Interfor’s Weekly Security & Covid Digest – September 20, 2022
Global Security Matters
- Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that Israel will face problems if it begins to extract gas from the Karish gas field amid growing border tensions between Israel and Lebanon. The Karish gas field is located in Israeli territory but disputed by Lebanon. Nasrallah warned that Israel faces escalation on its northern border if Lebanon is dissatisfied with the ongoing US-brokered maritime border dispute deal.
- Egypt will assume leadership of Combined Task Force 153, a multinational task force created for patrolling the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Task Force 153 was created by the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in April to combat smuggling and other illegal activities in the surrounding waters. The Gulf of Aden has been a key route for Iran to smuggle weapons to Yemen.
- Turkey has condemned the United States and threatened Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean after the arms embargo on Cyprus was lifted. Turkey claims the decision will lead to an arms race on the island and harm the peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. Ankara has recently been at odds with Greece, but with a new focus on Cyprus, which has worked closely with Israel and Greece in recent years. Cyprus, Israel, Greece, and Egypt share security interests in the region and are focused on maintaining stability amid the threat of escalation by Turkey.
- Iran has taken steps to become a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a central Asian security body led by Russia and China. Iran aims to boost its ties with Russian in economic, aerospace, and political fields. The group expanded to include India and Pakistan four years ago for a larger influence in the region to counterweight Western influence.
- The European Commission announced its proposal for a Cyber Resilience Act aimed at improving the security of internet-connected devices. Under the act, manufacturers would be responsible for the security of their network-connected products and meet requirements for vulnerability handling processes and provide security support and software updates to address vulnerabilities. The Commission highlights that ransomware attacks hit an organization every 11 seconds around the world, raising the cost of cybercrime to €5.5 trillion in 2021.
Total Deaths: 6,507,328 (1,050,282 in United States)
US Hospitalization Rate: 8% decline in the past week
- US President Joe Biden said he believes the Covid-19 pandemic is “over,” but acknowledged the US still has a “problem” with the virus that has killed more than 1 million Americans.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) Guideline Development Group recommended that patients with Covid-19 not receive the antibody drugs sotrovimab and casirivimab-imdevimab.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US President’s top medical adviser, warns that a broad refusal of vaccines against Covid-19 may undermine efforts to immunize children and contain future illness outbreaks.
- Disease experts: Covid-19 will remain a leading cause of death in the US indefinitely.
- A bus transporting residents to a Covid-19 quarantine facility in China crashed, killing 27 on board. The accident sparked anger at Beijing’s “zero-Covid” policy.
Global cases: 62,406 US cases: 23,893
- A top Chinese health official has warned people against touching foreigners, a day after China confirmed its first case of monkeypox.
- Health and school leaders notified families about a case of monkeypox diagnosed in an “adult member” of the Boston Public School district community.