If Beirut bomb in Hezbollah stronghold is indeed ISIS, explain why?

  • Hezbollah is Lebanon-based Shia political movement & Islamist militant group.
  • They back Shia Syria leader Assad who is fighting ISIS.
  • ISIS is an extremist Sunni movement, and hence don't like Hezbollah.

Airspace concern for US in S-China Sea?

  • In attempt to to demarcate sovereignty over waters, China has been building artificial islands for last 18 months.
  • Next concern is establishment of an air identification zone.
  • i.e. China attempting to claim control of the airspace in the region.

Macrosnap Modi in India?

  • Narendra Modi is India's PM and head of ruling BJP - landslide election win 2014.
  • His dominance of the party has been unchallenged since then, and he has moved to centralise power.
  • But BJP defeat in the state of Bihar this last weekend resulted in unprecedented criticism from within his own party - Modi magic is waning - he's accused of being divisive instead of consensual.

Russia angers Sunnis?

  • No cogent Western strategy - Russia steps into vacuum.
  • Putin turns Assad's minority-based Alawite (Shia) regime into a Russian protectorate.
  • Chance that Sunnis, of all persuasions, ISIS and non-ISIS, will now target Russia (1980s Afghanistan-style, anti-Russian mujahideen jihad) not inconceivable.

Macrosnap Saudi oil strategy?

  • Oil price has more than halved in the last year, so as OPEC cartel leader, one would expect Saudi Arabia to cut output (and hence force the price up).
  • But instead they have chosen to maintain supply, despite the financial pain this is causing domestically.
  • Strategy is to prioritise its own long-term market share, and perhaps to inflict pain on fellow OPEC members Iran and Russia (who Saudi Arabia believes have destructive geopolitical ambitions in the Middle East).

3 main international challenges for the US?


What is the “nine-dash” line in the S-China Sea?

  • Self-declared maritime border that asserts China's claim to territorial waters.
  • Contested locally by Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
  • China & Japan locked in separate dispute over the East China Sea.
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