Weekly Analysis - 4 March

  • 04 Mar 2016 10:01
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 4 March.

Europe: EU rifts widen over refugee new normal
The rift between Germany and central and south-eastern EU states has continued to widen, despite a new European Commission plan to grant a €700 million package to Greece and other frontline countries overwhelmed by the ongoing influx of refugees and migrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Led by Austria, EU countries on the south-eastern route from Turkey via the west Balkans have closed their borders, trapping tens of thousands of people in Greece without access to food, sanitation and shelter. Given the length of time the crisis has continued, it is evident that the situation has become a “new normal”, stretching political and cultural differences within the EU towards breaking point. The threat to social stability has been demonstrated in Calais, where rioting has broken out repeatedly as the authorities close down the unrecognised camp known as the “Jungle”. To read more, sign up here

Mexico: Pemex under pressure ahead of deepwater oil fields tender
On 22 February, the Mexican government announced that the long-awaited tender for deepwater oil and gas fields (Phase 4) will take place on 5 December. The decision had been postponed due to concerns that low international oil prices would hinder investor appetite. However, President Enrique Peña Nieto says his administration will go ahead with the so-called “Round One” of tenders, seeking not to undermine the effects of the 2013 energy reform, which opened Mexico’s oil and gas industry to foreign and private investment for the first time in more than 70 years. The announcement has been made at a time in which state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) continues to struggle financially amid a decline in production and fuel theft. To read more, sign up here

Pakistan: Final phase of Operation Zarb-e-Azb commences amid ongoing security concerns
On 24 February, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif announced the commencement of the final phase of Operation Zarb-e-Azb, a joint military offensive conducted by the Pakistani Armed Forces against Islamist insurgents in the North Waziristan Agency (NWA) in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The final phase of the operation, anticipated to take several months to complete, will see security forces attempt to clear militants belonging to Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and associated groups from the Shawal Valley and Datta Khel areas of NWA. Securing the Shawal Valley is of particular strategic importance for the Pakistani military. Militants are known to utilise its densely-forested terrain to facilitate safe transit into Afghanistan, from where attacks on Pakistani soil can be orchestrated. To read more, sign up here

Chad: Civil unrest spikes as President Deby seeks fifth term in office
On 24 February, trade unions and civil society groups organised a nationwide shutdown in protest at President Idriss Deby’s bid for a fifth term in office in an election due to be held on 10 April. The shutdown follows a wave of protests that erupted on 15 February after video footage of the gang rape of a schoolgirl was posted online. Deby has been president since 1990 and the protests constitute some of the most significant unrest Chad has witnessed in his 25-year rule. Civil unrest is likely to continue leading up to the presidential election. However, repression by security forces is highly likely to ensure that Deby maintains his firm grip on power and he is expected to win the election in April, as he has done in four previous occasions. To read more, sign up here

Lebanon: Economic concerns mount as Saudi Arabia targets Hezbollah
Saudi Arabia has opened another confrontational front with Iranian allies in Lebanon after cutting off some USD 4 billion in security-related funding on 22 February. The decision followed the Lebanese government’s failure to condemn attacks on Saudi consulates in Iran in January. Subsequently, on 2 March the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) declared Lebanese-based political party/militia Hezbollah a terrorist organisation, while five of the six GCC countries urged their civilians to leave Lebanon citing safety concerns. The countries accuse Hezbollah of “confiscating the will” of the Lebanese state, highlighting the political rationale behind the bans, rather than safety. The funding withdrawal and diplomatic spat comes amid political and security uncertainty in Lebanon as it remains without a president and suffering from spill-over from the Syrian civil conflict, as concerns are mounting over the wider economic ramifications of the Gulf countries’ measures. To read more, sign up here