The Week that Was: Global News In Review #6

Foreign Policy Brief #75 | By: Ibrahim Sultan | April 28, 2023

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This is our 6th in a series designed to help our readers catch up on international events of the past week.

Conflict in Sudan

For the last two weeks intense fighting has raged in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, between warring factions that has plunged the country into chaos. The violence was triggered over a disagreement on an internationally backed plan to form a new civilian government in Sudan. Since the fall of ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir two years ago, Sudan has been under military rule and was supposed to move toward a civilian run democracy. A rivalry between Sudan’s top two generals General Abdel Fattah Burhan who leads the country’s military and General Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo who leads the Rapid Support Forces has turned into a deadly conflict as of April 15, 2023. Over the weekend foreign governments such as the US, UK, and France began emergency evacuations of diplomats, staff, and foreign nationals out of the country. The fighting has already claimed hundreds of lives, with both factions using heavy weaponry in residential areas, leading to tens of thousands of Sudanese fleeing their homes, while millions more are currently trapped between the warring sides with diminishing supplies of food and water.

Global Military Spending Reaches New High

Global military spending reached an all time high last year, reaching $2.24 trillion. Military spending rose across the globe for the eighth consecutive year, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and tensions in East Asia as the fuel to the increase in military spending. Regionally, Europe saw the largest spike in spending at 13 percent, the highest in at least 30 years. The total expenditure by Central and Western European states reached $345 billion and marked the first time they have surpassed military spending in 1989, the final year of the Cold War. The fact that global military spending reached the level that it has and continues to increase along with an ever growing number of conflicts demonstrates that we are living currently in a very fragile international system. Among military spenders the United States remained the world’s largest military spender at $877 billion in 2022, which alone was 39 percent of total global military spending. Meanwhile, Russian military spending grew by an estimated 9.2 per cent in 2022, to about $86.4 billion, China, which is the world’s 2nd largest spender, allocated $293 billion to its military, and Japan spent $46billion on its growing military budget, a rise of 5.9 percent from the previous year. Tensions in Europe as well as in East Asia have risen over the past few years and will likely continue to grow, and along with those tensions military budgets will continue to reach record highs.

Extreme Heat Wave Across Asia

Temperature records across Asia are being broken as an intense April heat wave sweeps across large portions of the continent. Over the weekend, Thailand topped 113°F for the first time in its history. Although not record-breaking in most cases, the heat has also been prevalent and deadly across South Asia. Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh have all seen temperatures topping 104°F for many days. The extremely hot temperatures across South and Southeast Asia are expected to continue into the months ahead into the region’s monsoon season.

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