Interfor’s Weekly Security & Covid Digest – September 13, 2022
Global Security Matters
- Kim Jong Un declared North Korea a nuclear state in an updated nuclear policy law passed on Thursday. North Korea reserves the right to use “automatic” preemptive nuclear strikes to protect itself if its leadership or command and control systems are threatened. Kim Jong Un emphasized that North Korea’s nuclear status is “irreversible” and denies any future denuclearization talks.
- In the past few days the Ukrainian army has made unexpected gains on the battlefield in a lightening offensive push which has routed the Russian army, recaptured multiple population centers and transit points, and in some areas has reached the border with Russia. The US plans to deliver $2.2 billion in long-term security assistance to Ukraine and 18 other European countries threatened by Russia. In addition, the US is sending $675 million in heavy weaponry, ammunition, and armored vehicles directly to Ukraine. Of the $2.2 billion, $1 billion is intended to go to Ukraine. The rest will be divided between Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia pending congressional approval.
- Turkish police arrested senior Islamic State figure Bashar Hattab Ghazal Al Sumaidai, code-named Abu Zeyd. Al Sumaidai was identified as one of the senior executives of ISIL in a July report from the UN Security Council. Turkish media said there were some indications Al Sumaidai may be Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, an Iraqi who is the new self-proclaimed caliph, or leader, of the entire Islamic State terrorist group.
- Officials from the United States and India met for the 2+2 Intersessional Dialogue and Maritime Security Dialogue last week. The 2+2 Dialogue advanced an ambitious set of initiatives to strengthen the US-India partnership. The officials committed to expanding cooperation in new domains including space, cyber, artificial intelligence, and other defense areas. The Maritime Security Dialogue discussed an expansion of US-India Navy-to-Navy cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
Total Deaths: 6,494,905 (1,046,733 in United States)
US Hospitalization Rate: 6% decline in the past week
- “It´s reasonable to expect that with the arrival of cold weather there will be an increase in transmission (of Covid-19) and deaths,” said World Health Organization (WHO) Director.
- The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued two new funding opportunities for diagnostic test manufacturers to develop the next generation of Covid-19 tests, with a major focus on accessibility.
- For the second consecutive week, no destinations were added to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “high” risk Covid-19 category for travel. A few destinations, including Kenya, were moved down a risk level.
- Japan is planning to fully reopen the country to international tourism, perhaps as early as October, despite a record number of Covid-19 cases over the summer.
Global cases: 57,995 US cases: 21,985
- A Los Angeles County resident’s death has been attributed to monkeypox, the first known death from the virus in the US.