Weekly Analysis 15th May

  • 13 May 2016 11:03
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 15th May.
Science

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Nigeria: Cuts to amnesty payments comes as fragile Delta settlement weaken 
The government’s budget for 2016 has cut the funding for the amnesty programme for Niger Delta militants by around 70 percent, threatening the viability of a key plank of the peace plan that brought an end to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) insurgency in 2009. The decision to cut the funding, taken partly out of financial necessity after government revenues have taken a major hit as a result of low oil prices, is likely to accelerate the pace of violence in the Delta region, at the same time as a new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), emerges. To read more, sign up here

Libya:  IS advance towards Misrata indicative of growing strength

Islamic State (IS) militants seized control of Abu Grein, a strategic town between Sirte and Misrata, and several surrounding villages, including Baghla, Zamzam, and Abu Najaym, on 5 May, triggering a curfew in Misrata and a general mobilisation of forces. The successful IS takeover of Abu Grein comes as eastern-based Operation Dignity forces have announced plans to launch an offensive to recapture Sirte, while Misratan forces have recently been pictured on social media mobilising on the coastal road to the south of Misrata. Although a united effort will be necessary to oust IS from Sirte and the approximately 250km of surrounding territory, Operation Dignity and Misratan forces are leading separate campaigns, opening up the possibility for clashes between the two sides, on which IS will seek to capitalise. To read more, sign up here

Canada:  Prompt recovery anticipated for oil industry following Alberta wildfire
On 1 May, a wildfire broke out approximately 15km south of the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta’s Athabasca oil sands region, prompting authorities to order the mandatory evacuation of some 88,000 residents. The fire spread rapidly, covering some 2,000 square kilometres and destroying approximately 10 percent of Fort McMurray’s homes. Safety concerns prompted several major oil companies across the region to suspend or scale-back operations, reducing the total number of barrels produced by oil sands producers to an estimated one million per day. While residents have yet to return to Fort McMurray, recent safety assessments indicate that the damage to critical infrastructure is less than initially anticipated. However, given poor air quality and low visibility, it will likely be several weeks until electricity, gas and water are fully restored and residents can return home. To read more, sign up here

Greece: Renewed risk of fiscal and political crisis over reforms  

On 8 May, some 15,000 people marched and protested in central Athens to denounce the pension and tax reforms being debated by the government as part of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Union (EU) demands over Greece’s bailout. The protest prompted the shutdown of central Athens, although attendance was much lower than the 40,000 people who demonstrated against government reforms during a union strike in February. Nevertheless, the recent protest was marred by sporadic violence, with petrol bombs thrown at police. Fourteen people were arrested. The risk of unrest will continue as the government re-engages in negotiations with its unpopular international creditors. To read more, sign up here

Mali: Security forces crack down on high rank jihadist leaders

On 5 May, Malian special forces detained a high ranking jihadist in the Sénou district of Bamako.  The suspect has been identified as Yacouba Toure, second-in-command of the jihadist group Ansar Dine. Toure has been described as the region’s biggest terrorist supplier and logistician, and police have linked him to dozens of high profile attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. His arrest follows the March detention of Souleymane Keitaan, another leading commander in Ansar Dine. Malian security forces have expressed concern over the apparent southern migration of jihadist activity in Mali, emphasised by Toure’s arrest near Bamako. The recent counter-terrorism arrests also highlight the renewed push by West African forces to target the region’s leading jihadists. To read more, sign up here

Nicaragua: Nicaragua Canal triggers unrest  

Sixteen months after the boisterous celebration that marked the official start of the construction of the Nicaragua Canal, opposition to the mega-project, along with scepticism over its feasibility, continues to increase. On 22 April, thousands of people marched in Managua to protest against the project following an agreement between the government and few local residents to indefinitely lease indigenous land for the construction of the transoceanic waterway. Despite President Daniel Ortega’s pledge that the project will bring prosperity to Nicaragua, the evidence so far suggests that the initiative will continue to represent significant political and economic costs.To read more, sign up here 

Poland: Anti-governments protests highlight continued support for the EU
On 7 May, tens of thousands of people gathered in central Warsaw to participate in a pro-Europe protest against the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and its policies. The rally was organised by the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) and supported by several opposition parties, including the Polish People's Party (PSL) and Civic Platform (PO). There were conflicting estimates on the attendance numbers, with Warsaw Mayor and leading opposition figure Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz saying that some 240,000 attended the march, while police put the official number at only 45,000. To read more, sign up here 

Uzbekistan: Cash shortage indicative of regional struggles

Cash shortages in Uzbekistan have escalated in recent months, with reports emerging that state sector employees have not been paid. There are also rumours of insufficient funds to cover pensions and benefit payments. Meanwhile, there have been accusations that available cash is being used for infrastructure projects ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Tashkent in June. Uzbekistan and the wider Central Asia region have been negatively impacted by the decline in oil prices that has placed considerable fiscal pressures on budget revenue. This has resulted in currency volatility and a weak external economic environment. To read more, sign up here