America, Europe, Middle East, News Watch, Side Feature

Views on the News 16/06/2021

• Russia to Sell Satellite to Iran
• NATO Struggles to Redefine Itself
• Eradicating the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)

Russia to Sell Satellite to Iran

Russia is set to deliver an advanced satellite system to Iran that will vastly improve its spying capabilities, according to a US media report. Moscow is preparing to give Iran a Kanopus-V satellite with a high-resolution camera, the Washington Post reported. This would allow Iran to monitor facilities of its adversaries across the Middle East. Officials said the launch of the satellite could happen within months, and is the result of multiple trips to Russia by leaders of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. Iran has long been a market for Russian military technology but has been an unreliable partner on the political front. The UN where Russia has a veto vote it has failed to defend Iran despite presenting itself as a partner of Iran.

NATO Struggles to Redefine Itself

NATO ended its summit in Brussels on June 14 and it issued its communique. NATO has been undergoing an identity crisis for decades ever since the Soviet Union collapsed and as the security organisation struggled to define itself in the new security envioronment. Whilst the Balkans War during the 1990s allowed the US to use NATO in Europe and keep it relevant the Afghan war has not given NATO a new life. The Transatlantic relationship has struggled on the security front and President Trump even tried to pull the plug on NATO. The communique expressed concern over China’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems but getting Europe and the US to see China as a security threat is a bit of a challenge considering China possess no military threat in the western hemisphere. China and Russia via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conduct joint exercises but these all take place in Central and Eastern Asia, not the Euro-Atlantic area.

Eradicating the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)

The Egyptian Court of Cassation upheld on Monday, 15 June, the death sentences for 12 Muslim Brotherhood members and reduced 31 other sentences from death to life in prison. The court ruling is the latest turn in the Rabaa Massacre case where MB supporters carried out a protest a month after the Muhammad Morsi government was overthrown in a coup back in 2013. To cement his rule Abdel Fatteh al-Sisi ordered a crackdown on the MB supporters, and this resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 pro-Morsi protesters in one day. The raids were described by Human Rights Watch as suspected crimes against humanity and “one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history.” The Muslim Brotherhood states the number of deaths from the Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque sit-in alone was about 2,600. Despite the deaths, the Sisi regime has worked to completely destroy the MB with life imprisonments for generations of MB activists and leaders whilst others have faced the death penalty. Their crime was to stage a protest as all other avenues had been closed to them by the regime.