing a deal for the return of hostages kidnapped by Hamas on 7 October last year.
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Israel: Israeli Defence Forces troops have pulled out of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, claiming to have “killed terrorists” and “discovered numerous weapons and intelligence documents” in the area during the two weeks they were occupying it.
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Jordan: For the seventh consecutive day, thousands have protested near Israel’s embassy in Amman in solidarity with Gaza.
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Lebanon: The head of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has condemned an Israeli strike on an Observer Group Lebanon patrol in the south of Lebanon on 30 March, injuring one civilian and three soldiers from the UN’s Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
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Middle East

Iran: Iran’s arsenal of missiles and drones is growing according to Jahan News, a website closely linked with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
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Syria: A bomb has exploded in a shopping area in the city of Azaz in northern Syria - which is currently held by pro-Turkish forces - killing at least eight people and wounding at least 20 others.
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Russia/Ukraine

France: France is to deliver old armoured vehicles and new surface-to-air missiles to Ukraine according to French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu.
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Russia: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree setting out his country’s routine spring conscription campaign, which will see up to 150,000 Russians called up for statutory military service.
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Spain: The recent murder in Spain of Russian pilot Maksim Kuzminov, a Russian pilot who delivered a helicopter and secret documents to Ukraine, has raised fears that Russia is employing hit squads to target dissidents.
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US/Canada

US: OpenAI has debuted its voice cloning tool - which can replicate a person’s voice based on a 15-second clip - but has deemed the risk of misuse too high for it to be released to the public.
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US: Some of the biggest artificial intelligence (AI) companies in the US have asked manufacturing partners in Taiwan to increase production of AI-related hardware in Mexico to reduce reliance on China and provide resilience in case Taiwan is invaded.
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