Intelligence Fusion Updates


Friday 17th March 2023

Middle East and AsiaCropped


Saudi Arabia and Iran

Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to restore diplomatic relations after seven years of estrangement following the execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric by Saudi Arabia. The restoration of diplomatic ties will be marked by the reopening of each country’s embassy and the appointment of ambassadors. They will also restore a security agreement that was signed in 2001 that is suggested to have hidden security clauses.


The deal was overseen by China after two years of talks facilitated by Oman and Iraq. China is viewed as pulling off a diplomatic coup by blindsiding the United States at a time when the US was attempting to raise the pressure on Iran by brokering an opening of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel. For China, this could be seen as its first major diplomacy victory outside its immediate interests in the Indo-Pacific.


Saudi Arabia hopes for stability, particularly a resolution to the war in Yemen which has crossed its border and targeted its oil facilities. It has also reinforced its relationship with Beijing, the kingdom’s largest trading partner. De-escalation will enable the kingdom to focus on its Vision 2030 project that seeks to transform and diversify its economy. However, some commentators have suggested the deal is a ploy to lure US engagement back to the region.


Iran has been given vital breathing room as it faces popular internal dissatisfaction and significant economic pressure from international sanctions.



Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have carried out attacks on villages south of Beni city, Beni territory, in recent days. Attacks on localities including Mukondi, Mabulengwa and Kirindera caused hundreds to seek refuge in Beni, Butembo and other villages surrounding Mabuku. The attacks follow UPDF and FARDC offensives against the group in the Bashu chiefdom in recent weeks.


During operations against the group, a senior ADF commander, Fezza Mulalo, is reported to have been killed and the FARDC claim to have taken “control” of the Mwalika valley, a stronghold of the group. However, pockets of resistance remain according to FARDC Lieutenant-Colonel Mak Hazukay. The latest attacks were likely carried out by ADF militants dispersed during the operations. However, attacks south of Beni have increased since the ADF attacked Kakwanguru prison in Butembo in August 2022.

South AmericaCropped



On the 14th March, the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INDEC) reported a 6.6% rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in February resulting in an annual inflation rate of 102.5%. This represents the first triple figure rate since 1991.


The largest rises have affected food and non-alcoholic drinks with the INDEC reporting a 9.8% increase in February compared to January. This comes as wildfires have damaged hundreds of thousands of hectares of land and the country reports its worst drought for 60 years which is affecting crop yields .


On the 13th March, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced an agreement with the Argentinian government on the release of USD 5.3 billion in the coming weeks to shore up the economy and bringing total funding since March 2022 to USD 28.8 billion.


In early March, Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero announced Argentina was withdrawing from a 2016 cooperation agreement with the United Kingdom on the issue of the Falkland Islands. Parallels can be drawn with the hyperinflation of the 1980s which is often cited as a motivating factor for the juntas invasion of the Falklands in 1982. 

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