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Monthly Review July 2020

Monthly Review July 2020

Europe

The United States is redeploying troops within Europe

On July 29, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the US will withdraw 11,900 military personnel from Germany, reducing its contingent in this country from about 36,000 to 24,000.

Esper also specified that 4,500 armored troops will go home, while other units will continue to be deployed on a rotational basis in the Black Sea region to “strengthen deterrence of Russia and to ensure the security of the allies on the south-eastern flank. A “fighter squadron and elements of a fighter wing” will be relocated to Italy.

The rotation of US forces in Europe demonstrates that the Black Sea-Mediterranean region is becoming more of a priority for the United States.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump promised to reduce the number of US troops in Germany, complaining that Berlin has overdue payments to NATO.

Eurasia

Escalation at the border of Azerbaijan and Armenia

Clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border have continued since July 12 in the neighboring districts of Tovuz and Tavush, which also border Georgia and are several hundred kilometers from Nagorno-Karabakh. Later, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan stated that exacerbation spread to the line of contact in Karabakh – Agdam, Khojavand, Fizuli, Jabrail, Goranboy and Tartar districts.

According to Baku, as a result of the conflict on the border 12 Azerbaijani militaries, including a general, were killed. The Armenian side claimed the death of five soldiers, as well as injuries to nine soldiers and one civilian.

Turkey stated that it was ready to provide any assistance to Azerbaijan. Escalation of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan may lead to involvement of Turkey and Russia in the conflict, which is beneficial first of all for the US, which hopes to turn two Eurasian powers against each other.

Detention of Russians in Belorussia

On Wednesday, July 29, the detention of 33 Russians in Belarus was reported. The Belarusian authorities called them fighters of a foreign private military company Wagner. The Russians were prosecuted under an article on the preparation of terrorist attacks. They face up to 20 years in prison. Later, Minsk reported that they’re suspected of preparing mass riots in the country.

Russia denies that the detainees belong to the PMCs. According to the Russian Ambassador to Belarus, the detainees were supposed to transit to Istanbul and work in a third country. Presumably, their presence was related to talks about Libya, where the Russians were being sent to protect oil facilities.

Presidential elections are to be held in Belarus on August 9. Alexander Lukashenko, who has been the president of the country since 1994, has not been in the best relations with Russia recently and demonstrates the desire to diversify the foreign policy in favor of the United States.

At the same time, there is a possibility that Lukashenko has detained the Russians in order to get a credit of trust in the West, on the one hand, and to use them as hostages to prevent Russian players from interfering in Belarusian politics.

Middle East

PKK gives Syrian oil away to the US

On July 30, Syrian Kurdish separatist authorities signed an agreement with an American company to modernize oil fields in the north-east of their country. This was announced by US Senator Lindsay Graham.

American legislators specified the  Kurdish formations from the coalition of “Syrian democratic forces” (SDF) close to terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had made a deal with an unnamed American company. The Graham referred to the information received directly from the commander of the SDF paramilitary units, Mazlum Kobani.

Graham said this in a statement to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee at a hearing with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo answered that he supported this policy.

Thus, the Kurdish separatists in Syria have again demonstrated that they are American puppets, which the US uses to plunder the oil wealth of Syria.

Asia

American crusade against China

July 27, the US Consulate General in Chengdu was officially closed in China, the Foreign Ministry said.

After that, representatives of local authorities entered the institution through the main gate and took it under their jurisdiction. This decision followed the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston. The US has accused Chinese diplomats of aiding hackers who allegedly tried to steal data on the coronavirus.

On July 23, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an accusatory speech against China. He called the country a threat to the free world and called for the formation of an anti-Chinese bloc.

The statements and actions of the US show that the confrontation between the US and China in the format of the New Cold War becomes a constant of international politics.

North Korea: No to denuclearization

On July 28, DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un said that the nuclear arsenal guarantees the safety  of his country. On the same day, he presented commemorative pistols to senior army officers.

The North Korean leader’s statement shows the collapse of American attempts to denuclearize North Korea. It is also a blow to the image of Donald Trump, who claimed he could force the DPRK to follow this path.

Having nuclear weapons reduces the likelihood of the state being at war with him. North Korean leadership understands this very well, especially given the experience of Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi’s renunciation of nuclear weapons paved the way for the NATO invasion in 2011.

North America

The riots in Portland

Racially motivated riots continued in the United States in July. A new protest center was the city of Portland, Oregon. Protests are spilling over into clashes with police.

US President Donald Trump has ordered a federal force to be sent to the city. This decision was criticized by local authorities, as well as a number of senators and members of the US House of Representatives.

The actions of federal law enforcement agencies caused only a new outbreak of unrest – those dissatisfied with the actions of the military took to the streets from New York to San Francisco. The riots in Portland are growing into a real rebellion that neither the state nor the federal authorities can cope with.

South America

The Bank of England steals Venezuelan gold

On July 2, the British High Court ruled to deny the Government of Venezuela access to their own gold reserve held by the Bank of England. The court decision explains that Britain recognizes Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, rather than the elected President Nicolas Maduro, as the country’s president.

Previously, the government of Maduro had tried to take away $1 billion worth of gold from the Bank of England, explaining the need to spend this amount to fight the Coronavirus epidemic in Venezuela. After being refused, Maduro’s team asked the UN to mediate and filed a lawsuit in May demanding that the bullions be handed over to the UN Food Programme.

The British actions demonstrate the danger of keeping gold reserves abroad, especially in imperialist Western countries.

Africa

The former Central African Republic president is coming to power

On July 25, in the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui, former President François Bozizé declared himself a candidate in the presidential elections at the Kwa-na-Kwa party congress. They will take place in the Central African Republic in December this year.

Bozizé has been under UN sanctions for several years and is wanted for crimes against humanity. He was an active participant in the civil war with the Seleka Muslim coalition and closely linked to France. After Bozizé lost power in 2013, he fled to Cameroon. In December 2019, Bozizé returned to his homeland.

This step was supposed to promote reconciliation between different groups. However, now Bozizé’s inclusion in the power struggle may contribute to new destabilization in the CAR.

Oceania

USA and Australia: Anti-Chinese Front

On July 28, the United States and Australia said they will expand military cooperation amid growing tensions with China in the Asia-Pacific region, seeking to create a “common front of the two allies”.

Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the two countries will strengthen relations in a variety of defense areas, including hypersonic, electronic and space weapons.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, in turn, welcomed the participation of five Australian ships in a joint exercise with the US aircraft carrier strike team and the Japanese destroyer in the Philippine Sea last week.

In a joint statement, the heads of foreign policy and military affairs of the two countries noted that they discussed the expansion of operations in the city of Darwin in northern Australia, where US Marines have been deployed on a rotational basis since 2012.

All these actions are clearly directed against China, and Australia is one of the most important pillars of American hegemony in the Pacific region. Despite Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne declaring that Kanberra has “no intention of injuring” its relations with Beijing, China viewed recent US-Australian talks as a threat. According to Chinese official newspaper Global Times ”in case a military conflict between China and the US takes place, and Australia, as well as other countries like India and Japan, play a role in it, they will immediately also become targets of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), as the PLA will take resolute countermeasures to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

United World International

Independent analytical center where political scientists and experts in international relations from various countries exchange their opinions and views.

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