China/Djibouti – China has dispatched its naval forces to the Horn of Africa to set up an army base in Djibouti, where several global players have a military presence. Members of China's People's Liberation Army marked the incident at a ceremony at a naval base in the southern Chinese port of Zhanjiang on the 11 Jul 17 the Chinese Defence Ministry announced on its website. China says it will use the base to assist anti-piracy operations, UN peacekeeping and humanitarian relief missions in Africa and western Asia. Beijing also says it will use the base to facilitate military cooperation and joint exercises, as Chinese navy and other services seek to expand their international presence in line with the country's growing economic and political influence. The Horn of Africa nation, strategically located in the critical entrance from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea, lies at the gateway to the busy Suez Canal waterway and provides a port to neighbouring landlocked Ethiopia. The US, France, Japan and several other countries already have a military presence in Djibouti. In April, US Defence Secretary James Mattis visited Djibouti, which houses Camp Lemonnier, the largest known US military base in the African continent. Mattis also discussed the issue of China's growing influence in Djibouti with officials of the African country. Touted by military experts as one of the most strategically important US military bases abroad, Camp Lemonnier has been dramatically expanded since it was built in 2001. The number of personnel stationed there, for example, has jumped from 900 to 5,000 since 2002. The US has been using a fleet of drones stationed at the base to conduct bombing missions against several Muslim countries in the region. Washington has also deployed a number of drones to the Chabelley Airfield, located some 6 miles (9.5km) to the southwest of Djibouti's capital. China's military base in Djibouti will be established just a few miles from Camp Lemonnier, a decision that Washington says would raise "security concerns." In August 2015, Djibouti had reportedly ordered the US to vacate its secondary Obock military base in the country in a bid to turn over the installation to the Chinese military and its contingent of 10,000 troops. The US Defence Department reportedly paid Djibouti nearly $63 million per year for the use of the Camp Lemonnier military base. However China, reportedly offered Djibouti a far more generous offer, namely the completion of a $3-billion railroad project from the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to Djibouti. The West is concerned that closer ties between Djibouti and China may prompt the African country to impose restrictions on US access to the Camp Lemonnier base, which the US uses to collect intelligence on terrorist groups in the region.
Indonesia/Terrorism – Indonesia is blocking web versions of the encrypted Telegram instant messaging app and will ban the app completely if it continues to be a forum for propaganda and calls for violence, officials said. In a statement on the evening of the 14 Jul 17 the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said it has asked internet companies to block access to 11 addresses that the web version is available through. "This has to be done because there are many channels on this service that are full of radical and terrorist propaganda, hatred, ways to make bombs, how to carry out attacks, disturbing images, which are all in conflict with Indonesian law," the ministry said in a statement on its website. Samuel Pangerapan, the director general of informatics applications at the ministry, said they are preparing for the complete closure of Telegram in Indonesia if it does not develop procedures to block unlawful content. The move comes amid heightened concerns over the growing presence and influence of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant in Southeast Asia. Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has seen a resurgence in attacks, inspired in large part by ISIL; a twin suicide bombing at a Jakarta bus station in May killed three police officers and wounded several others. The partial block has sparked public outcry in Indonesia, with Twitter and Facebook exploding with negative comments and some people reporting they were unable to access the web.telegram.org domain. Indonesians are among of the world's biggest users of social media. Telegram did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Founded in 2013 by Russian brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, the application is a free messaging service that can be used as a smartphone app and on computers through a web interface or desktop messenger. Pavel Durov, Telegram's founder, in a tweet on the 14 Jul 17 called the block "strange". "[W]e have never received any requests/complaints from the Indonesian government," he said. Suspected fighters arrested by Indonesian police recently have told authorities that they have communicated with fellow members of their group via Telegram and received orders and directions to carry out attacks through the app, including from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian with the ISIL group in Syria accused of orchestrating several attacks in the past 18 months. Its strong encryption has contributed to its popularity with those concerned about privacy and secure communications in the digital era but also made it useful to armed groups and other criminal groups.
Turkey/Da’esh – Turkish police killed five Islamic State militants in a raid on a house in the central city of Konya on the 12 Jul 17 and four police were slightly wounded, the provincial governor's office said. Special Forces police launched the operation at the house in the Meram district of the city at 0515 hrs local (0215 hrs GMT) because they believed the militant cell was planning an attack, the private Dogan news agency said. It said there were suspicions that those killed may have been planning to target events being held this week to commemorate the first anniversary of an attempted military coup in Turkey on July 15. The operation was launched as part of security measures to protect buildings along routes used by military vehicles and the raid on the house was launched in search of a wanted Islamic State militant, the Konya governor's office statement said. A gunfight broke out after those in the house resisted the police and five Kalashnikov rifles, a pistol and ammunition were seized during the raid, it added. Work was continuing to identify those killed. Police sealed off the area and approaching vehicles were searched after the clash, which occurred during raids conducted by the police on 10 different addresses in Konya, Dogan said. Ankara has detained more than 5,000 Islamic State suspects and deported some 3,290 foreign militants from 95 different countries in recent years, according to Turkish officials.