Now Reading
Geopolitics newsletter | January 15-21


Geopolitics newsletter | January 15-21

John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, gave a briefing at the White House on Friday. Photo: Evan Vucci/Associated Press


Geopolitics Newsletter Jan. 15 – 21 2024

US strike targets more Houthi sites in Yemen

The United States announced on January 19 that it destroyed Houthi missiles in Yemen that had been meant to attack merchant and military vessels in the Red Sea. The move–the sixth strike in 10 days–follows a pattern of strikes that the Biden Administration says will continue into the foreseeable future to weaken the militia group.

So far, the strikes have been unsuccessful in deterring the Houthis from attacking shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, which go to and from the Suez Canal and are essential for global trade. U.S. officials warned that even after hitting more Houthi drone and missile targets with over 150 precision-guided munitions, the strikes have damaged or demolished only around 20 to 30% of the Houthis’ offensive capability, which is mounted on mobile platforms and can be easily moved or hidden.

The Houthi movement, an Iranian-backed Shia Islamist political and military organization that emerged from Yemen in the 1990s, began attacking merchant vessels in November, claiming they were protesting against Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip against Hamas. In response, the U.S. and U.K. launched a wave of air strikes against dozens of Houthi targets on January 11. However, the Houthi group says it will continue the attacks on commercial tankers passing through the Red Sea, and the leader of the Houthis ​​called it a “great honor” to be “in direct confrontation” with Israel, the U.S., and the U.K. The Houthi forces’ refusal to cease attacks in the region has implications for a wider conflict in the Middle East involving additional proxy groups connected to Iran. Read more.

Indo-Pacific Geopolitics

Chinese Premier Li Qiang visits Ireland – Jan. 17

Ireland’s head of government, Leo Varadkar, hosted the Chinese Premier Li Qiang, marking 45 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations. The two figures discussed prospects for deeper economic coordination, highlighting the potential cooperation with green technology and the digital economy. Read more.

China’s Central Bank announces new interest rate policy – Jan. 20

The Chinese economy continues to experience commercial disputes and global supply chain issues. As such, China is expected to experience changes in its financial institutions in 2024 as a global technological innovation and energy transition leader. Read more.

Laos’ army celebrates 75th anniversary – Jan. 20

The country celebrated the establishment of the Laos People’s Armed Forces. A special committee was appointed to prepare for nationwide celebrations, including displaying local art, holding literary competitions, and setting up visitations from the country’s top leaders to military units in various provinces. China and Vietnam contributed to the celebrations as well, signifying solidarity between the neighboring nations. Read more.

Diplomacy, Defense, and Security

NATO military committee meets in Brussels – Jan. 17

Discussions surrounded the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank following intelligence reports of a potential Russian attack towards the end of 2024. Following the meeting, NATO will launch its biggest military exercises in decades, with about 90,000 personnel expected to take part in months of drills intended to display the alliance’s ability to defend its territory up to its border with Russia. Read more.

Sudanese government rejects mediation summit – Jan. 17

The Sudanese government, led by military leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, rejected an invitation to an East African mediation summit in Uganda. The military-aligned government also criticized the United Nations for its willingness to engage diplomatically with the leaders of rival paramilitary forces. The Sudanese government has been at war with the Rapid Support Forces of Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, al-Burhan’s former ally, since the spring of 2023. Read more.

19th Non-Aligned Movement summit opens in Kampala – Jan. 19

Under the theme of “Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence”, leaders from 93 states discussed reforms of the United Nations, the global debt crisis, and climate change. Delegates from Arab states pushed for conversations on Gaza and expressed that the group should make a political declaration on the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Read more.

Politics and Society

Madagascar colonels arrested for election mutiny appear in court – Jan. 16

The colonels who were charged with inciting a mutiny during Madagascar’s 2023 presidential election against then and current president Andry Rajoelina appeared in an Antananarivo court. Read more.

Germany releases inflation data – Jan. 16

Germany’s central statistics authority released consumer price index (CPI) inflation data for January. New figures show that Germany’s inflation rose to 3.7% in December, indicating a 0.5% increase from the previous month and confirming preliminary data. Read more.

See Also


World Economic Forum opens in Davos – Jan. 15

The World Economic Forum (WEF) unfolded in Davos, Switzerland, centering on the theme of “Rebuilding Trust.” Political and business elites engaged in discussions surrounding AI, diplomacy, and the economy. Last year’s event highlighted divestment from Russian fuel and the EU’s Net Zero Industry Act. Talks included conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine, which impact global energy and economies. The forum emphasized countering AI-driven misinformation, identified as the greatest short-term threat amidst the backdrop of the 2024 elections in the U.S., India, and others. Read more.

EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council meets – Jan. 16

The EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) gathered to assess the economic repercussions of Russia’s ongoing war. Despite 12 measures enacted against Russia, dissent surfaced as Chancellor Olaf Scholz rebuked most EU nations for inadequate military aid to Ukraine. Growing frustration over the extended conflict complicates the defense of aid and sanctions. ECOFIN faces the challenge of maintaining unity amidst diverging perspectives on the evolving situation. Read more.

IMF discusses Ghana aid package – Jan. 17

The board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gathered in Washington, D.C. to discuss its debt-relief package to Ghana. The West African nation is in the middle of one of the worst economic crises in its history, which has been exacerbated by hefty external debt and high living costs. The IMF board approved a $600 million payout for Ghana under a loan program. Read more.

The Week Ahead

The EU Foreign Relations Council meeting will begin in Brussels – Jan. 22

The council will discuss the Russian war in Ukraine and the continued conflict in the Middle East. Read more. [EXTERNAL]

Third South Summit of the G77 to conclude in Uganda – Jan. 23

The three-day summit includes over 130 developing and non-aligned countries that will meet to address economic development issues. Read more. [EXTERNAL]

Finland to hold presidential elections – Jan. 28

Current President Sauli Niinisto is ineligible to run again. If no candidate wins in the first round, a second round will be held on February 11. Read more. [EXTERNAL]


Contributions by: Madeline McQuillan and Alex Rannou

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top