Weekly Analysis 29th July

  • 29 Jul 2016 14:16
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 29 July.
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Brazil: Security concerns persist ahead of Rio 2016 Olympic Games

On 21 July, authorities arrested 10 suspects accused of planning a terrorist attack during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, due to commence on 5 August. The detentions, which took place in different locations in Parana and Sao Paulo states, followed by two more detentions in Mato Grosso, have raised international concern over the heightened risk of a terrorist attack in Rio during the sporting event. However, although the threat from organised terrorist groups is high given the media attention that the Games attract and the large volume of people attending these events, recent police operations and high-profile incidents highlight that lone wolf attacks and crime remain the most relevant threats in Rio de Janeiro. To read more, sign up here

Germany: Recent attacks pose counter-terrorism challenge

Germany has experienced four terrorist attacks since 18 July, including an axe attack carried out by an Afghan teenager on a train in Wuerzburg. Bavaria, a single active shooting in a Munich shopping centre on 22 July that left nine people dead,a suicide bombing at a music festival in Ansbach on 24 July, which injured 15 people, and a machete attack in Reutlingen on 24 July, which left one person dead and two injured. The attacks have increased anxiety over the terrorism threat linked to Islamist violent extremism in Germany, particularly from so-called “lone wolf” actors who carry out attacks with easily accessible and crude materials, including bladed weapons and tools. To read more, sign up here

US:  Russian DNC hack reveals both dangerous implications and ineptitude

Conclusive forensic evidence indicates that the data stolen from the servers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the body tasked with organising the Democratic Party’s convention, was orchestrated by Russian intelligence agencies. The stolen data was handed over to Wikileaks, which in turn published them to media outlets, setting off a minor political scandal as the DNC was confirmed to have failed to act as a neutral arbiter in the competition between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, forcing the resignation of its chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. For Russia to have been directly meddling in a foreign election using sophisticated hacking techniques has worrying implications for the future of political campaigns, most of all in Europe. Nevertheless, that the hackers were flagrantly caught in the act reveals both their incompetence and the power of combined private and crowd-sourced investigations into cyber-security breaches. To read more, sign up here

Mali: Kidal clashes highlight continued barriers to implementing2015 peace accord  

On 21-22 July, fighting broke out between government-loyal militia the Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self-Defence Group (GATIA) fighters and Tuareg rebels from the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) in the northern Tuareg stronghold of Kidal. At least 20 people were killed, and more than 40 others were injured, as opposing groups opened fire on each other near a market area. The escalation in violence could endanger the UN-backed Algiers Peace Accord which was signed by both sides in June 2015. The UN-backed proposal was aimed at establishing security in the north, allowing government forces to focus on driving jihadist groups out of the north-eastern provinces. The resurgence in violence highlights the continued disconnect between the residents of Kidal, and forces loyal to the government based in Bamako. The possibility of a ceasefire breakdown could also leave northern Mali vulnerable to another take over by jihadist groups. To read more, sign up here

North Korea: Pyongyang increasingly defiant over nuclear programme

On 6 July, the US announced a new round of sanctions on North Korea in response to continued missile and nuclear-weapons testing, and alleged human rights abuses. The sanctions apply directly on leader Kim Jong-un and his closest advisers, freezing any assets in the US and prohibiting US entities from conducting business with them. The sanctions follow the predictable cycle of North Korean rhetoric and tests, followed by the threat of sanctions by the international community. Pyongyang’s nuclear programme has typically been used to extract concessions or aid; however, it is increasingly stubborn in the face of trading it away for economic support. To read more, sign up here

Bahrain: Wefaq ban highlights growing regional crackdown on Shi’a minority

On 17 July, a Bahraini court ordered the dissolution of the country’s main opposition parliamentary bloc, al-Wefaq, its key organisation representing its Shi'a majority. The court also ordered the group’s assets be seized. The dissolution comes one month after the government suspended all of al-Wefaq’s activities to “safeguard the security of the kingdom” at the same time as it revoked the citizenship of a senior Shi’a cleric, Ayatollah Isa Qassim. The Bahraini government’s advancing persecution of its Shi’a majority highlights the predominance of repression as a means to address dissent. The approach may well backfire as the threat of an intensification of protests and further militarisation of the opposition is high. To read more, sign up here