The World This Week

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The World This Week
The SCO Summit, and the Sweden Elections

  GP Team

TWTW#182, 18 September 2022, Vol. 4, No. 31

Bhoomika Sesharaj and Padmashree Anandhan

SCO Summit 2022: Who said what
On 15 and 16 September in Uzbekistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation met in two years to discuss bilateral cooperation and strengthening mutual confidence. The Summit was attended by India, Russia and China, along with seven other members. The summit welcomed Iran as a permanent member. 

Promising peace and security, the SCO primarily focused on mutual trust in the military sphere when it first came into existence through the Shanghai Five, a political association when the People's Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, were a part of the Agreement on Confidence-Building in the Military Field in the Border Area (Shanghai, 1996) and the Agreement on the Mutual Reduction of Armed Forces in the Border Area (Moscow, 1997). The accession of Uzbekistan in 2001 led to the renaming and establishment of the Shanghai Five as the Shanghai Corporation Organisation (SCO). The Charter was signed at the St. Petersburg Summit in June 2002, stipulating the SCO's primary cooperation and shared objectives. 
Under a similar purview, the heads of the SCO signed a 20-year programme of Multilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation. Citing the programme to establish free trade zones & favourable commerce activities comprehensively. After 14 years, in another historic meeting of the SCO in Kazakhstan, India and Pakistan were granted permanent status as Heads of State Council which led to the holistic completion of the SCO. 

The SCO marked one of the first meetings attended by President Xi Jinping after the outbreak of COVID-19. Urging the SCO members to strengthen practical cooperation among themselves, China said that it is ready to work with other stakeholders to elevate global development through the BRI. Pledging humanitarian assistance and cooperation documents in areas of trade and investment, infrastructure and supply chains, China consistently called out "colour revolutions" and urged the group to stay far from the West's perception of Asia. Xi warned against the "obsession with forming a small circle" and reiterated the importance of capitalising on multilateralism.

On the Ukraine war Russia maintained that it would only get worse if the opposition would not back down. Russia urged closer ties with China on the basis of the realisation of common goals and objectives as SCO member states. Russia also acknowledged the rotating presidency of India for next year's summit of 2023 and pushed free visa travel between India and Russia. It promised pipeline gas supplies to Pakistan, as well. Crediting Iran for its permanency in the SCO, Russia seemed to play the role of a supportive ally to the SCO while also upholding its stance on the Ukraine crisis. 

Prime Minister Modi attended the summit with intentions set to achieve credible support for his energy security and transit rights agenda. He urged the members to set a balanced approach against climate change as well. Modi said to Putin that "it is not an era of war" and pushed Russia to delve into food, fuel and fertiliser security issues. Modi also underlined the transit trade and connectivity between the SCO member states, saying that transit rights between the states would boost communication and dialogue between the members. 
India also held sideline talks with Iran to boost bilateral ties and connectivity, speaking about the Chabahar Port development and foreseeing potential maritime cooperation involving Oman, Iran and India. They also discussed the state of Afghanistan and prevented speculation of any bias. 

Pakistan and Iran
Pakistan and Iran saw a separate progression of dialogue in this year's SCO Summit of 2022. Iran was granted permanent membership to the SCO by signing an MOU on 16 September. Pakistan pledged to remove regional terrorism from its land and focused on fighting climate change by asking for humanitarian aid and help from its member countries. Pakistan was hesitant to comment on its participation in next year's summit to be held in India.

Sweden: 2022 elections reflect political polarization  
What happened?
 On 11 September, under the election authority of Sweden elections to the Riksdag and municipal and regional councils were conducted. 
On 15 September, the vote count revealed the victory of the right-wing coalition which won 176 seats out of 349 in the parliament, while Magdalena Andersson's (Social Democrats) center-left coalition lost by a margin with 173 seats. 
Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson resigned from her position and said: "I know that a lot of Swedes are concerned. I see your concern and I share it." Upon the right-wing's support to the Moderate party leader, Ulf Kristersson will form the government. The Sweden Democrats leader, Jimmie Akesson said: "It is time to start rebuilding security, prosperity, and cohesion. It's time to put Sweden first."

What is the background?
First, Sweden's political landscape. In the last two decades, the political landscape of Sweden has drastically changed with the stepping in of new parties. From five, increasing to eight parties, differences have plunged between the long-established and newly formed. Such shifts have brought focus to "socio-economic," and "socio-cultural" challenges and platforms to deploy them. The original tussle existed between the traditional social democrats and the conservative alliance led by the moderates, but this equation took a shift with the intervention of Sweden Democrats. Once known as a welfare state has now joined the league of economic stress, anti-immigrant notion, and political polarization. Taking the election results from 2002 to 2022 shows the consistency of the social democrats, followed by the moderate party (except 2022) in winning the majority. While Left and Center parties have a fluctuating proportion between six to eight per cent, never had the record of going above 10. In the case of liberals, Christian democrats and the greens, have slowly declined without much variation. 

Second, troubled social democrats. The Social Democrats being the oldest political party since 1889, set its failing trajectory from the 1990 Balkan refugee crisis, and 2010 when the Sweden Democrats gained their place in the legislative. Greens supporting the budget proposed by the Sweden Democrats and quitting the party, brought out the fragmentation in the left wing. Apart from the internal complexities, the slow rise of the Sweden Democrats also threatened the position of the left wing. 

Third, the rise of the right. The Sweden Democrats formed in 1988, later than the Social Democrats planned its rise steady to win the 2022 elections. In the 2018 and 2014 elections, the competition prevailed only between the Social Democrats and the Moderates, while the Sweden Democrats slowly gained ground from 2014 to2022. The major reasons are its key target of anti-immigration, preserving Sweden's identity, and Russia and US's far-right influence. With its anti-immigration as the main focus, the party reflected its stand on the Muslim, Balkan, and Middle-Eastern refugees and pushed its "Zero tolerance" policy to address the racism and extreme xenophobia which grew with the rise in the migrant population. 

What does this mean?
First, the increased influence of Russia and the US's far-right. With Social Democrats still maintaining the majority, Russia's polarization of western countries and influence of the US's far-right groups will continue to increase in forms of media, and disinformation campaigns to strengthen the right-wing image.

Second, scuffled decision-making. The historic existence of a difference between the moderates, liberal and Christian parties will undermine the policy agenda of Sweden Democrats. Especially in terms of dealing with crimes, the education system, deportation of immigrants, welfare benefits, and energy needs. The balancing act will dwell upon the Moderates to negotiate the differences and bring consensus. 
Third, stricter immigrant measures and upholding of Sweden's culture. The non-Nordic immigrant from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and communities such as "Somalitowns, Chinatowns, and Little Italies" are probable to face stricter immigrant and deportation rules in the coming years. The core agenda of the coalition is keeping Sweden first, the migrant count which increased during the 1990s and 2015 is set to reduce radically.

Europe: Four takeaways from Ursula von der Leyen's State of the Union address
Sai Pranav

On 14 September, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her annual State of the Union speech regarding the EU's plan for the year ahead at the parliament in Strasbourg. 
The State of the Union speech is delivered every September by the President of the European Commission. The address dwells on the achievements of the EU in the past year and present plans for the year ahead. In every State of the Union speech, the President of the Commission also discusses ways to solve current issues and mould the future of the EU. The address is seen as a report card of the EU and also its planner for the upcoming year.
Four Takeaways
First, Europe's united stand with Ukraine. Europe has spent nearly EUR 19 billion in financial assistance to Ukraine. Europe has provided not only financial assistance but also military and humanitarian aid. The European states has also opened its doors to Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the war-torn geography of Ukraine. Many European countries welcome women and children who have escaped the war in Ukraine. The EU imposes the most severe sanctions on the aggressor and the invader, Russia. Europe promised that it would assist Ukraine in rebuilding the country. To improve Ukraine's education, the EU aims to provide EUR 100 million to construct schools and also for the growth of education in the country. 

Second, the emphasis on the energy crisis in Europe and how to address it. The EU depended heavily on Russia for its gas and oil needs. Sanctions placed on Russia resulted in the rise of energy prices across the globe. To reduce its reliance on Russia, the EU diversified its energy imports from its allies, such as the US, Norway, and Algeria. The EU member states were urged to reduce overall energy consumption to fight against the high electricity bills. The address also included the proposal to tax energy and fossil fuel companies' excess profit, which will be used to assist low-income households and businesses. While many EU members have accepted the proposal, the Spanish government refused to go through with the windfall taxes.

Third, the priority on renewables for climate change. The EU aims to make hydrogen its primary energy source instead of relying on gas, as hydrogen is cheaper and eco-friendly. Creating a hydrogen bank and expanding the hydrogen market through EUR 3 billion investment is also one of the measures the EU will take to reduce gas dependency. The shift to creating a hydrogen bank and its market in Europe is part of the Green Deal. Europe is now leaning toward renewable energy through the REPowerEU plan. There has been an increase in offshore wind and solar energy production in Europe. Europe witnessed severe effects of climate change in 2022 through wildfires, drought and heatwaves. The EU will also improve efficiency in waste management. The EU will revise its plan on wildlife protection and the EU legislation on animal welfare. 

Fourth, the emphasis on democracy. The EU has vowed to protect its member states and allies from falling into autocratic governance. The bloc has developed a Defence of Democracy package to fight such dangers from Totalitarian states. It also aims to increase assistance to Africa and Latin America through humanitarian and financial aid. The Commission also aims to fight against corruption within its member states by introducing the anti-corruption measure in their legislative framework. The fight against corruption will strengthen democracy within. The member states will remain strong only if they are united.

Also in the news .. 
Regional round-ups

East and Southeast Asia This Week:
China: CEO of Boeing and Raytheon sanctioned over arms sale to Taiwan 
On 16 September, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson maintained that China had announced sanctions on the CEOs of Boeing Defense and Raytheon over their involvement in Washington's latest arms sales to Taiwan. US State Department approved the sale of military equipment to Taiwan worth USD 1.1bn earlier this month, involving 60 anti-ship missiles and 100 air-to-air missiles. China in February sanctioned Raytheon and Lockheed Martin following the announced sale of USD 100m in upgrades to Patriot missiles for Taiwan. The announcement marks the first time Beijing identified and imposed sanctions against individuals from these companies.

China: State Council objects to "Taiwan Policy Act of 2022"
On 15 September, a Chinese spokesperson from the State Council Taiwan Affairs office, Zhu Fenglian expressed China's objection to the passing of the "Taiwan Policy Act of 2022" by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Zhu said: "The move breached the solemn commitment made by the US side, and was a flagrant provocation against China's sovereignty and territorial integrity." He further asked the US lawmakers to adhere to the one-China principle and stop its malicious activities in Taiwan. 

Japan: Japan and the US work together to counter Chinese weapons
On 14 September, Japan's Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada met with the US Defence Minister Lloyd Austin to discuss joint technological research on countering hypersonic weapons. Japan and the US are concerned over the rise of China in the east. Russia and China are observed to be disrupting the rules-based world order. Japan is increasingly worried about its neighbour China's action in the South China sea following the exercise near Taiwan. The US and Japan agreed to bolster the defence system of Japan to deal with its neighbouring threat. The Japanese Defence Ministry asked the government to increase its funds to raise its counteroffensive capabilities during its budget request. 

South Korea: Embezzlement of taxes during former President's administration
On 15 September, South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol discovered embezzlement of KRW 261.6 billion under a power project during the previous President Moon Jae-in's administration. The Office of Government Policy Coordination found 2267 cases of irregularities in a sample investigation of 12 out of 226 local governments over their use of electricity funds in the past five years. Most funds misappropriated were related to solar and other renewable energy projects. President Yoon said, "…I believe areas in violation of the law will be handled through the normal judicial system."

Singapore: Mission PEGASE '22 held in SCS with France
On 15 September, France increased their defence ties with Singapore in the Mission PEGASE -2022 by taking part in joint training with Singapore in the South China Sea. The training is a part of France's engagement with the region as it aims to increase its commitment to security in the Asia Pacific. It comes after a joint exercise from Indonesia and Australia.

Malaysia: Fighter planes contract to be signed with South Korea
On 16 September, South Korea agreed to supply fighter planes to Malaysia, and they signed an export contract for one billion USD for the next week. The 18 LC Combat Aircraft deal for the Malaysian Air force has two contenders: Korea's Aerospace Industries (KAI) and India's LCA Thejas by (HAL). The negotiations are in the final stages of signing.

South Asia This Week
Pakistan: PM Shehbaz Sharif meets with the Iranian, Russian, Uzbek and Tajik leadership along the sidelines of the SCO meeting 
On 15 September, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met with the President of Iran, Syed Ebrahim Raisi, on the sidelines of the Annual Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. During the meeting, both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in economic, trade, connectivity, energy, culture and people-to-people links. In a separate meeting, PM Shehbaz Sharif also met with the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. According to the PM Office, the two sides discussed bilateral ties and exchanged views on including food security, trade and investment, energy, defence and security and international issues. PM Shehbaz Sharif also met with the President of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, during which they focused on strengthening Pak-Uzbek ties in diverse fields for the benefit of the nations. He also met the President of Tajikistan, Emamoli Rahmon, during which both sides agreed to bolster and expand the scope of mutually beneficial fraternal ties.

Afghanistan: US establishes 'Afghan Fund' with USD 3.5 billion of frozen assets
On 14 September, the United States created an "Afghan Fund" through the Departments of the Treasury and of State, cooperating with international partners including the government of Switzerland and Afghan economic experts to assist the Afghan people. A statement from the US Treasury department said: "Pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 14064, President Biden set a policy of enabling $3.5 billion of Afghan central bank reserves to be used for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan while keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban and other malign actors. The Afghan Fund will protect, preserve, and make targeted disbursements of that $3.5 billion to help provide greater stability to the Afghan economy." Meanwhile, the Taliban's Ministry of Economy has asked the US to move the frozen assets of Afghanistan to the Da Afghanistan Bank (Central Bank).

Central Asia, Middle East and Africa This Week
Kazakhstan: President Xi Jinping and Pope Francis visit Nur-Sultan
On 14 September, the President of China, Xi Jinping, arrived for a state visit to Kazakhstan, coinciding with an official visit of Pope Francis and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, met with Pope Francis and delegates from more than 100 countries representing various faiths. The Pope termed the trip a "pilgrimage of dialogue and peace" and condemned the "senseless and tragic war that broke out with the invasion of Ukraine." Later, President Tokayev met with President Xi, during which the latter expressed China's support to Kazakhstan "in the defense of independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity" and "categorically oppose the interference of any forces in the internal affairs of your country."

Iran: JCPOA talks unable to find common grounds 
On 14 September, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borell said that the nuclear talks to revive the JCPOA had reached a state of stalemate. He said, "…with the political situation in the US, and so many directions without being conclusive, now we are going to stay in a kind of stalemate." Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, in his interview with Al-Jazeera on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Uzbekistan, reiterated his country's stance that removing the sanctions is necessary to be able to revive the nuclear deal. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid is on a campaign in Germany to stop the JCPOA from being a reality.

Qatar: Egyptian president visits Doha
On 13 September, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited Doha, and met Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, the first after the gulf crisis ended in 2021 through the Al-Ula Declaration. The visit followed Sheikh's visit to Egypt in June. The two countries plan to work together on several issues, including natural gas, petrochemicals, renewable energy and investments in each other's important economic sectors. The two leaders also discussed the upcoming Arab League Summit held in November in Algeria.

Mozambique: EU to provide military aid
On 9 September, the head of European diplomacy announced military aid to Mozambique, aiming to help the country face "terrorism". During his two-day visit to Mozambique, in the capital Maputo, he met with President Filipe Nyusi and Foreign Minister Veronic Macamo, and held a press conference to "express the commitment and solidarity of the EU with Mozambique in its fight against terrorism." He said that the EU had approved an additional EUR 15 million in military aid to support the fight against jihadist instabilities in the province of Cabo Delgado. Nyusi welcomed the EU's support, and Macamo described the Euro-Mozambican relationship as "excellent". Since 2017, the jihadist attacks have intensified in the country, killing nearly 4,000 people and causing 820,000 people to flee.

DR Congo: Uganda pays USD 65 million as reparations
On 12 September, the Democratic Republic of Congo authorities said that Uganda had handed over USD 65 million in the first instalment of a fine it was ordered to pay as compensation for losses caused by wars in the 1990s when the Ugandan troops invaded Congolese territory. The Ugandan finance ministry spokesperson Apollo Munghinda said: "It's true we have paid USD 65 million as the first instalment." In February, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Uganda to pay USD 325 million as reparations. It covers USD 225 million for damages to persons, USD 40 million for damages to property and USD 60 million for looted resources. In 2005, the ICJ said civilians were killed and tortured and villages destroyed after Ugandan troops invaded DRC. Along with Rwanda, Uganda supported rebels trying to overthrow the late president Laurent Kabila. Two million people were killed, and thousands were displaced during the conflict.

Zimbabwe: UN's WFP planning food relief for 700,000 people
On 13 September, the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) official said it was planning a food relief programme for 700,000 people in Zimbabwe who are affected by a poor harvest and the Ukraine war. WFP told the Reuters agency that it is working with Zimbabwe's government to provide food aid for 3.8 million people. The government said the staple maize harvest would fall by nearly half this year, to 1.56 million tonnes from last year's 2.72 million tonnes, due to failed consecutive rainy seasons. Annually, the country requires 2.2 million tonnes of maize for human and livestock consumption.

Europe and The Americas This Week
Ukraine: Russian-installed officials killed in occupied regions of Ukraine
On 16 September, pro-Moscow officials reported that a bomb explosion had killed the prosecutor general of eastern Ukraine's self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic (LNR) and his deputy. The press service of LNR head Leonid Pasechnik revealed on Telegram that Prosecutor General Sergei Gorenko and his deputy Yekaterina Steglenko had died. This is in the context of Kyiv continuing to press ahead with its counteroffensive in the northeast and south. This marks the death of five Russian-installed officials killed in Russian-occupied or separatist-held areas of Ukraine. Kiyv has not claimed responsibility for these attacks. According to a tally by the volunteer project War Translated, At least 20 assassination attempts have taken place in Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine.

Ukraine: Mass burial site found in de-occupied Izyum
On 16 September, Ukraine's Defence Ministry said that torture chambers and a mass burial site with at least 440 graves had been found in the Izyum region. Izyum is the town that has recently been de-occupied by Ukraine as a part of their counteroffensive. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy compared it to Bucha, where during the initial stages of the invasion, war crimes had been recorded. He said that the bodies in the graves show signs of abuse like broken bones and ropes tied around their necks and blamed Russia for its "cruelty and terrorism."

Russia: Kyiv endangers the Zaporizhzhia facility, again
On 17 Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry revealed that the Ukrainian forces had again shelled the area around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to undermine the facility's safety. The ministry statement read, "In total, 15 artillery shells were fired from the Nikopol area of the Dnepropetrovsk region. The artillery units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were suppressed by retaliatory fire," claiming that the radiation situation at the plant remains normal. Following the IAEA report at the plant in early September, Moscow criticised the resolution as "anti-Russian," Moscow also accused Western nations of "supporting and shielding" Kyiv in "every possible way."

Europe: New Cyber Resilience Act proposed in the annual address
On 15 September, the European Commission shared a new proposal for a Cyber Resilience Act to strengthen and protect consumers and businesses from products with inadequate security features. The cyber resilience act will be the first introduced in the EU legislation. It will ensure all digital products, both hardware and software, have mandatory cybersecurity requirements that should be fulfilled throughout their entire life circle. Making digital products more secure and beneficial to consumers across the EU is also one of the act's objectives. The act also makes the manufacturers and sellers of digital products more responsible, providing security assistance, and patching up any identified vulnerabilities with software updates. Vice President Margaritis Schinas presented the Cyber Resilience Act, and Commissioner Thierry Breton introduced the Cyber Resilience Act in the morning press conference.

Hungary: "Hungary can no longer be considered a full democracy," says European Parliament
On 15 September, Hungary was deemed an "electoral autocracy" by the Members of the European Parliament. It condemned the country for sliding into authoritarianism under the rule of the right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The MEPs said that Hungary has taken up a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy rather than being complete democracy. The European lawmakers demanded the European Commission withhold funds to Hungary until it complies with the rules of the EU, implement the judgements given by the ECHR and ECJ, and to exclude from the EU's funding programmes. The key problems of Hungary pointed out by the members were its constitutional and electoral system, its control over the independence of the judiciary, corruption within the State, lack of freedom to its citizens and restriction of media.

Europe: Experts accuse the EU of not taking measures to maintain the marine protected areas
On 12 September, a group of 200 scientists and conservationists analysed the harmful effects of disruptive fishing in marine protected areas (MPAs). The study reported that bottom trawling, the most harmful and fuel-intensive fishing practice, was done in 59 per cent of EU's MPAs, depleting vulnerable and endangered species. According to the report, the EU's waters were observed to be in a "dismal" state, and only one-third of the total fish population studied are in good condition. They recommended, first, a transition to low-impact fisheries and the protection of 30 per cent of EU's water as MPAs by 2030 as a key mandate of the use biodiversity strategy. Second, of the 30 per cent, 10 per cent should be demarcated as a strictly "no-take zone" to replenish depleted fisheries.

Germany: Israeli anti-ballistic missile system on the cards over the US made THAAD.
On 12 September, the Israeli Prime Minister revealed that Germany is in talks to buy the Arrow 3 missile defence system from Israel as part of Berlin's efforts to strengthen its armed forces after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Yair Lapid described their talks as leading to a "future possible deal" but declined to outline the cost. Scholz said Germany would strengthen its defences by buying more air defence systems in the future and called the Arrow 3 system a "high-performance offer" but declined to go into specifics. Arrow 3 interceptors are designed to fly beyond the earth's atmosphere, where their warheads detach to become "kamikaze" satellites or "kill vehicles" that track and slam into the targets. Such high-altitude shoot-downs are meant to safely destroy incoming nuclear, biological or chemical missiles.

Switzerland: Parliament Approves USD 5.5 Billion Purchase of F-35 Fighters
On 15 September, the Swiss parliament gave final approval on Thursday to buy 36 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighter jets, pressing ahead without waiting for a referendum on the USD 5.5 billion deal. Switzerland chose the F-35 last year as its next-generation fighter jet, angering opponents who said they would ensure a referendum was held to overturn what they called an unnecessary "Ferrari" option. Many countries have stepped up spending on weapons systems, it has said, saying Finland had decided to buy 64 F-35As, Germany wanted to purchase up to 35, and Canada would buy 88.

The US: Lockheed Martin delivers its highest-powered laser to date to the US Department of Defense
On 16 September, as part of the High Energy Laser Scaling Initiative (HELSI), Lockheed Martin handed over a new tactical electric 300kW-class laser, a high-energy directed weapon. The company noted that the 300kW-class, high-energy laser development resulted from major investments in directed energy technology. Currently, US Army uses a 20-kW laser weapon, and Navy uses a 30-kW laser weapon. High-energy lasers engage at the speed of light and provide a solution to constantly evolving threats while reducing the logistics tail associated with conventional kinetic weapon systems.

Venezuela: Argentine judicial chamber authorizes several crew members of Emtrasur Boeing 747 Cargo plane
On 15 September, Venezuela welcomed 12 of 19 crew members of the Venezuelan-Iranian freighter seized at the Ezeiza International Airport. According to flight tracking data, the Emtrasur cargo plane, sold to Venezuela by Iran's Mahan Air, arrived in Buenos Aires in early June. Its arrival caused a diplomatic stir for Argentina. The country was accused of supporting Iran and Venezuela, both under the US sanctions. Argentina grounded the plane and then seized it in August after a request from a US court. The Boeing 747-300's captain Ghasemi would be, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States of America (FBI), linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGCQF) and Hezbollah.

Chile: President postpones accepting credentials from newly appointed Israeli Ambassador over the death of teenager in Palestine
On 16 September, the Chilean Foreign Minister informed newly appointed Israeli Ambassador Gil Artzyeli that Chilean President Gabriel Boric was postponing a meeting to accept his credentials until October. In response, Israel's Foreign Ministry summoned Chilean ambassador Jorge Carvajal for what it called a reprimand at a meeting where, it said, "Israel's response will be made clear." The diplomatic tussle intensified over the killing in the occupied West Bank of a Palestinian teenager. Adviser to the Palestinian foreign minister, in his statement, said: "We welcome the Chilean president's position, which is in line with international law and resolutions, and we appreciate this position aimed at applying pressure on the Israeli government to stop its ongoing daily crimes against our people."

About the Authors

Bhoomika Sesharaj is an independent scholar pursuing NIAS Global Politics Course. Ankit Singh, Harini Madhusudan and Rashmi Ramesh are PhD Scholars in the School of Conflict and Security Studies at the National Institute of Advanced Studies. Avishka Ashok, Abigail Miriam Fernandes, Apoorva Sudhakar, and Padmashree Anandhan are Research Associates at NIAS. Rishma Banerjee, Sai Pranav, Joel Jacob and Anu Maria are Research Assistants.

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