ISIS-Manila calls Washington: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had indicated he was going to sever strategic ties with Washington in favor of stronger military relations with Beijing and Moscow. Richard Javad Heydarian reports that Islamic State’s bid to gain a foothold in the Philippines has changed things and top US security officials are again confident in the long-term trajectory of America’s alliance with the Philippines.
Silk Road murders: Chastened by the Islamic State’s claim to have kidnapped and killed two Chinese teachers, Pakistan is beefing up security for China’s ‘Silk Road pioneers’. Drazen Jorgic and Jibran Ahmad report that Beijing, after pledging around US$57 billion to build power plants, railways, and roads that will connect western China with Pakistan’s Arabian Sea port of Gwadar citizens, now has 5,000 of its nationals working in the country.
UK-election, terrorist coalition? Last week’s UK general election effectively saw the obliteration of the nationalist UKIP but a party even more extreme has now stepped into the spotlight. Richard Cook writes that Prime Minister Teresa May is fighting for her political life and is attempting to form a coalition with Northern Ireland’s hard-line Democratic Unionists, a party that has been unable to shake off links to paramilitary terrorist groups.
Myanmar’s extending wars: The little-known Arakan Army, one of the Myanmar’s newest insurgent outfits, is responsible for rising violence in the country’s remote western regions. David Scott Mathieson reports that the group’s stated objective, articulated in a video widely distributed online, is the total liberation of Myanmar’s Rakhine State from “Burmese fascism”.
China in Brunei: In the first quarter of 2016, Chinese investments into this fuel-rich sultanate surged to US$86 million, compared to just US$9.6 million for all of 2015. David Hutt writes that total consolidated Chinese investment in Brunei is now estimated at around US$6 billion and scheduled to rise as Beijing cranks up its One Belt, One Road initiative.