Growing support for stronger US presence in S-China Sea?

  • Yes, as China flexes its muscles, neighbours look towards US.
  • Closer military co-operation with Australia, Philippines, Japan over last 2 years.
  • Malaysia also moving closer to US.

Increased supply of US missiles to Syria rebels?

  • Coming via Turkey - and part sponsored by Saudi Arabia.
  • Recipients vetted by CIA operatives first, i.e. to get resupplied, recipients need to show video footage of successes and need to return spent cartridges.
  • Program seems to be successfully holding off Russian-backed Assad advances.

Macrosnap global interest rates?

  • China cutting interest rates.
  • Europe and UK extending monetary easing (QE) so interest rates lower.
  • US Fed is only large central bank poised to raise interest rates.

Macrosnap Myanmar election?

  • Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party's (NLD) historic win against ruling military-backed elite.
  • Despite landslide electoral win, 25% of parliamentary seats are allocated to the military, so they will have huge influence.
  • So she will need to work with them.

Why did ISIS attack Paris?

  • French special forces have been tracking ISIS militants in the Sahara since 2013.
  • France was the first EU country to join the US air strikes on ISIS in Iraq in 2014.
  • France is the only EU country to have joined the US air strikes on ISIS in Syria in 2015.

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).
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