Weekly Analysis 15 January

  • 15 Jan 2016 12:50
The G4S Risk Analysis team produces weekly risk analysis pieces on current events pertinent to security and business operations. Please see below for excerpts of our weekly analysis for the week ending 15 January.
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Turkey:  Istanbul bombing illustrates threat to tourism sector 
On 12 January, 10 foreign nationals were killed and 15 other people injured when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul. The blast occurred near the Obelisk of Theodosius and the German Fountain, two popular tourist attractions, and within close distance to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace; three of Istanbul’s most iconic tourist locations. Reports suggest the bomber was a Saudi Arabian or Syrian national who had crossed into Turkey whilst posing as a refugee. To read more, sign up here

Mexico: Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s recapture leaves unanswered questions 
A mass of seemingly coordinated sexual assaults and thefts targeting women on New Year’s Eve in Cologne has triggered a rise in anti-migrant sentiment. Further incidents were reported in Hamburg and Stuggart, albeit to a lesser extent. Reports suggest a crowd of up to 1,000 men described as being of “Arabic or North African origin” massed around Cologne’s main square and train station and carried out the assaults in groups of 20-30, targeting lone women and couples. Some 90 criminal complaints have been made to Cologne police, while a further 30 have been recorded in Hamburg. To read more, sign up here

India:  Pathankot airbase attack disturbs India-Pakistan peace process  
An attack by a squad of suicide commandos against the Pathankot airbase in Punjab killed seven Indian security personnel on 2 January. Embarrassing the authorities, it took over a day for all of the attackers to be rooted out from a hangar. Although the militants have not been formally identified, it is evident that the assault  constituted an attempt to derail the latest round of peace talks between India and Pakistan that followed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit on the birthday of his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, on 25 December. However, Pakistan’s serious response to India’s accusations suggests that the terrorist attack will fail to derail his attempt to improve relations between the two nuclear-armed states. To read more, sign up here

Iraq: Declining tourist revenues hit by more attacks 
There are strong concerns that the spring rains and snowmelt will swell the Tigris River and put pressure onto Mosul Dam, potentially leading to its collapse. The resulting disaster could kill up to 500,000 people in the path of 11-12 billion cubic metres of floodwaters, destroying crops, roads, bridges and homes and leaving another million homeless. The waters would sweep through the jihadist stronghold of Mosul and downstream through Tikrit, Samarra and Baghdad, potentially affecting the International Zone (IZ). According to this projected worst-case scenario, Mosul would drown under up to 20m of water and Baghdad, several days later, under 4.6m of water laden with debris, pesticides and corpses, spreading disease and destroying both the supply of clean water and the irrigation of crops. To read more, sign up here

Egypt: Declining tourist revenues hit by more attacks 
With the Egyptian tourism industry still reeling from the October 2015 downing of a Russian passenger plane over the Sinai Peninsula, two more alleged terrorist attacks have targeted tourists from 7-9 January. Gunmen opened fire at tourists boarding a coach outside the Three Pyramids Hotel near the Great Pyramid in Cairo on 7 January. Two days later in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, three tourists were injured by two assailants with knives at the Bella Vista hotel complex. Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the Cairo attack, but doubts remain over the nature of the Hurghada attack with social media posts and the hotel indicating that it was not terrorism-related, while official security sources claim the men were carrying IS flags. No matter the nature of the attacks, they will serve to further hinder the tourism sector and highlight the increasing operational capacity of Sinai-based insurgency groups.  To read more, sign up here

Afghanistan: Talks aim to revive Afghan-Taliban peace process 

On 11 January delegates from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States met in Islamabad for talks aimed at reviving the peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban. However the group itself, divided by factional infighting, did not attend the one-day meeting, and will also not participate in the second meeting between the countries on 18 January. The ultimate aim of these talks is to restart direct negotiations between the Taliban leaders and the Afghan government, in an attempt to persuade the group to pursue their political goals in a peaceful manner. Pakistan, for its close links with the Taliban, will be the key player in bringing the group’s leaders to the negotiation table. After the conclusion of the recent talks, Pakistan continues to insist that incentives, rather than threats of military action, will lead to the resumption of negotiations. To read more, sign up here

Uganda: Museveni to remain in power after upcoming presidential election 

The presidential poll due to be held on 18 February will see President Yoweri Museveni seek re-election for a fifth term in office after 30 years in office. Seven opposition candidates are standing against Museveni, but he is expected to win the election due to the ruling National Resistance Movement’s (NRM) dominant position in Ugandan politics and the weakness of opposition parties. While the election has the appearance of a genuine multiparty process, the government and the security forces continue to repress the opposition, civil society and the media in Uganda. The election will be mostly peaceful, but increasing civil unrest leading up to the vote will see sporadic episodes of election-related violence and heavy-handed responses by the police at political rallies. To read more, sign up here