Week in Review - September 5, 2014

Sub-Saharan Africa
Middle East and North Africa
Latin America and the Caribbean
Central Eurasia

Middle East and North Africa

  • The United States delivered bomb detection and disposal equipment to Lebanese security forces in conjunction with other arms deliveries. Lebanese military experts expresed frustration about United States' reluctance to donate heavy weapons systems while focusing instead on counterterrorism training and equipment. Russia confirmed its commitment to support Lebanon’s counterterrorism efforts with military equipment, and Italy promised to support the Lebanese Army as well as continue its support for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Meanwhile, France, in coordination with Robota $3 billion grant from Saudi Arabia, is set to finalize arms and equipment transfers to the Lebanese Army.
  • The United States reassured Egypt of the delivery of 10 Apache helicopters that had been suspended pending democratic reforms. However, amid continued concern over human rights violations and democratic reforms, Egypt denied U.S.officials access to trial of a U.S. citizen and banned an Egyptian satellite company from broadcasting Al Jazeera.
  • According tohe Center for Strategic International Policy’s Gordon Hahn and other sources, the Islamic State’s (IS or ISIS) second-in-command, Omar al-Shishani was trained by the United States in counterterrorism tactics when he was a member of the Georgian military before being dismissed by the army due to an unknown illness.


Latin America

  • The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency and the Coast Guard cooperated on a series of drug busts stemming from Operation Martillo, a fourteen-country U.S.-led anti-narcotics initiative that includes the cooperation of France, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and several Caribbean countries. The interdictions resulted in a seizure of 500 kilos, or about $19 million, worth of cocaine and approximately 2,800 kilos or $93 million worth of drugs.
  • The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has reportedly pledged to help Guyana investigate the recent discovery of the country’s first known “narco” submarine, an increasingly common,yet highly sophisticated method of drug transshipment.
  • A delegation of representatives from the Brazilian military met with Russian counterparts to discuss the potential acquisition of anti-aircraft technology. Brazil’s Defense Department also announced a series of new high-tech projects meant to help the country modernize its armed forces.
  • Meanwhile, it has recently been reported that Nicaragua has also received significant military assistance from Russia including anti-aircraft equipment.


Sub-Saharan Africa

  • The Pentagon announced that it had successfully carried out a series of air strikes in Somalia directed at Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, the leader of al-Shabaab. Meanwhile, the day after the strike the government of Somalia announced a plan to offer amnesty to members of al-Shabaab, in an effort to promote defections within the group.
  • In a sign of the United State's growing concern over terrorism expanding into the Sahel, the Pentagon disclosed plans to open its second drone base in Niger to help track Islamist fighters in the region. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Linda Thomas-Greenfield also announced a joint Nigeria-U.S. plan to implement a major border security program to address the growing threat of Boko Haram to the region.
  • Building upon Operation Barkhane, France will commence a military scale-up in Chad in an effort to confront the threat of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Mali, Niger and southern Algeria. Meanwhile, Kenya hosted the African Union Peace and Security Council Summit on Terrorism where African leaders agreed to the creation of a special fund to combat threats in Kenya and Nigeria.


Central Eurasia

  • At the NATO Summit in Wales, United Kingdom, NATO members approved new steps toward Georgian membership. However, the small Caucasian nation will not receive a Membership Action Plan, or a formal path to NATO membership at this year’s summit. The package has yet to be finalized, but NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen proposed the establishment of a new training center in Georgia and “occasional” joint exercises to be held in the small Caucasian country. Given the Allies’ hesitancy to provoke Russia, it is improbable that members will approve more forceful options for the defense cooperation package, such as weapons transfers or security guarantees.
  • United States Marine Corps Commandant James F. Amos traveled to Georgia for a two-day visit where he met with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and officials from the Georgian Ministry of Defense. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel plans to visit Tblisi as a follow up to the NATO Summit. It is believed that both visits are meant to reassure Georgia of continued NATO support in the face of the deteriorating security situation in the region.
  • The U.S. Army announced that U.S., Georgian and Azerbaijani troops will participate in Rapid Trident 2014, a set of NATO military exercises held annually in western Ukraine. According to the U.S. Army, Rapid Trident 2014 will consist of a multinational battalion-level field training exercise, which will be led by the Ukrainian military and is designed to support interoperability amongst military partners.