Weekly Analysis - 1 July

  • 01 Jul 2016 13:00
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 1 July.
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Turkey: Istanbul attack indicates challenge of securing airports

The success of the terrorist attack on Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IST) in hitting a target-hardened and high-security facility underscores the difficulty of protecting airports. The airport’s tactical approach was that seen at most airports around the world, in which body checks are carried out at the entry to arrivals terminals. In Istanbul, a light guard presence oversees the first scanning point, but vehicles are not subjected to security checks unless they are deemed high-risk. In contrast, airports like Heathrow, in London, now seek to manage expectations by explicitly stating that airport security is about “when” and not “if” an attack occurs, while views on the usefulness of early security scans remain divided. To read more, sign up here

UK: Brexit fallout leaves political flux

On 23 June, British voters chose for the UK to leave the European Union by a slim majority of 51.9 percent. Though there have been efforts from a number of key actors to protect economic stability, the political system has entered a phase of volatility as the ramifications of the momentous decision play out. The prime minister, David Cameron, has announced his resignation with a new Conservative Party leader and prime minister due to be selected by September. Furthermore, the opposition Labour Party is also undergoing major turbulence as its far-left leader, Jeremy Corbyn, refuses to step down in the face of the opposition of his own members of parliament. The next prime minister may yet decide to call a general election before 2020. Amid the domestic fallout, there is no plan to negotiate the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU, which is causing volatility in the financial markets and has sent the pound’s value downwards. To read more, sign up here

Colombia:  Government and FARC sign ceasefire agreement

On 23 June, President Juan Manuel Santos and the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group, Rodrigo Londoño “Timochenko”, announced the signing of a bilateral ceasefire agreement in Havana, where peace talks have taken place in the past four years. During a ceremony attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Santos confirmed that FARC will lay down arms, marking one of the most crucial steps towards the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement, which the government expects to reach by Independence Day on 20 July. To read more, sign up here

Belgium: Recent arrests suggest presence of more embedded Europe-wide terror network

Belgium remains on high alert following several terror-related arrests and threats in recent weeks. On 18 June, Belgian authorities charged three men with terror-related offences following the arrests of 12 suspects during a series of raids on 17 June. The raids were conducted after police obtained intelligence that an attack was being planned at Place Rogier, a square in central Brussels, on 18 June, where several thousand football fans gathered to watch the UEFA Euro 2016 football match between Belgium and Ireland. To read more, sign up here

Nigeria: Expatriate kidnappings highlight high-risk operating environment in southern Nigeria

The kidnapping of five foreign workers and two Nigerians in Nigeria’s southern Cross River State on 22 June highlights the ongoing risk to international organisations operating in the region. Australian mining firm Macmahon has since confirmed that all seven men have been released, however, the violent tactics used by the abductors emphasises the vulnerability of personnel in southern Nigeria. The kidnapping occurred in the border city of Calabar, involving 30 armed militants ambushing a four-vehicle convoy. The identity of the group involved is still unclear, however, Nigeria’s southern border region harbours multiple criminal groups, and militant networks. In light of the incident, companies should review security plans to account for the risk of kidnapping gangs staging attacks even on convoys with armed police guards, known locally as Mopols, which carry weapons as private security companies are not permitted to do so. To read more, sign up here

Israel/Turkey: Diplomatic rapprochement heralds bilateral economic boon

On 28 June, Israel and Turkey formally announced a normalisation of relations following six years of hostility stemming from a lethal raid on a Turkish-led aid flotilla, bound for the Gaza Strip, by Israeli forces in 2010. The normalisation of relations will see Israel issue a formal apology for the raid, provide compensation to the families of the ten victims and permit Ankara to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. While Israel refuses to lift its naval blockade of Gaza, the agreement will see Turkish vessels granted special permission to dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod in order to transport aid. The deal will also see Israel authorise Turkish investments across the Palestinian Territories. Israel is set to reap the commercial benefits of the deal, likely striking an export deal with Turkey for natural gas from its largest field. To read more, sign up here

Malaysia: Arrest of opposition politician over alleged corruption indicative of government clampdown

On 29 June, officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) arrested the secretary general of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) and chief minister in Penang, Lim Guan Eng, on suspicion of corruption. The arrest relates to a property purchase made in July 2015. The businesswoman who sold the property, Phang Li Koon, has also been arrested. DAP are condemning the arrest as politically motivated and it raises wider concerns over government autocracy in Malaysia. To read more, sign up here

Jordan: Rukban attack highlights anti-IS coalition vulnerabilities

Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack near al-Rukban refugee camp on the north-east border with Syria on 21 June, which killed six Jordanian border guards. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, authorities declared the north and north-east border zones as military zones, clamping down further on movement in the area. The bomb attack is a stark reminder of the regional threat from wars in Syria and Iraq, particularly those neighbouring countries with large refugee populations, as well as the heightened threat for countries involved in the US-led coalition against IS. To read more, sign up here