Australia joins the squad. Australia is the latest country set to join a U.S.-led mission to protect maritime traffic through critical Middle Eastern waterways, including the Strait of Hormuz. Australia’s deployment will be limited – it will send just one surveillance plane and one frigate, and the frigate won’t deploy for another six months. This reflects both a core tenet of Australian strategy – to keep the world’s dominant naval power close by volunteering for missions marginal to Australian interests – and Canberra’s increasing need to deploy its limited resources closer to home. The coalition is not particularly large – Britain and Bahrain are the only other countries to have joined so far, as many European countries seem reluctant to sign on for another U.S.-led coalition in the Middle East. Iran has criticized the mission, saying regional countries can protect the waterways themselves.

Israeli strikes in Iraq. Israel appears to be extending its anti-Iran operations in Iraq. Iraqi security officials confirmed that there was an explosion on Tuesday at an arms depot connected to an Iran-backed militia north of Baghdad, which is believed to be the second Israeli strike in Iraq in the last eight days. While Israel did not claim responsibility for the attacks, a report from the Times of Israel claimed that the country got approval for the strike from both Russia and the U.S. If true, it would be further evidence that Russia is willing to let Israel pressure Iran to limit its expansion throughout the Middle East.

Competing for control in Mexico. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation, a Mexican militia that controls large swaths of territory in Chiapas state, claimed that it extended its authority to 11 more zones in Chiapas, giving it a total of 43 areas of control. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador responded cautiously, saying the expansion was welcome so long as it was not violent. Domestic security is still a challenge for Mexico, as self-defense groups like the Zapatistas have created obstacles to restoring order in certain parts of the country. Chiapas is also a key part of the route for migrants heading north from Guatemala, and maintaining control of the area is critical to controlling the flow of migrants.

Trump says no to Denmark. U.S. President Donald Trump has canceled a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen after she said Denmark had no desire to sell Greenland to the United States. It was reported last week that Trump had discussed with some of his aides the possibility of purchasing the island. Rhetoric aside, there is a strategic rationale for the U.S. wanting control of Greenland; China has been trying to increase its investment in the island, opening up a new area of strategic competition close to North America.

Honorable Mentions