w/e 27th January 2023
Whilst the world’s attention has been focussed on Ukraine there are other simmering tensions elsewhere, no more so in the South Atlantic. There are rumours that China has reached agreement with Argentina to establish a PLA naval base in the city of Ushuaia, in the province of Tierra del Fuego, which in effect would give China access to Antarctica.
There has been much rejoicing mixed with a sense of relief that the USA and Germany have agreed to send main battle tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine. Although the numbers are relatively small – about 14 Leopards from the Germans initially with the promise of more to come, plus 31 M1 Abrams from the USA – together with the 14 Challenger 2s already promised by the UK, they will be a welcome addition to Ukraine’s tank fleet. The hope is, of course, that other countries will now feel enabled to join in. Whether the USA will mirror Germany’s decision to send Leopard 2 tanks and allow the transfer of F-16s and ATACMS to Ukraine remains to be seen, but they would undoubtedly help bolster UkrAF capabilities ahead of the expected spring offensive.
Again, with the focus of most western commentators on Ukraine, less attention is being paid to the ongoing tensions between neighbouring Central African countries Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Historical antagonisms between the two states flared up again a year ago in March 2022 and have been simmering since.
In the Congo, the rebel group The March 23 Movement M23 or sometimes the Congolese Revolutionary Army), consisting mainly of ethic Tutsis, has been fighting the Congolese government for some time in the province of North Kivu. Although fighting has now died down, a UN investigation subsequently reported that M23 was probably organised and led by Rwanda.
Lt Col Stuart Crawford’s latest book Tank Commander (Hardback) is available for pre-order now