SDF capture Al-Shadadi from Daesh

According to Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-hasaka-idUSKCN0VS29A), on 19 February 2016, Syrian Democratic Forces coalition led by the Syrian Kurds captured the town of Al-Shadadi in eastern Syria from Daesh [ISIS].

The development appears to be part of the present American plan to take over the territory under Daesh control in cooperation with the Kurdish-led SDF.

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Regularly updated interactive map of war in Syria & Iraq. Press View Larger Map for better view:

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The permanent page of this interactive map is here: 

https://stratreview.wordpress.com/syria-iraq-war-map/

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Assad’s forces try to surround Aleppo; launch advance towards Raqqah

On 13 February 2016 Syrian government forces took village Tannurah, north-west of Aleppo city from the rebels, which brings closer complete encirclement of the rebel-controlled part of Aleppo city by the government forces.

In another development, Assad’s forces launched advance from Ithriya in the direction of Ar Raqqah – the capital of Daesh [ISIS]. USA, Saudi Arabia and UAE plan to step up their involvement in the Syrian war and, in cooperation with their Syrian allies, take the Daesh-controlled territory, including Raqqah. The Assad’s forces are now trying to be first on the spot in the Raqqah area.

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Regularly updated interactive map of war in Syria & Iraq. Press View Larger Map for better view:

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The permanent page of this interactive map is here: 

https://stratreview.wordpress.com/syria-iraq-war-map/

Daesh [ISIS] attempts to penetrate borders of Niger, Chad

Western intelligence sources have issued information that groups of Daesh fighters in Lybia are crossing the country’s southern desert in the effort to get into Niger and Chad.

Both of Chad and Niger are already engaged in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency, while weak and vulnerable Niger also faces insurgency of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Appearance of the third major jihadist actor in Sahel would further complicate security situation in the region. Besides, Boko Haram is part of the Daesh network, which implies that Boko Haram insurgents could cooperate and coordinate their actions with the Daesh fighters from Lybia.

United Stated and France lead the fight against jihadist groups in Sahel, in close partnership with local states, including Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.

Sahel

United States and European Union remove sanctions against Iran

After an IAEA report stating Iran is fulfilling the terms of the nuclear deal, USA and EU lifted Sanctions against Iran on 16 January 2016.

The move is expected to impact the oil prices, pushing them further down, since the end of sanctions means Iran can freely rejoin the oil market as a supplier. The oil prices have been steadily falling lately, seriously damaging financial state of oil exporting nations, such as Russia.

Oil prices

Sourcehttp://www.oil-price.net/

United States deploy spy planes to Singapore

On 8 December 2015 USA and Singapore agreed on deployment of American P8 Poseidon maritime surveillance planes to Singapore. Activities of these surveillance planes are related to the American efforts directed at curbing China’s attempted expansion in the South China Sea, and to the wider geopolitical game ongoing in the Indo-Pacific Region.

P8 Poseidon planes are also deployed by USA from Philippines and Malaysia.

P8 Poseidon maritime surveillance plane. Photo source: Reuters

US increase military aid to Philippines

It was announced on 25 November 2015 that US keep increasing military financial aid to Philippines, which already is one of the largest recipients of American military aid in East Asia.

Though an island nation, Philippines has no real fighting navy or air force, which renders it virtually helpless in the face of China’s territorial ambitions. US military aid won;t be able to change this reality quickly, but it obviously pushes into that direction.

Philippines is one of the key American allies in the geopolitical game unfolding between US and China in the Indo-Pacific Region.

USA sends warship to challenge China’s maritime claims

On 27 October American destroyer USS Lassen entered the waters within the 12-mile zone around Subi and Mischief reefs that are controlled by China and have been artificially turned into islands in order to support China’s maritime claims. It will possibly be followed by other passages of this kind in the future.

This American move aims at delegitimizing China’s attempt to gain control over the maritime space in the South China Sea. This sea is a critical waterway of global geopolitical importance, which causes both China’s attempt to establish its control there and American determination to prevent this from happening.

China is loudly protesting this maritime move by the United States, but a Chinese attempt to actually challenge it militarily would be extremely dangerous.

United States send troops to Cameroon for operations against Boko Haram

USA has decided to step up its involvement in the struggle against Boko Haram, as it became known on 14 October 2015 that it is sending 300 troops to Cameroon for reconnaissance operations against the group.

Boko Haram is a jihadist organization which joined Islamic State in March 2015. It is currently fighting against forces of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger in the region where the borders of these four nations meet. France already has been supporting these African nations with air surveillance. Now USA will do this as well.

Syria: Assad forces launch offensive in Hama area

On 7 October 2015 Syrian government forces launched attack against the rebels in Hama area. This offensive is supported by Russian air power and aims at consolidating territory under Assad regime control in western-central Syria.

Meanwhile, Russia has launched missile strikes into Syria from its naval ships in the Caspain Sea. While the Russian officials say that Islamic State has been hit, they also add that Al Nusra was attacked as well, which means that at least some of the missiles targeted western part of the country (where Al Nusra is based), the same day Assad forces launched their attack there.

Besides, Russian military planes have began shadowing American drones over Syria. With effective Russian air strikes against American-aligned and trained rebel groups, this adds up to a public humiliation of United States by Russia. If this trends continues, it can seriously damage American prestige in the Middle East and elsewhere.

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Regularly updated interactive map of war in Syria & Iraq. Press View Larger Map for better view:

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The permanent page of this interactive map is here: 

https://stratreview.wordpress.com/syria-iraq-war-map/

US and partners agree to create Trans-Pacific Partnership

After protracted negotiations, on 5 October 2015 US, Japan, Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Brunei signed agreement on creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a new economic block which includes 40% of the world economy.

While TPP is based on an economic agreement, it has crucial geopolitical implications. Against the background of China’s attempt of strategic expansion, TPP constitutes an important move by US, Japan and their partner nations to consolidate their position in the face of China’s active foreign policy.

TPP member nations:

TPP members