Around the World with Academy Securities

Around the World with Academy Securities

March 21, 2024

In this month’s edition of Around the World with Academy Securities, our Geopolitical Intelligence Group (GIG) focuses on the following geopolitical tensions that we are monitoring:

  1. War Between Israel and Hamas
  2. Iran-Backed Houthi Forces Continue Attacks in Red Sea
  3. Russia | Ukraine Update
  4. China Increases Tension with Taiwan and the Philippines
  5. Crisis in Haiti

We begin this report with an update on the war in Gaza, where ceasefire talks have continued but an agreement has not yet been reached for a temporary end to the fighting in exchange for the return of some of the hostages. Israel has made it clear that it intends to conduct an operation into Rafah despite outside pressure because a number of key Hamas leaders as well as four of its combat battalions are believed to be there. Meanwhile, the attacks by Houthi rebels continue in the Red Sea even as the U.S./coalition forces conduct air strikes to degrade their capabilities. Next, we revisit the war in Ukraine where following Putin’s election to a 5th term, the Russian forces continue to have the upper hand in the latest fighting. We also report on the situation in the South China Sea where China is not only increasing tensions with Taiwan, but also with the Philippines. Earlier this month, as a Philippine vessel was conducting a resupply operation to the Second Thomas Shoal, a Chinese coast guard ship used its water cannons and collided with the Philippine vessel. Finally, we are following the crisis in Haiti as gang violence has resulted in calls for humanitarian support and outside assistance to help restore order. As the U.S. has reinforced its embassy security and evacuated non-essential personnel, the hope is that a presidential transition council can soon be approved by all parties involved so that elections can be scheduled, and an international security force can be sent in to help the people of Haiti.

Please reach out to your Academy coverage officer with any questions and we would be happy to engage.

Front and Center: War Between Israel and Hamas

As we have addressed in our previous ATWs, SITREPs, and podcasts, our GIG continues to closely monitor the war between Israel and Hamas. While there is still hope of a near-term ceasefire as Israel and Hamas return to the negotiating table, it is clear that an operation into Rafah is a near-certainty. A number of key Hamas leaders are hiding there, and the goal of the entire mission in Gaza is to decimate the military capability of Hamas, including its leadership (the U.S. recently announced that the IDF killed Marwan Issa, the deputy commander of Hamas’s military wing, on March 11th). However, while the IDF is now focused on the south, pockets of resistance keep popping up in the north in places like the previously cleared Al-Shifa Hospital, where the IDF has been forced to return and engage Hamas forces once again. This just demonstrates that even after major combat operations are over in Gaza, an insurgency will remain and will likely require additional targeted operations. Meanwhile as the humanitarian situation worsens in Gaza, the U.S. made the announcement that it will begin shipping supplies to Gaza via boat and construct an aid pier to allow for significantly higher volumes of food and medicine to be delivered. While this operation does come with security risks, the U.S. is very adept at executing humanitarian assistance operations in and around war zones. While the Hezbollah threat remains (evidenced by the over 100 rockets fired into Israel recently), it is unlikely that either side escalates the situation from the sporadic rocket fire and periodic Israeli air strikes in southern Lebanon. The hope is that once the Gaza war begins to wind down and transition into a reconstruction effort, Hezbollah would stop their strikes in support of Hamas. However, what is unclear is whether Hezbollah will agree to pull its forces back to the Litani River as per UN Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 Lebanon War. A great number of unknowns remain, but we should start to get clarity in the coming weeks as to the timing of a ceasefire, a return of hostages, and the operation into Rafah, in addition to which entities will be chosen to administer Gaza during the reconstruction period and beyond.

“There are layered timelines that drive the situation in Gaza. Most importantly, PM Netanyahu remains focused on completing the destruction of Hamas in weeks or (a couple of) months. That means an attack through Rafah to destroy the organized military component of Hamas and its leadership is necessary. If he agrees to a ceasefire, it will disrupt his momentum and likely lead to unsustainable political pressure from around the globe. Ceasing operations for a hostage return would also create an opportunity for international outcry to swell against a resumption of the campaign. Netanyahu has a tiger by the tail, and cannot stop as it will lead to the destruction of his government. In his mind, this is the entire mission, with a return to ‘normalcy’ and humanitarian operations to follow only after the 15,000+ Hamas fighters bent on the destruction of Israel are eliminated as a threat. He is inclined to complete this ‘last’ stage of the anti-Hamas mission even under U.S. pressure. The U.S. Army pier will likely relieve some of the immediate pressure on the humanitarian situation, but that is at least 1-2 months away. The threat to U.S. military personnel should remain low. With the world’s anger projected against Israel, any Hezbollah rocket fire is likely to remain sporadic and a ‘signal’ of their capabilities. The last thing they want to do is create sympathy for Israeli citizens killed by rocket fire. One thing to pay attention to is the internal stress on the Israeli state. With the reservists all away from their ‘day jobs,’ the Israeli economy and lifestyle will be increasingly degraded leading to political pressure inside Israel to end the operation.” – General Michael Groen

Ceasefire talks have begun again without Israel or Hamas having a real desire to end the current situation on the ground. It may sound surprising to many that Hamas is not ready to end the conflict. Hamas leadership is primarily concerned with their own longevity post-conflict and believes that the international pressure on Israel will lead to a permanent ceasefire, their survival, and a solution in their favor. Israel is dead set on destroying Hamas and knows a permanent ceasefire now will leave those that conducted the October 7th attacks in place. A compromise may be achieved with a proposed 42-day pause in the fighting and the release of 40 or more of the 100 hostages still being held. A key piece in the new proposal is the elimination of the Hamas demand for a permanent ceasefire. This was unacceptable to the Israelis and demonstrates that Israel has the leverage even with the immense pressure being put on them by the U.S. Israel has shown its plan to the Biden administration to move non-combatants to safe zones as they prepare to conduct clearing operations in Rafah. The IDF has additionally expanded its operations against Hezbollah deeper into Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley, targeting Hezbollah’s leadership and infrastructure. The IDF air strikes and the reciprocal Hezbollah attacks into Israel add to the risk of expansion.” – General Robert Walsh

“We’ve just been given a glimpse into the thinking of Prime Minister Netanyahu. He intends to continue offensive operations in Rafah against Hamas targets. Like any military operation, there is an ‘off ramp,’ whether political or military. There are significant pressures on Israel unilaterally to stop their large-scale offensive operations, minimally get out of the way so humanitarian aid deliveries can accelerate both over land and over the shore, negotiate the hostages’ release, and continue their kill/capture missions against Hamas leadership. If a ceasefire does not happen, the U.S. will be wedging itself, with the construction of a pier for aid delivery, into the ongoing war. The aid delivery and the pier itself will be a priority target for Hamas to disrupt the flow of aid and blame the IDF. There is hope in the near-term to stop the bleeding…cease fire, hostage exchange, aid deliveries…but the longer-horizon solution remains the same.” – General Spider Marks

“The Rafah operation is no longer on hold. Not sure Netanyahu really ever considered not doing this and the longer they wait the more ready Hamas will be. Remember the IDF needs to close all the tunnels that connect to Egypt, so the entirety of Gaza must be engaged to effectively shut off underground logistics. This will not be a short engagement. Iranian proxy attacks against U.S. forces have decreased considerably except for the Houthis’ continued attacks on shipping. Hezbollah will continue to attack and the IDF will continue to respond with greater intensity, but a full-on invasion of Lebanon is not in anyone’s best interest.” – General Frank Kearney

“Iran has been using cyber-attacks against Israel and will continue to do so. We have seen an increase in intelligence collection particularly since the start of the conflict. Their focus is to undermine the U.S. and Israel by collecting intelligence and causing disruption. They have also conducted operations using targeted malware against Android operating systems and other non-sophisticated open source cyber tools for phishing and web denial-of-service targeting affecting American critical infrastructure, according to Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) and Mandiant Intelligence. Israel has used their cyber capabilities to try to disrupt Iranian day-to-day living with actions like their purported cyber-attack last fall on public gas stations across Iran. ‘Gonjeshke Darande’ (Predatory Sparrow), an Israeli entity, was widely thought to be behind these attacks and others targeting Iranian critical infrastructure. In the six months leading up to the October 7th Hamas attacks, Iran accounted for approximately 80% of all government-backed phishing attacks targeting users based in Israel, and this trend is expected to continue. Companies doing business with Israeli companies should step up their cyber defense and network monitoring to detect, prevent, and respond to these types of attacks.” – Admiral Danelle Barrett

Iran-Backed Houthi Forces Continue Attacks in Red Sea

As we reported in our recent SITREPs, the Houthi threat to commercial shipping as well as U.S./coalition forces in the region continues. Earlier this month, an attack on a Liberian-owned, Barbados-flagged bulk carrier named True Confidence killed three crew members in the Houthi’s first lethal attack since the war in Gaza began in October. While the U.S./coalition forces have been successful in defending themselves to date from the Houthi missile/UAV attacks, it became clear a few weeks ago that having a 100% success rate in protecting commercial vessels would be impossible. This realization was one of the likely factors behind the secret indirect talks in Oman between the U.S. and Iran back in January (that are just being reported now). While the U.S. pressure on Iran following those meetings (and the deadly attack on Tower 22) has resulted in proxy forces in Iraq and Syria largely standing down and not conducting any further attacks on U.S. forces, this strategy has not been as successful with the Houthis. Reports are that Iran has said that while they do not control the Houthis, they would use their influence to encourage them to stop the attacks once a lasting ceasefire in Gaza is reached. However, since November, the Houthis have conducted over 100 attacks in the region, while the U.S. has launched 44 strikes on the Houthis, a pattern that does not seem to be ending any time soon (though, it appears that the Houthis will not target Russian or Chinese vessels). With the recent report that the Houthis have a hypersonic weapon in their arsenal, if this were to be used, it would be a significant escalation and increase the threat to commercial shipping as well as to U.S./coalition forces in the region.

“The U.S. 5th fleet and the rest of the coalition have shown extraordinary capability against Iranian missiles (delivered by the Houthis). The defensive capability of the U.S. DDGs has been one of the most impressive military actions to date. It is only a matter of time, however, until a missile gets through the net. A hypersonic capability might be a difference maker if the Houthis can successfully hide, prepare, and fire it. A ‘ground war’ in Yemen (e.g., boots on the ground to discover and destroy missile inventories) would be extraordinarily dangerous and difficult. The Houthis have been at war for years, and would surge against any physical intervention. It is the Iranians who are driving and supplying this capability, and striking Iranian naval/military targets would be the most likely (and appropriate) response. Iran has largely been given a ‘pass’ for their delivery of the UAVs, missiles, rockets, attack boats, spy ships, and other capabilities in the Red Sea. If a U.S. (or coalition) military ship was struck, we should expect a significant response.” – General Michael Groen

“The Russian press reported (and the Houthis claimed) that Iran has supplied them with hypersonic missiles. If the reports are true, this advanced capability could be a game changer. The only use of hypersonic missiles has been in Ukraine by the Russians, and it was not known previously whether the U.S. supplied Patriot missile defense system would be successful in defending against the attacks. The Patriot missiles have been reported to be successful in Ukraine but there are no Patriot missile systems near the Red Sea and the Navy’s AEGIS missile defense system has yet to prove itself in combat against a hypersonic threat. A change in strategy is needed if the U.S. wants to recast the military situation on land and at sea. The strategy could include destroying Houthi-controlled ports, firing locations, infrastructure (including roads, electricity, and refineries), and attacking any ships seen aiding the Houthi’s military operations. A new strategy could include targeted raids by special operations forces like those conducted previously from bases in Yemen against Al-Qaeda. It may now be necessary to escalate U.S. operations to de-escalate the Houthi attacks by significantly destroying their capabilities and infrastructure.” – General Robert Walsh

“There are simply two courses of action to reduce the attacks by the Houthis against shipping in the Red Sea: militarily, with a broader and sustained set of attacks by the U.S. and coalition partners and a (politically untenable, but far more aggressive) whole of government strategy which includes tougher sanctions against Iran. Militarily, the Houthis must know that the U.S. and its partners will not limit the use of force against their infrastructure, launch sites, system and ammunition inventories, and leadership targets. The Houthis have demonstrated their resilience over the years, so our objective must be a suffocating pressure designed to disrupt (not eliminate) their capabilities. Politically, Iran will continue to provide financial support to the Houthis unless Tehran feels significant pain. Iran exports 3.5m barrels of oil a day through the Strait of Hormuz. Any disruption to the flow of oil would increase the pain to Iran and the price of oil globally. However, that causality defines the limits of economic sanctions. Iran has buyers for their oil like China. Although China and the U.S. can agree that there is a shared national interest in reducing tensions in the Mid-East by minimizing Houthi adventurism, there is little chance that China would seek other sources of oil even if it would coerce Iran to modify the Houthis’ disruptive actions in the Red Sea.” – General Spider Marks

“The Houthis have already achieved their goal of imposing an effective naval blockade in the region. Freight container shipping volumes through the region have fallen around 80% since the start of the year. I would suggest that the Houthis are not deterrable, and their military capability must be destroyed. Accordingly, a change in strategy will be required if the coalition is interested in halting their attacks and restoring freedom of navigation in the area. Courses of action could include a) Directly attacking Houthi leadership and key command and control facilities simultaneously. This would require a substantial increase in planning, preparation, military resources, and force application relative to the ‘tit for tat/whack-a-mole’ approach seen to date. b) Interdict the Iranian ways and means of weapons supply going to the Houthis. c) Do to Iranian ships what Iranian proxies are trying to do to U.S. and coalition ships: drive them out of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. The U.S. has options to change the current situation and needs to take action to do so. Otherwise there most likely will be continued disruption of the Red Sea shipping lanes, and continued aggression by the Houthis.” – General David Deptula

“I doubt that the Houthis have a hypersonic weapon that they have been trained to employ. It would be target number one for the U.S. and the IDF. The Houthis have no desire to cease their attacks and there is no incentive for them to do so. This is great press for their ideology and for recruiting. Iran doesn’t want them to stop, or they would stop shipping weapons and aid to them. It is convenient for Iran to state that they have limited ability to influence the Houthis. Short of an all-out campaign against Houthis by the U.S./coalition, they will not be deterred.” – General Frank Kearney

“Months of Houthi attacks in the Red Sea have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to re-route to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa, and stoked fears that the Israel-Hamas war could spread to destabilize the wider Middle East. The number of ships transiting the Suez Canal has been reduced by over 50% as a result. In addition, the leader of Yemen’s Houthis, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, said that they will continue to target vessels and will escalate to prevent Israel-linked ships from passing through the Indian Ocean towards the Cape of Good Hope. He recently said that, ‘Our main battle is to prevent ships linked to the Israeli enemy from passing through not only the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden, but also the Indian Ocean towards the Cape of Good Hope. This is a major step and we have begun to implement our operations related to it.’ “ – Admiral Mark Heinrich

“Houthi forces continue to receive support from Iran which includes cyber and anti-drone capabilities. Iran has a robust cyber offensive and defensive capability which could be used by Houthi rebels in coordination with more traditional kinetic capabilities such as rocket/missile attacks to achieve the desired effects. Iran has long focused much of their cyber offensive capabilities on attacking Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) of critical infrastructure and may use their intelligence and cyber tools in the same manner to support the Houthis. U.S. officials confirmed last month that they conducted a cyber-attack against an Iranian ship (MV Behshad) and an Iranian frigate that were collecting intelligence in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden and passing it on to Houthi rebels who had been using the targeting information to attack cargo vessels in the Red Sea using missiles and drones. MV Behshad is believed to be under the control of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iran-backed Houthi rebels are looking to Iran to provide more weapons including drones that could affect shipping in the Gulf and worsen the crisis. Iran will do what it takes to achieve their three main objectives of ending the U.S. presence in the region, ensuring the preservation of their regime, and destroying Israel. This will include the use of proxy forces like the Houthis and will likely broaden the conflict and affect any company doing business or transiting the Arabian Gulf, the Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden. These companies need to include these likely disruptions in their everyday operations and put in place mitigating actions to continue critical missions.”Admiral Danelle Barrett

Russia | Ukraine Update

As we have addressed in our previous ATWs, the war in Ukraine grinds on and recently passed its two-year anniversary last month. This past weekend, Putin coasted through re-election to win his 5th term, and Russia maintains the advantage in the war with Ukraine. With the election victory, the concern is now that an unopposed Putin will capitalize on this momentum and mobilize additional Russian personnel for a spring offensive in Ukraine. However, even with a $300mm assistance package from the U.S. and a handful of F-16s (along with trained Ukrainian pilots) hopefully arriving as soon as this summer, Ukraine’s ability to hold the territory it won during the counteroffensive last year is in jeopardy. While Ukraine still has seen success striking Russia’s Black Sea Fleet with undersea drones and by attacking oil refineries, with limited munitions to fire back at the Russians and a dwindling supply of air defense missiles, a Russian spring offensive would likely result in Ukraine losing additional ground.

“It is extremely unlikely that NATO troops (at scale) would be deployed against the Russians in Ukraine. But, aid and assistance will continue to flow from Europe. The Ukrainian military will have a challenging year, requiring the call-up of a new generation of soldiers. Hopefully, this will be enough to prevent the Russians from increasing their lodgment. Putin was again masterful in projecting stability and strength to the Russian people (a population that thrives on his assurances). Putin will continue to inundate Ukrainian cities with bombs, drones, rockets, and missiles. Russia will continue to slip through the porous sanctions regime to sustain their economic and military/industrial complex. It remains shocking that the stable Europe that the American ‘Greatest Generation’ fought and died for is at-risk because of a lack of attention to history.” – General Michael Groen

“The death and destruction in Ukraine are horrific by any standards. Casualties are estimated to be well over 500,000, while the frontlines have changed relatively little since the Russian invasion began. What is changing is the demand for weapons that will tilt the balance on the battlefield. Russia has put its industry on a war footing and is leveraging Iranian and North Korean weapons that will target deeper into Ukraine’s civilian population centers while Ukraine adapts its weapons to strike further into Russia to make the Russian people feel the same wartime pain as the Ukrainians. The U.S. and NATO are being pushed harder to send more potent and longer-range weapons to Ukraine to make it a fair fight and tip the balance.” – General Robert Walsh

“Sadly, there’s little new here in Ukraine’s fight for its sovereignty. The war is a stalemate. Battle lines remain drawn with little change. Tactical victories by both Ukraine and Russia have not turned into strategic advances or have changed the nature of the fight. Currently, Ukraine is on the defense. That’s not a bad thing. But defense alone does not win wars. Armies can win and have won wars with a well-executed defense as part of an overall strategy. Ukraine must be prepared to assume the offensive. This is why NATO’s support for Ukraine is essential. Russia’s current offensive operations will inevitably culminate. All offensive operations reach a point when forces must resupply, rearm, rest, and plan for subsequent operations. When that inevitability occurs, Ukraine, which hopefully will be able to husband its manpower and continue to be the recipient of western aid, must attack. However, time favors Russia. A newly ‘re-elected’ Putin has another six-year horizon but with no end in sight to his ‘special operation,’ his anemic economy is further weakened. If Ukraine can regain some tactical victories, Russia may see the advantage of a settlement. Counterintuitively, that may be the easy part. Zelensky has to agree as well. Good luck with that.” – General Spider Marks

China Increases Tension with Taiwan and the Philippines

As we reported in our previous ATW, China continues to ratchet up the tension in the region with Taiwan. Now, the same is happening with the Philippines. With the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Lai, there have been a number of instances (as recently as this past weekend) where Taiwanese coast guard ships had to warn off Chinese vessels near the Taiwan-controlled Kinman islands (where this week we learned U.S. special operations troops have been training Taiwanese forces). Last month, following a pursuit by a Taiwanese coast guard vessel, two Chinese fisherman died after their boat capsized. As Secretary of State Blinken met with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. this week, key agenda items included the recent incidents this month between Philippine ships and the Chinese coast guard. In this instance, China blocked the Philippine ships trying to deliver supplies to the Second Thomas Shoal, and even collided with one of the vessels. While this event did not invoke the mutual defense treaty the U.S. has with the Philippines, it does raise the risk of an accidental engagement. In the past few months, the Philippines has increased the number of defense cooperation agreements it has with other nations including the UK and Canada. India has also agreed to provide loans to the Philippines to help the country modernize its military. While major Chinese military exercises in the region have been muted so far this year, China may just be biding its time. Meanwhile, Xi congratulated Putin on his recent election win and will likely continue to promote his partnership with Russia. With over $200bn in trade last year, the relationship is strong. China will also try to reinforce its relationships with the global south, and both Russia and China will try to capitalize on recent events (like Niger ending its military agreement with the U.S.) in order to expand its presence in Africa.

“The Chinese economy is going to have a difficult year. The wave of low-cost ‘made by China’ industrial products will create a significant trade imbalance with America and Europe. Imports of American commodities will decrease, creating discontent for both American and European suppliers. Elected leaders from any party will not be able to stand idly by. With a quarter billion migrant workers in the PRC, the opportunity for discontent in the Chinese homeland remains high. PRC’s 4M annual STEM graduates are being sent to the factories alongside migrant workers. The CCP leadership (raised in the Mao era) has little sympathy for Chinese young adults ‘lying flat.’ Perhaps the greatest risk is a ‘wag the dog’ scenario with respect to Taiwan or in the South China Sea. However, this remains unlikely.” – General Michael Groen

“China is facing economic headwinds signaled by lower property values, export problems, staggering youth unemployment, and college graduate unemployment at 25%. The recent National Peoples’ Congress emphasized economic stability over rapid growth. Economic stability keeps the CCP in power and the CCP fears their own people more than external adversaries. Their slowing economy is prioritizing risk mitigation over aggressive growth in both Xi’s domestic and foreign policies. We saw this at the APEC conference in San Francisco where he met with U.S. CEOs and advertised that China was ‘back open for business.’ He had a much more conciliatory tone when dealing with President Biden. Gone was the ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy that set China back and drove away their U.S. lobby that tried to keep the relationship intact. CEOs have stopped talking positively about China because of how China treated them. China is still focused on the competition with the U.S. and its ‘China Dream’ to overtake the U.S. China is reprioritizing its ‘Made in China 2025’ objectives, emphasizing clean energy and AI. They already dominate the lithium and cobalt markets that are needed for electric vehicles, batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines. The European Union has seen the threat of China’s subsidized state-owned enterprises dumping cheap EVs on them. China sees itself behind the U.S. in AI development and understands the value of generative AI and its ability to influence their own (and the West’s) populations.” – General Robert Walsh

“The U.S. is investing in strengthening our bases in Guam and as China sees our efforts, challenging the Philippines is a way to message them that they will pay for a deepening of the rekindled relationship with the U.S. China will continue its efforts to economically degrade Taiwan’s export income and provide economic stress.” – General Frank Kearney

“China will continue to message that they are a responsible power ready to take on the mantle of global leadership. They will continue to focus on swaying smaller countries who hold voting power in international forums and whose unwillingness to criticize China legitimizes their policies on Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Tibet. China will continue to leverage their soft power to cajole and co-opt U.S. allies into strengthening ties with them.” – General KK Chinn

Crisis in Haiti

In late February, following a significant increase in gang violence, Prime Minister Henry flew to Kenya to request the deployment of 1,000 police officers to help establish order in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. However, while he was gone, a powerful gang leader named Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier proclaimed that he would not allow PM Henry to return to the country. As many rival gangs appeared to be working together to spread chaos across the capital, on March 12th, the situation became so dire that PM Henry agreed to resign once a transitional presidential council is created. While this announcement was intended to ease the tensions in the country, that has not happened. The U.S. Embassy in Haiti is still open, but some non-essential personnel have been evacuated and additional Marines from the Fleet-Anti-terrorism Security Team were sent in to reinforce security at the embassy. As the violence continues, Kenya reversed its decision to send the additional police officers until a new government is formed. While the U.S. is not expected to send additional troops into Haiti as part of a broader peacekeeping mission, it did agree to help finance the operation.

“Haiti remains a disaster. It will significantly worsen. The humanitarian situation will continue to degrade, leading to an increasing volume of cries for assistance. The Western hemisphere’s greatest disaster will (literally) land on the shores of the Western hemisphere’s richest nation. The U.S. has a narrow window of opportunity to organize a humanitarian effort that can alleviate poverty in Haiti and keep millions of starving people from making a dangerous boat journey and dropping themselves into the hands of the USCG and INS. Facilities, care workers, medical, and food assistance should be prepared at-scale without delay.” – General Michael Groen

“The history between Haiti and the U.S. is complex, but there was seldom a situation where the U.S. was unwilling to commit forces to defend its interests there. The Biden administration now finds itself diplomatically and militarily challenged by supporting wars in Europe and the Middle East while it prepares for a potential war in the Pacific. The U.S. watched the President of Haiti get locked out of his own country by violent gangs controlling the capital of Port-au-Prince and saw the need to reinforce the U.S. Embassy while evacuating non-essential staff. The Biden administration has been relatively quiet over the deteriorating security situation in Haiti while rejecting any call to put U.S. boots on the ground. The situation is only expected to worsen without expanded U.S. leadership. The U.S. has committed $300 million to fund the planned Kenyan-led multinational peacekeeping mission.” – General Robert Walsh

“At some point in 2024 a multinational security force will be sent to assist in alleviating the humanitarian crisis created by gangs controlling the flow of logistics (fuel, food, medical, etc.) into the country. Haiti is a broken country with dysfunctional institutions and rampant political corruption and no amount of resources provided will solve the problems they are facing. The security force will try to help maintain law and order and provide stability so governance can be reestablished, and elections can be held. This meets the gang leaders’ demands (Barbecue) but the way forward is TBD as he provided himself an out by saying ‘the people of Haiti need to decide versus the international community’ so if he does not like the way things are going, he can play that card. He can say that it is not the will of the people and continue to do nefarious things that undermine the government/law and order. However, he knows that no U.S. citizens can be injured, killed, or be held captive as that will dictate a U.S. military response. Once the additional Marines arrived at the U.S. Embassy, it quieted down around the embassy grounds, so we will have to just keep waiting to see what deals will be made with the gangs so they can be part of the solution.” – General KK Chinn