2024 Foreign Policy Tracker

15th April

– Donald Trump becomes the first former US president to stand trial in a criminal case, accused of falsifying his business records to disguise a hush-money payment made to former adult film star Stormy Daniels over an alleged affair. Trump faces a maximum of four years in jail if convicted.

– Israel’s UN envoy, Gilad Erdan, calls for fresh sanctions on Iran “before it’s too late”, in the wake of Iran’s attacks on Israel, while Iran’s UN envoy, Amir Saeid Iravani, declares that the Islamic Republic was exercising its “inherent right to self-defence” and had “no choice” but to act.

14th April

– Nations including the UK, the US, France and Jordan reportedly take part in shooting down “nearly all” of Iran’s drones and missiles, during the overnight attack on Israel.

13th April

– Iran launches more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel, in a widely anticipated retaliatory attack. The attack is Iran’s first ever direct strike on Israeli soil.

12th April

– Russian troops arrive in Niger to train Niger’s army on its new state-of-the-art air defence system. Niger’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown last year by a military junta, which has since cut military and diplomatic ties with Western nations and is moving closer to countries including Russia, China and Iran.

11th April

– Russian strikes destroy the key Trypillya powerplant, the largest provider of electricity for three regions, including Kyiv.

– Israel’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, tells US defence secretary Lloyd Austin that Israel will respond directly to any attack by Iran, as concerns mount of Iranian retaliation following a deadly Israeli strike on the Iranian embassy in Syria.

– Myanmar’s military-government soldiers withdraw from Myawaddy, a border town near Thailand, amid escalating violence between govenrment forces and ethnic minority armed groups. This week roughly 4,000 refugees have crossed into Thailand every day. Myanmar’s military-government has suffered a string of battlefield losses in recent months, that has prompted rare criticism from its supporters.

– Mexico appeals to the International Court of Justice to remove Ecuador from the United Nations, following its police raid on Mexico’s embassy in Quito.

10th April

– A coalition of the Democratic Party (DPK) and smaller opposition parties jointly win a landslide majority in South Korea’s general election, ousting the ruling People Power Party (PPP). This vote was widely viewed as a mid-term referendum on President Yoon Suk Yeol and the PPP.

9th April

– Simon Harris is elected by the Dáil as the taoiseach (Irish prime minister).

– The European Parliament approves the EU Asylum and Migration Pact, designed to speed up the asylum process and increase the return of irregular migrants to their home countries. The reform will come into force in two years, and requires EU member states to share responsibility for asylum seekers.

– Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, and US President, Joe Biden, kick off a summit at the White House by agreeing to a number of both defense and economic security deals – including an expanded air defence network incorporating Australia.

8th April

– Iceland appoints Bjarni Benediktsson as Prime Minister of Iceland, after Katrín Jakobsdóttir resigns to run in the country’s upcoming presidential election.

– Celebrations in France and the UK mark 120 years since the Entente Cordiale was signed – a series of four agreements, aimed to end acrimony, improve diplomatic links between the UK and France and settle colonial disputes.

– Former South African President, Jacob Zuma’s ban on running as a parliamentary candidate in May’s general election is overturned by the country’s electoral court.

7th April

– The world marks and reflects on sixth months of war between Israel and Hamas, commemorating the almost-1200 lives lost in the 7th October massacre, the more-than-33,000 lives lost in Gaza during Israel’s retaliatory offensive, and the 120+ hostages that remain unaccounted for.

– Israel pulls all of its ground troops out of southern Gaza for “tactical reasons”. These are expected to be the relief of reservists after nearly four months of intense fighting in the city of Khan Younis, rather than any significant shift in strategy.

– Thousands of people once more rally in the streets of Tel Aviv as Israel enters its seventh month of war in Gaza, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a deal with Hamas to release Israelis still held hostage in Gaza after the 7 October attack.

– Peter Pellegrini is elected Preident of Slovakia, beating the pro-Western Ivan Korčok. Moscow-friendly Pellegrini is an ally of Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico, sharing his anti-Ukrainian scepticism.

6th April

– Mexico breaks diplomatic ties with Ecuador following the police raid on its embassy in Quito to arrest former Ecuadorian Vice-President Jorge Glas, calling the raid as “an outrage against international law”.

– World leaders commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 people, predominantly of the minority Tutsi ethnic grouping, were killed in just 100 days by Hutu extremists.

– An estimated over ten thousand Hungarians rally in downtown Budapest, protesting against the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

5th April

– Ecuadorian policy storm the Mexican embassy in Quito, to arrest former Ecuadorian Vice-President Jorge Glas, who has been sheltering there since December.

4th April

– The Foreign Ministers of NATO gather in Brussels to commemorate the 75th anniversary of NATO and agree to greater coordination in their aid support for Ukraine.

– World Central Kitchen calls for an independent investigation into the death of seven of its aid workers, including three British nationals, in Gaza earlier in the week. US President Joe Biden said he was “heartbroken” by the deaths, while UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron called the deaths “unacceptable”, calling for a full and thorough investigation and explanation by Israel.

–  US President Joe Biden calls for an “immediate cease-fire” between Israel and Hamas, during a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his sharpest rebuke to Israel since the war began.

– Myanmar’s National Unity Government, opponents of the ruling military junta, reportedly carry out drone attacks against military holds in the capital, in what appears to be a rare incursion against the embattled junta’s centre of power.

3rd April

– Over 600 lawyers, legal academics and retired senior judges  sign a 17-page letter to UK Prime Minister Sunak saying the UK is legally bound to act over the “catastrophic” situation in Gaza, and that ministers are falling “significantly short” of their obligations under international law over the sale of weapons to Israel and the suspension of aid to UNRWA (the UN agency for Palestinian refugees).

– Taiwan’s worst earthquake in 25 years claims the lives of nine and injures more than 1,000.

2nd April

– Opposition leader Bassirou Diomaye Faye is sworn in as Senegal’s president in capital Dakar, making him Africa’s youngest elected leader at 44.

– Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas – herself an unofficial candidate for the new Secretary-General of NATO – officially lends her support to Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte, for the Secretary-General post. Rutte has so far struggled to rally support beyond Western Europe and North America.

1st April

– The deaths of seven World Central Kitchen workers by the Israeli Defence Force push the number of aid employees killed in Gaza to at least 196, according to the UN Secretary General.

– Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), wins significant local government election victories, including in the main cities of Istanbul and Ankara. The results mark a significant blow for Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, less than a year after he claimed a third term as President.

– Iran vows to respond to an alleged Israeli strike on an Iranian consulate building in Syria’s capital, Damascus, on March 31st, that claimed the lives of seven Revolutionary Guards, including two generals, and six Syrians. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that Israel would “regret this crime”, and President Ebrahim Raisi insisted that it would “not go unanswered”.

31st March

– At least seven people are killed in a car bombing at a busy market in Azaz, northern Syria. The attack remains unclaimed.

– Thousands of protestors in Israel gather around the Israeli parliament, calling for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s resignation and early elections, as well as for an immediate deal to free the Israeli hostages still held in Gaza. While Israelis remain supportive of the IDF’s aim to destroy Hamas, Netanyahu’s failure to rescue the remaining hostages is considerably damaging the Prime Minister’s support.

30th March

– One of Haiti’s most powerful gang leaders, Gang leader Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Chérizier, says “weapons could be lowered” if armed groups are allowed to take part in talks to establish a new government. Haiti has been without a Prime Minister since 12 March and faces spiralling violence.

29th March

– The International Court of Justice (ICJ) orders Israel to act “without delay” to allow “urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance” into Gaza. While orders issued by the ICJ are legally binding, the court lacks the power to enforce them.

– At least 42 people are killed in alleged Israeli air strikes in north-west Syria.

– Israel’s military announces it has killed a senior Hezbollah figure in an air strike in Lebanon – Ali Abed Akhsan Naim, a deputy commander of the group’s missiles and rockets unit.

28th March

– Former South African President Jacob Zuma is barred from running in South Africa’s general election in May. The country’s electoral commission has not given a reason, however his 15-month prison sentence for contempt of court is the expected cause.

– Russia uses its veto power in the UN Security Council to block the renewal of a panel of UN experts that have monitored sanctions against North Korea for 14 years. This follows the announcement that the panel was probing reports that Russia has violated rules by buying North Korean weapons, like ballistic missiles, for use in Ukraine.

27th March

– Hezbollah fires rockets into northern Israel, killing one person, in response to deadly Israeli strikes, claiming the lives of sixteen people, including Hezbollah fighters and other militants. Israel and Hezbollah are trading almost daily strikes across the border, which began following the 7th October Hamas attack on Israel and subsequent outbreak of war.

– Venezuela’s main opposition coalition, The Unitary Platform (PUD), manages to register ex-diplomat Edmundo González for July’s presidential election, after its first two nominees were blocked. This follows President Maduro, who has been in power since 2013,  announcing that his party will win “by hook or by crook”.

26th March

– South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), fails in its legal bid to stop the newly formed uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) party, backed by ex-President Jacob Zuma, from running in May’s general election. ANC announced that it is not opposed to the MK’s presence on the ballot, provided the registration is in accordance with the law. However, it is thought that the presence of MK will affect the ANC’s support.

25th March

– The UN Security Council passes a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The US abstained for the first time, rather than vetoing, while the remaining 14 members voted in favour. The resolution means Israel is now under obligation to stop its military campaign for the next 15 days – the duration of Ramadan, which the text stipulated for the ceasefire. Israel in turn cancels a planned visit by its delegation to Washington.

– Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden tells the UK’s Parliament that China was responsible for the cyber attacks on the Electoral Commission back in August 2021. He announces that two people and a company linked to the Chinese state have been sanctioned by the UK government, and China’s Ambassador will be summoned. Prime Minister Sunak names China as “the greatest state-based threat to our economic security”.

24th March

– Simon Harris is confirmed as the new leader of Irish political party, Fine Gael, following former Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s  resignation as party leader, paving the way for the 37-year-old to become Ireland’s youngest taoiseach (prime minister).

– Senagalese opposition candidate, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, wins Senegal’s presidential election. The election follows political turmoil, after outgoing President Macky Sall tried to postpone the election until December.

23rd March

– The Islamic State (IS) claims responsibility for the attack on Crocus City Hall in Moscow, which the US announces is credible.

– Pro-EU former Slovak foreign minister, Ivan Korco, wins a surprise victory in the first round of the Slovakian presidential election against Peter Pellegrini, parliament speaker and key ally of the populist prime minister, Robert Fico. A runoff vote will be held on 6 April.

The US Senate agrees a $1.2 trillion spending package at the last minute, avoiding a partial shutdown of the government.

22nd March

– The United States’ resolution to the United Nations Security Council, supporting calls (not directly calling for) for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and the release of hostages held by Hamas, fails to reach consensus. 11 voted in favour, three against (Russia, China and Algeria) and one abstained (Guyana).

– At least 133 people are killed and more than 140 injured in an attack by gunmen at a packed concert venue on the outskirts of Moscow. Moscow claims that the attackers were planning to cross the border with Ukraine to contacts there, but Ukraine has denied the allegation.

21st March

 The United States drafts a UN Security Council resolution calling for an “immediate ceasefire” and hostage deal in Gaza, having blocked previous attempts to pass a ceasefire resolution.

– EU leaders approve talks beginning with Bosnia and Herzegovina on EU membership negotiations.

– Portugal’s President invites centre-right politician, Luís Montenegro, to form a minority government, after his Democratic Alliance (AD) party won snap elections earlier this month, but fell short of winning a majority in parliament.

– Vietnamese President, Vo Van Thuong, resigns after only one year in office, with the ruling Communist Party announcing that he had “violated party rules” and negatively affected the party’s and his own reputations – likely due to  fraud and bribery allegations against the leader.

20th March

– Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announces his resignation. Varadkar will resign as head of the ruling Fine Gael party immediately, but remain as Taoiseach (PM) until mid-April, to give time for a successor to be chosen.

– 514 migrants arrive in the UK via small boat from France, in the highest daily total for 2024, according to the UK Home Office.

– US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken lands in the Middle East for his sixth trip since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, beginning in Saudi Arabia in an effort to normalise relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

19th March

– Hong Kong’s staunchly pro-China legislature unanimously passes a tough new security law – ‘Article 23’ – in the latest crackdown on dissent, following the 2019 pro-democracy protests. The law threatens stringent penalties for a wide range of actions, including life imprisonment, for activities that authorities deem a threat to national security.

– The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) issues a ‘red alert’ to the world after every major global climate record was broken in 2023, warning that 2024 could be worse.

18th March

– Moldovan President Maia Sandu announces that a referendum on European Union membership will be held in October. Moldova has received the European Commission’s agreement to launch EU accession negotiations, and reportedly aims to complete the process by 2030.

– Pakistan admits to carrying out “intelligence-based anti-terrorist operations” in Afghanistan, following accusations from the Taliban of an attack that claimed the lives of eight women and children. Pakistan announced that it was in response to an Afghan militant attack on Saturday, which claimed the lives of seven Pakistani soldiers.

17th March

– Russian President Vladimir Putin secures another six years in power, as he wins the Russian general election by a landslide, receiving 87% of the vote. The election has been described as a ‘farce’ by European officials, but congratulations flooded in from Kremlin allies, including China, North Korea, Azerbaijan and Venezuela.

– Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu restates his goal to launch an offensive in Rafah, defying intensifying international criticism, and stating that “no international pressure will stop Israel” from achieving its war aims. 1.5 million Palestinians are currently seeking refuge in the city.

– United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announces that over 13,000 children have been killed in Gaza since October 7th 2023.

16th March

– The first maritime humanitarian aid shipment reaches the Gazan shore. The shipment, organised by US charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) in co-operation with the United Arab Emirates, contains 200 tonnes of food.

15th March

– French President, Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, and Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, gather in Berlin in an effort show strength and unity over support for Ukraine. While the individual leaders disagree on the means and methods of offering support, they announced a list of new  agreements, suggesting minor concessions on all sides. These include using the interest accrued from some €300bn of frozen Russian deposits in Europe, to support Ukraine.

14th March

– Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appoints economic adviser, Mohammad Mustafa, as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. Mustafa now faces the task of forming a new government for the PA, which holds limited powers in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

– NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, calls on NATO allies to urgently send more ammunition to Ukraine, warning that the ‘”U.S, Canada and Europe have to do more”, and that the current lack of support is having “consequences on the battlefield every day”.

13th March

– Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, announces that Denmark aims to boost its defence budget by nearly £4.6bn over the next five years to meet NATO targets, as well as extend military conscription to women for the first time, in a re-arming effort which aims to ‘avoid war’.

– EU leaders agree to back a new €5 billion “Ukraine Assistance Fund” for military aid to Ukraine. However, a considerable proportion of the contributions will not be in the form of new cash – EU countries can discount their bilateral weapons shipments as contributions.

– Far-right Dutch PVV leader, Geert Wilders, renounces his claim to become the next prime minister of the Netherlands, as he fails to get all partners in a potential coalition onboard. Four parties have reportedly agreed to pursue ‘extra-parliamentary’ cabinet.

– The Paris Club, a collection of some of the world’s wealthiest creditor nations, announces the cancellation of 99% of Somalia’s debt, in a major effort to support the nation’s fragile economic recovery from the ongoing three-decade conflict.

12th March

– US President Biden officially secures enough delegates to be the Democrats’ presumptive presidential candidate, following victory in the Georgia primary. Formal nomination happens in August at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

– US President Joe Biden announces that the United States will send a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $300 million, as additional funds for Kyiv remain blocked by Republican leaders in Congress.

– European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, recommends opening European Union membership talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying the nation has made progress on reforms. This decision would require the unanimous approval of the bloc’s 27 member countries,

– The first barge loaded with 200 tonnes of food supplies for Palestinians in Gaza sets sail from Cyprus, as part of a maritime corridor initiative initiated by Cyprus, with the support of the EU, the UK and the US. The journey could take as long as two days and will end at a jetty off Gaza’s coast.

11th March

– Haiti’s Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, agrees to resign upon the installation of a transition council, following weeks of mounting pressure and increasing violence. Henry has not been allowed back into Haiti since late January, prevented from returning by armed gangs after leaving for overseas visits.

10th March

– United States, German and European Union representatives are among those departing from Haiti, after dozens of heavily armed gang fighters try to seize the political quarter of its capital, Port-au-Prince.

9th March

– Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announces that he intends to press on with an invasion Rafah, in defiance of US President Joe Biden who has warned this move would be crossing a “red line.”

– Portugal’s center-right Democratic Alliance coalition claims victory in a snap election, that ends the Socialist Party’s 8 year rule. The election saw a surge in popularity of the far-right party, Chega, but no party managed to secure a governing majority of seats in parliament.

8th March

– The ex-president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, is found guilty of conspiring to import drugs into the US, and possessing “destructive devices” including machine guns.

7th March

– Sweden becomes a fully-fledged member of NATO, bringing its formidable military-industrial complex to the alliance.

– US President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union speech, pushing for Congress to approve aid for Ukraine, and announcing that the US military will construct a port off the coast of Gaza, to get more humanitarian aid into the territory via the sea.

6th March

– Nikki Haley drops out of the 2024 United States Presidential race, after winning just two Republican primaries, leaving Donald Trump as as the only remaining Republican candidate.

– Three sailors on a Barbados-flagged vessel are killed in a Houthi missile attack in the Red Sea – the first deaths directly caused by the group’s attacks in the region.

5th March

– Sixteen US states and one territory hold primary votes ahead of the US election, on the day unofficially known as ‘Super Tuesday’. More than a third of the total delegates available will be allotted on Super Tuesday (thepeople chosen to represent their community at their political party’s presidential nominating convention).

4th March

– France becomes the first country in the world to explicitly enshrine women’s ‘guaranteed freedom’ to have an abortion. It is the 25th amendment to modern France’s founding document, and the first since 2008.

– China sets an ambitious growth target of around 5% for this year, as Premier, Li Qiang, outlines a series of measures aimed at reinvigorating its once-booming economy. Along with measures to boost the economy, defence spending will be increased by 7.2% this year.

– Iranian hard-line politicians maintain their hold on the Iranian legislature in the country’s parliamentary elections, in a vote that saw a record-low turnout.

3rd March

Pakistan’s newly formed parliament elects Shehbaz Sharif as Prime Minister for a second term, defeating Omar Ayub who was supported by imprisoned former Prime Minister, Imran Khan. The move comes after an inconclusive general election that was marred by allegations of intimidation and vote-rigging.

2nd March

– The US begins humanitarian air drops in Gaza, with military aircrafts dropping 38,000 meals along the coastline of the war-torn region.

1st March

– Iranians head to the polls to vote for a new parliament and the country’s Assembly of Experts, in an election marred by frustration over economic hardships and the crackdown on the antigovernment protests seen in 2022-2023.

– Putin critic, Alexei Navalny, is buried as thousands of his supporters gather, chanting ‘free Russia’, in defiance of repressive measures.

29 February

– Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state of the nation address, warning that any deployment of Western troops in Ukraine would have ‘tragic’ consequences, seemingly in response to French President Macron’s comments earlier this week that he refuses to rule out sending ground troops to Ukraine. Several Nato countries, including the UK, Germany and the US, have since ruled out deploying ground troops.

– At least 112 people are killed and more than 750 wounded in an attack at the Nabulsi roundabout in Gaza City, in which Israeli forces opened fire on Gazans collecting food aid in northern Gaza. France has called for an independent inquiry into the incident.

– Haiti gangs begin an offensive to topple the government, storming and ransacking police stations, prisons and hospitals and laying siege to strategic locations, including the port and airport.

28 February

– The UN World Food Programme announces that Cuba has, for the first time, asked for help with food shortages, in a serious sign that its economic and food insecurity crisis is worsening, which the Cuban government blames on ongoing US sanctions.

– Yaya Dillo, a leading critic of Chad’s military leader, is killed in a shootout with security forces ahead of the presidential election scheduled to be held on 6 May, in which Mr Dillo was widely predicted to be President Déby’s main opponent.

27 February

– Former Guinean opposition leader, Mamadou Oury Bah, is appointed Prime Minister by the country’s military junta, according to a decree read on national television, just one week after the military junta dissolved the government. Bah faces the challenge of setting up a new government amid an indefinite general strike launched this week, over deep economic hardships facing Guinea.

26 February

– Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, resigns along with his government, which runs parts of the occupied West Bank, claiming that new governmental and political arrangements are needed for the territory, that take into account the emerging reality in Gaza, the national unity talks, and the urgent need for an inter-Palestinian consensus.

– Hungary’s parliament passes Sweden’s NATO accession bid, having previously delayed on accusations of Sweden being hostile to Hungary. Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, labels it a “historic day” and a “big step” for Sweden as it moves away from 200 years of neutrality.

– US airman, Aaron Bushnell, fatally sets himself on fire in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington DC in an ‘extreme act of protest’, announcing he would ‘no longer be complicit in genocide’.

25 February

– Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, announces that 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed during Russia’s full-scale invasion, in a rare announcement of casualty figures.

– France’s President Emmanuel Macron says he refuses to rule out sending ground troops to Ukraine, but clarified that no consensus exists on this step, at a meeting of 20 mainly European leaders in Paris, designed to speed up the supply of weapons and financial aid to Ukraine.

– Citizens of Belarus head to the polls for parliamentary elections, in the first ‘elections’ since the contentious 2020 election which triggered unprecedented protest and more than 35,000 arrests. The only candidates running in the election belong to the four officially registered parties that are loyal to President Alexander Lukashenko.

– The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) claims victory in Cambodia’s Senate elections.

– Tens of thousands of supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rally in Sao Paolo, against legal challenges that could put him in jail. Many of Bolsonaro’s supporters believe he is being persecuted by Brazil’s supreme court, and that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva unfairly won his narrow victory in the 2022 general election.

24 February

– Ukraine marks the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion. Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is joined by the prime ministers of Canada, Italy and Belgium, and the president of the European Commission, to lay wreaths at the Wall of Remembrance, commemorating those who have lost their lives in the war.

– The US and UK carry out fresh strikes on 18 Houthi targets in Yemen – the fourth joint operation by the allies in an effort to degrade Houthi capabilities.

23 February

– The UK signs a deal with Frontex, the EU’s border agency, to work more closely together to stop small boats crossing the English Channel. The agreement aims to lead to more sharing of information and expertise, and includes training for both border agencies to learn from successful tactics overseas, collaboration on the development of new technologies, and the deployment of more staff on both sides to help coordinate efforts.

22 February

– Gustavo Melella, an Argentinian governor of Antarctica and the Southern Atlantic Islands, labels Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron’s trip to the Falkland Islands earlier this week “a new British provocation” that “seeks to diminish our legitimate sovereignty claims over our territories and maintain colonialism in the 21st century”.

21 February

– Brazil kicks off its presidency of the G20 with a meeting of Foreign Secretaries. Brazil’s Foreign Minister called for reforms of the UN and other multilateral institutions, criticising their inability to prevent global conflicts, while Foreign Secretary David Cameron insisted in his address that Russia will face the consequences for its invasion of Ukraine.

20 February

– The World Food Programme pauses food deliveries to northern Gaza, saying aid convoys are enduring “complete chaos and violence” as crews face crowds, gunfire and looting amid “the collapse of civil order”. The WFP says Gaza is “hanging by a thread” and that it will seek to resume deliveries as soon as possible.

– Taiwan chases Chinese coastguard boat from waters near frontline islands, one day after China’s coastguard boarded a Taiwanese tourist boat, amid an escalating dispute sparked by a fatal capsizing last week.

19 February

– Polish farmers dump grain from a freight train to blockade Ukrainian imports, as part of nationwide protests against cheap agricultural goods allegedly undermining business. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the blockade “absurd”.

18 February

– At least 90,000 people rally in Mexico City, against proposed changes to Mexico’s autonomous electoral authority body, ahead of June’s presidential elections. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been accused of trying to weaken the body with reforms, which he argues are designed to root out bias and corruption.

– Israeli war cabinet minister, Benny Gantz, says Israel will launch its threatened ground offensive against Rafah if Hamas does not release the remaining Israeli hostages by the beginning of Ramadan, on the 10th March.

17 February

– Russia’s most significant opposition leader for the past decade, Alexei Navalny, dies in jail in the Arctic. Navalny was serving a 19 year sentence on charges of extremism, that were widely seen as politically motivated.

– Thousands of demonstrators march in Dakar, Senegal, demanding swift presidential elections following President Macky Sall’s attempt to postpone the election, which was struck down by Senegal’s top court on Thursday.

– The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) begins. The chair of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat, begins by calling on leaders to tackle conflicts in the continent, and condemns a series of coups across a number of nations.

– Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, meets China’s minister of public security, Wang Xiaohong, in an effort to deepen security ties (including across counter-terrorism, transnational crimes, and law enforcement capacity building under the Belt and Road Initiative).

16 February 2024

– World leaders gather for the Munich Security Conference, against the backdrop of concerns about war and instability in the Middle East, Russia’s war in Ukraine and the future of the transatlantic alliance.

15 February 2024

– Venezuela’s government suspends its technical advisory office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, accusing the office of promoting the Venezuelan opposition and holding a “colonialist, abusive and violating attitude”. The Government has pledged to carry out a holistic revision of the technical cooperation terms.

14 February 2024

– Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy, heads to the polls in the world’s largest single-day democratic vote. Indonesian Defence Minister, Prabowo Subianto, looks set to win the Presidential vote, although official results are not confirmed until March.

– Israeli air strikes into Lebanon claim the lives of at least 13 people, including 10 civilians, in a retaliation against Hezbollah rocket strikes that killed a soldier in Israel on Wednesday.

– Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, announces that a record 18 member countries are set to meet the defence alliance’s target of spending 2% of their economic output on defence this year – including Germany, for the first time in decades.

13 February 2024

– The US Senate passes a $95bn bill with aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, after delays of months by Republican hardliners. The legislation will now go to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, where it faces strong opposition.

A coalition including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s party (PPP) agree to form the next government of Pakistan, shutting out the party of former prime minister Imran Khan, despite Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) receiving the most votes in the election.

12 February 2024

– Thousands of Moroccans take to the streets of the city of Rabat, calling for an end to ties with Israel over the war in Gaza. Morocco established diplomatic ties with Israel in 2020, under the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

11 February 2024

– Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Israeli Defence Force will go ahead with its planned ground offensive into Rafah, despite international warnings, insisting an evacuation plan for civilians is being prepared.

10 February 2024

– At a campaign rally in South Caroline, former President Donald Trump says he would “encourage” Russia to attack any NATO member that fails to meet the spending commitments of the Western military alliance. US President Joe Biden calls Trump’s comments “appalling and dangerous”.

– Airstrikes by the Israeli Defence Force on the Gaza Strip’s southernmost town of Rafah, the territory’s last place of relative safety where more than a million civilians are sheltering, reportedly claim over 100 lives.

9 February 2024

– Violent protests in Haiti claim five lives, as citizens demand that Prime Minister Ariel Henry resign. An agreement reached in December 2022 stipulated that the Prime Minister would hold elections and then cede power to newly elected officials on February 7, 2024, but Henry has remained in power. No elections have taken place since 2016, and the Presidency remains vacant.

– Politicians in Pakistan, allied with the imprisoned former prime minister Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), defy a military-led crackdown and alleged widespread election rigging to win the most seats in Pakistan’s lower house of parliament, but fall short of a majority. The two other main parties, PML-N and Pakistan People’s party (PPP), have met to discuss forming a coalition to keep PTI out of power.

8 February 2024

Azerbaijan’s President, Ilham Aliyev, wins a fifth consecutive term in power, securing more than 92% of votes. Azerbaijan is accused of repressing freedom of expression and targeting critical voices of the president, who faced no meaningful challengers in the election.

– President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, sacks the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, stating that the high command needs to be “renewed”. General Oleksandr Syrskyi is announced as his replacement, presenting the biggest change to Ukraine’s military leadership since the war began in February 2022.

– The Council of Europe’s committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment calls on the UK Government to process asylum claims in the UK rather than in Rwanda, over concerns that asylum seekers may be exposed to human rights abuses if they are sent to Rwanda.

7 February 2024

– Two explosions claim the lives of at least 28 individuals in the Pakistani province of Balochistan, just a day ahead of Pakistan’s general election.

– A senior commander of an Iran-backed militia, Abu Baqir al-Saadi, is killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad. The US says the commander was responsible for directing attacks on US forces in the region.

– Sudan enters an internet blackout, amid the country’s 10-month civil war. Many blame the paramilitary group, The Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which denies responsibility.

– The Government of Nicaragua warns the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada of its intention to take them to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), for supplying weapons to Israel and thus contributing to – or directly committing – violations of the Genocide Convention against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

6 February 2024

– Negotiations to form the next Dutch government collapse after Pieter Omtzigt, leader of the New Social Contract (NSC) party, quits talks. Far-right leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), Geert Wilders, has been struggling to form a coalition, with migration issues initially emerging as the key stumbling block in negotiations.

– A US Senate bipartisan bill set to deliver billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, along with stricter border enforcement measures, collapses as Republicans withdraw support.

– President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announces plans to scrap a proposal halving pesticide use across the EU, in a concession to the farmers who have been protesting in many EU countries against tightening regulations.

5 February 2024

– President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador is re-elected in a landslide victory. Bukele has been largely credited for transforming one of the most violent countries in the world to one of the safest in Latin America, following a crackdown on crime.

– US Secretary of State Antony Blinken lands in Saudi Arabia to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, on his fifth trip to the Middle East since the October 7 attacks on Israel.

– Lawmakers in Senegal agree to postpone the presidential election until December. Most opposition MPs are forcibly removed from the chamber amid heated debates, and three opposition MPs are arrested in the fallout.

4 February 2024

– Hundreds of people protest in Dakar, Senegal, at the news that lawmakers are due to debate a proposal to postpone the presidential election, scheduled for later in February, following a dispute about the eligibility of candidates. The proposal moves to hold the vote on 25 August and keep President Macky Sall in power until then.

3 February 2024

– The US and the UK launch a fresh wave of strikes against 36 Houthi targets in Yemen – the third time the US and the UK have carried out a joint operation to strike Houthi targets.

– Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill becomes the new First Minister of Northern Ireland, with the DUP’s Emma Little-Pengelly as Deputy First Minister. O’Neill is the first-ever republican first minister of Northern Ireland.

2 February 2024

– The US strikes more than 85 targets linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, and affiliated militias, in Iraq and Syria, responding to the deaths of three US soldiers killed in Jordan on the 28th January.

1 February 2024

– European leaders agree a €50 billion aid package for Ukraine, after breaking a deadlock with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

– New Zealand Defence Minister steps up interest in joining the non-nuclear pillar of AUKUS, saying “we really want to look at what the opportunities are and whether or not its something we could be part of”, and adding that New Zealand could offer space and technology expertise.

– Over a thousand tractors block the streets around the European quarter in Brussels, as farmers protesting high taxes, rising costs, cheap imports, and the bloc’s decision to lift quotas on Ukrainian grain exports, throw eggs at the European Parliament.

31 January 2024

– Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife are sentenced to jail for 14 years over allegations of illegal profiteering from state gifts, in addition to the 10 year sentence he had already received.

– Armenia formally joins the international criminal court (ICC). Armenia, a traditional Moscow ally and part of the Moscow-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, is now obliged to arrest the Vladimir Putin if he sets foot on its territory.

30 January 2024

– Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is sentenced to 10 years in prison, accused of leaking state secrets. His legal team are planning on appealing the ruling.

– Following changes to the post-Brexit agreement between the UK and EU, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) drops its opposition to an executive being formed in Northern Ireland. The new deal agreed between the UK government and the DUP – called “Safeguarding the Union” – will reduce checks and paperwork on goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. The decision paves the way for power-sharing to be re-established in Northern Ireland.

– Lord Cameron makes his fourth visit to the Middle East as Foreign Secretary, beginning in Oman. Cameron will use the visit to focus on de-escalating regional tensions, and move forward work to establish a Contact Group between the UK, the US, key EU, Gulf and Arab countries and Turkey, to build momentum towards a lasting peaceful solution.

29 January 2024

– 48 civil society organisations in Nigeria call on President Bola Tinubu to declare a state of emergency as violence continues to sweep across the country. Last week, 43 people were killed in fighting in Nigeria’s central Plateau state, while nearly 2,500 people have been killed, and over 1,800 have been abducted, since May 2023.

– UK Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron says the UK could consider recognising a Palestinian state, as part of concerted efforts to bring about “irreversible progress” on a peaceful two-state solution.

28 January 2024

– North Korea fires several cruise missiles in waters off its east coast, in the latest of a string of missile tests in recent months. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has become increasingly aggressive in his policymaking and rhetoric, leading to concerns that North Korea is preparing for potential conflict.

– Three US Army soldiers are killed and more than 30 service members are injured, during a drone attack on a US outpost in Jordan.

– Climate activists throw soup over the Mona Lisa in Paris.

27 January 2024

– The UK, and a number of other countries, pause funding for UNRWA, the primary UN Agency providing aid to Palestinian refugees over allegations some of its staff were involved in the October 7th Hamas attack on Israel.

– A drone strike claims the lives of three US troops at a base in Jordan. The attack was claimed by the Iranian-backed umbrella group Islamic Resistance. US President Joe Biden has sworn to hold all responsible to account.

26 January 2024

– The International Court of Justice (ICJ) delivers its ruling on the emergency measures requested by South Africa in its genocide case against Israel over the Israel-Hamas war. The court ruled, among other things, that Israel must take steps to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza, but it stopped short of ordering a ceasefire.

– UK-Canada trade deal negotiations break down after nearly two years, over disagreements about cheese, cars and beef.

25 January 2024

– Violence in central Nigeria claims over 40 lives. The fighting was sparked by a row over cattle, in Nigeria’s Plateau state, which is fraught with ethnic and religious tensions between Muslim Fulani and Christian Mwagaful ethnic groups.

24 January 2024

– A Russian military plane crashes in Russia’s Belgorod region, killing 74 people onboard, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war. Moscow has accused Ukraine’s military of shooting down the plane, which Kyiv has not ruled out.

– Potential challenger to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Boris Nadezhdin, announces that he would end the war in Ukraine on day one of his presidency. Nadezhdin, a local councillor for over 30 years, is seen as a former insider of the regime, and so far his criticism of Putin and the Kremlin has been tolerated.

23 January 2024

– Former President Trump wins the New Hampshire primary, beating Nikki Haley, and taking 54% of the vote.

– Turkish MPs ratify Sweden’s bid to join NATO, removing the last major hurdle to Sweden joining the military grouping.

– Prime Minister Rishi Sunk announces that, while the UK is not seeking confrontation with Houthi forces, the UK will not hesitate to take further military action if the group continues its attacks in the Red Sea.

22 January 2024

– US and UK forces launch a fresh series of military strikes, targeting eight Houthi positions in Yemen, including an underground storage site and Houthi missile and surveillance capability. This is the eighth set of strikes by the US against Houthi targets in Yemen, and the second joint operation with the UK.

– House of Lords vote to delay the Government’s Rwanda policy over safety concerns.

– Ron DeSantis ends his bid for the Republican Presidential nomination, endorsing Donald Trump ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

– Cameroon rolls out the world’s first Malaria vaccine, using a vaccine developed by UK drugmaker GSK.

21 January 2024

– The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza announces that more than 25,000 people have now been killed in Gaza, in the more than three months since Israel’s air and ground operation began.

20 January 2024

– Air strikes hit Damascus, Syria, claiming the lives of a number of Syrian forces, and five senior members of Iran’s security forces. Iran has accused Israel of launching the attack.

– Sudan suspends its membership of north-east African bloc, The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), over efforts to end the brutal nine month-long civil war between Sudan’s army and a rival paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Igad had reiterated its call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, and said Sudan’s army and the RSF must have a face-to-face meeting within two weeks.

19 January 2024

– A top NATO official warns that civilians of NATO states must prepare for all-out war with Russia in the next 20 years, urging civilians as well as governments to prepare for life-changing conflict and potential conscription.

– The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says over half a million people from Sudan have crossed the border to South Sudan since fighting broke out in Sudan on 15 April 2023.

– Pakistan and Iran restore diplomatic ties, with both Ambassadors set to return to their respective posts. This restoration rounds out a week in which both countries exchanged reciprocal strikes on militant bases in each other’s territory.

18 January 2024

– Pakistan launches airstrikes into Iran, targeting alleged terrorists in retaliation for Iranian strikes against Pakistan on January 16th.

– Air strikes in Syria claim the lives of at least 10 people. The attack is suspected to have come from Jordan, which has reportedly carried out a number of air strikes over the past year, targeting suspected drug smugglers in Syria.

17 January 2024

– UK Parliament approves the Rwanda Asylum Bill by a majority of 44.

– Israel and Hamas reach a deal to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza, amid the devastating Israel-Hamas war. Brokered by Qatar and France, the deal agrees that medicine will be provided to 45 hostages held by Hamas, in return for humanitarian supplies entering Gaza via Egypt.

– The United States launches a fourth round of strikes at Houthi targets in Yemen, following further attacks on commercial shipping.

16 January 2024

– North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calls for a constitutional amendment to change the status of South Korea to a separate state, designating South Korea as the “principal enemy”, and warning that while North Korea doesn’t seek war, it also doesn’t intend to avoid it.

– Iran launches airstrikes into Pakistan, reportedly aimed at Sunni militant group, Jaish al-Adl, claiming the lives of two children. This attack follows retaliatory strikes this week into Syria and Iraq following the bombing in Kernan earlier this month, and is the latest flashpoint of violence unfolding across the regional neighbourhood.

15 January 2024

– Former President Donald Trump wins the first contest in the Republican race for presidential nominee, the Iowa caucus, by a landslide, as expectations grow that he will secure the Republican nomination.

– Nauru cuts ties with Taiwan in favour of Beijing, just days after the DPP’s Lai Ching-te was elected President of Taiwan. Taiwan has accused China of buying Nauru’s switch in diplomatic relations with financial aid.

The 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum begins in Davos, Switzerland. The focus for this year’s meeting is on ‘Rebuilding Trust’, amid a global landscape of increasing division, heightened hostility and a surge in conflicts. 

14 January 2024

– King Frederik X ascends to the throne in Denmark following the abdication of his mother, Queen Margrethe II.

– The death toll in Gaza passes 24,000, on the 100-day anniversary of the October 7th Hamas attack into southern Israel, that killed at least 1,200 people and triggered the devastating Israel-Hamas war. The 100-day anniversary was marked by a commemorative event in Israel, in support of the Israeli hostages that remain in Gaza.

13 January 2024

– In Taiwan, the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) wins its third straight presidency, with president-elect Lai Ching-te defeating opponents from the Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan’s People’s Party (TPP). China had views the DPP as seperatists and criticised the result.

– John Kerry announces he will step down as US Climate Envoy after three years.

12 January 2024

– UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visits Kyiv, Ukraine to sign a new bilateral security pact. Sunak  announced that UK military funding to Ukraine will increase to £2.5 billion in the coming financial year, and that the UK will provide an extra £18 million in aid.

– Houthi leadership reports that five of their fighters have been killed in the US and UK’s military strikes, and warn that the militant group will retaliate and continue their attacks on Red Sea shipping vessels.

11 January 2024

– Two days of public hearings begin at the International Court of Justice, as South Africa presents its case accusing Israel of genocide.

– US and UK forces launch military strikes overnight, targeting 16 Houthi positions, including command centres. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the strikes were a “limited, necessary and proportionate action in self-defence”.

10 January 2024

– US and UK naval forces report an uptick in drone attacks on commercial shipping by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, with the two nations repelling 21 drones and missiles in one night. Since the 19th November, the Iran-backed Houthi’s have reportedly carried out 26 attacks, claiming to be targeting ships ‘linked to Tel Aviv’ in protest at Israeli actions in its war against Hamas.

– The UN Security Council vote to demand an immediate end to the Houthi attacks, and warned of collective action if they continue (Russia and China both abstained).

– A UN helicopter crew is seized in Somalia by al-Shabab, the Somali armed Islamist group that controls large parts of the nation’s centre and south. The insurgency group is affiliated to al-Qaeda and is a powerful player involved in Somalia’s civil war.

– Masked gunmen break into an Ecuadorian broadcaster’s live studio, following days of violence stemming from the President of Ecuador’s order that criminal gangs be “neutralised”.

9 January 2024

– Gabriel Attal is named as France’s next Prime Minister by President Emmanuel Macron, at just age 34, making him the youngest and first-ever openly gay French Prime Minister. 

– The People’s Democratic Party secures the most seats in Bhutan’s parliamentary elections. Former Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay is expected to lead the new liberal government.

– Polish police arrest two MPs in the country’s presidential palace, who were hiding under the protection of President Andrzej Duda after being sentenced to jail for abuse of power when running an anti-corruption office. This unravels amid tensions between President Duda and new Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who is seeking to dismantle and reform the past eight years of rule by the conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS).

8 January 2024

– Bangladesh’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, wins office for a fifth term, in an election overshadowed by a crackdown on opposition, including through intimidation and violence. The opposition – the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) – boycotted the vote and labelled it a ‘sham election’.

– Israel launches strikes against Hezbollah into southern Lebanon, reportedly killing one of its senior commanders and fuelling concerns of contagion to a regional war.

– Australia abandons plans to hold a referendum on replacing King Charles III as its Head of State, stating that it is ‘not a priority’.

– China’s Ministry of State Security announces that it has detained an individual on allegations of spying for Britain’s MI6.

7 January 2024

– Charles Michel announces he will step down as European Council President early, in order to stand in the election for the European Parliament, which will be held in June. The next President must be elected by a majority of the EU’s 27 leaders, and if no successor is found before 1 July, Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, would temporarily hold the presidency.

– Italy’s foreign minister Antonio Tajani announces he wants to form a European Union army to manage peacekeeping across the continent. 

6 January 2024

– US President Biden marks the third anniversary of the January 6th 2021 attack on the US Capitol, calling Trump’s incitement of the violent mob “among the worst derelictions of duty by a president in American history”.

– French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna calls Iranian Minister Abdollahian to demand that Iran and its affiliates immediately cease destabilising actions – in reference to the attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels, based in Yemen and backed by Iran, in what has been termed a revenge campaign against Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. 

5 January 2024

– United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken arrives in the Middle East for the fourth time since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war, hoping to curtail attacks against Palestinian civilians. Blinken will be visiting Israel, in addition to Turkey, Greece, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, amid heightening regional tensions.

4 January 2024

– Former President Donald Trump asks the United States Supreme Court to invalidate the ruling by Colorado’s Supreme Court that stated he was ineligible to be on Colorado’s Presidential Primary ballot. Maine’s Secretary of State has also barred Trump from appearing on Maine’s ballot, and a number of other states are considering following suit. 

3 January 2024

– Saleh al-Arouri, a senior leader of Hamas, is killed in a suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, by an explosion that Lebanon and the United States blamed on Israel. Mr al-Arouri is the most senior Hamas figure to have been killed in the Israel-Hamas war so far, and played a key role in Hamas’ relationships with its regional allies, and in increasing Hamas’ military capabilities.

– Over 90 lives are lost after two bombs are detonated in Kerman, Iran, at the grave of militant leader Qasem Soleimani, on the fourth anniversary of his assassination. Iranian officials initially accused Israel and the United States of being behind the attack, which has since been claimed by the Islamic State.

– Russia and Ukraine exchange hundreds of prisoners of war, in a deal brokered by the United Arab Emirates. It is the biggest prisoner swap since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, with Ukraine receiving 230 prisoners, and releasing 248 Russian soldiers.

2 January 2024

– Israel’s Supreme Court strikes down a controversial judicial reform that would have limited the power of the Israel Supreme Court in overturning laws it deemed unconstitutional. The reform triggered nationwide protests last year, over concerns it would consolidate Prime Minister Netanyahu’s power.

– Lee Jae-myung, the leader of South Korea’s main opposition party, is stabbed in the port city of Busan. South Koreans are sharply divided over the politician, who is widely expected to run for the presidency again at the next general election, having narrowly lost to President Yoon in 2022. Among supporters he is considered a progressive champion, on the side of minorities and lower-income citizens, but his detractors, as well as state prosecutors, have accused him of corruption.

1 January 2024

– BRICS membership is officially extended from 5 to 10 members, with Russia assuming the Presidency for 2024. Russia hopes to use the Presidency to encourage greater foreign policy coordination between members and to strengthen BRICS relations with new partners.

– A string of strong earthquakes are recorded off the north coast of Japan, claiming the lives of 161 people.

Eliza Keogh

Eliza is BFPG's Researcher and Programmes Manager