Weekly Analysis 2nd September

  • 02 Sep 2016 11:17
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 2 September.
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Uzbekistan: Ailing president’s health sets off succession contest

There has been a major upsurge in rumours about the status of the leadership of the opaque regime in Uzbekistan ever since the government stated on 28 August that President Islam Karimov has been hospitalised for an undisclosed ailment, later described by his family as a brain haemorrhage. In the absence of verifiable information, there is heavy speculation about what is taking place behind closed doors. As Karimov is the only leader the country has had since the fall of the Soviet Union, it is clear Uzbekistan has entered a new phase of uncertainty. Karimov has systematically repressed dissent and any opposition to his rule has been arrested, exiled or executed. To read more, sign up here

Colombia: Government and FARC announce comprehensive peace agreement

On 24 August, the Colombian government announced the reaching of a comprehensive peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest Marxist rebel group. After four years of negotiations, the deal aims at ending more than five decades of armed conflict, which has left more than 220,000 registered deaths, some 45,000 disappeared and eight million collateral victims, including almost six million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Although the unprecedented announcement has brought high optimism, a series of obstacles remain before the government can claim it has officially achieved peace for the country. To read more, sign up here

Syria: Turkey’s ground offensive straining counter-IS offensives

The US has warned Turkey to focus its attacks on Islamic State (IS) militants and not Kurdish groups in the areas around Jarablus as Turkish forces continue their ground offensive in northern Syria. Turkish troops entered Syrian territory on 24 August under US-led coalition air cover. IS retreated from Jarablus, but Turkish forces have reportedly clashed with Kurdish militia in the area, raising concerns that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s main focus is on preventing the spread of Kurdish influence and control on the Syrian border, rather than tackling the IS terrorist threat. To read more, sign up here

Afghanistan: Kabul American University attack reflects soft target vulnerability

On 24 August, three gunmen stormed the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, killing at least 13 people and wounding more than 50 others. Mirroring tactics used in previous attacks in the capital, insurgents used a car bomb to breach the outer wall of the university compound at around 1900hrs local time, before opening fire on students and staff. Following a 10-hour siege, Afghan security forces, aided by NATO military advisers, were able to free around 700 students and kill the attackers. The attack comes shortly after suspected Taliban militants kidnapped two members of the university staff, fuelling concerns that insurgents are increasingly targeting civilians. To read more, sign up here

Kosovo: Concerns escalate over nationalist-inspired violence

On 28 August, a grenade exploded in the courtyard of the home of Mentor Shala, the general director of Radio Television of Kosovo (RTK), in Pristina. The blast caused physical damage, but no injuries. The incident comes a week after a similar attack was launched against the RTK head offices in Pristina, which again caused physical damage, but no injuries. Both attacks have been claimed by the nationalist activist group, Rugovasit, which is named after the Rugova mountains in the disputed border area with Montenegro. To read more, sign up here

Somalia: Recent al-Shabaab attacks indicative of resilient insurgency

A spate of recent mass-casualty attacks by al-Shabaab, the Somali al-Qaeda affiliate, has refocused attention on the resilient insurgency at the same time as it faces a host of setbacks on multiple domestic fronts. On 25 August, militants attacked a restaurant close to the Turkish embassy on the Lido beach in Mogadishu killing at least nine people, including civilians, security forces and government officials. The attack followed a coordinated car bombing outside government buildings in the divided city of Galkayo that killed 20 people, as the militant group continues to exploit Somalia’s fractured and volatile clan-based political system. At the same time as it faces a challenging outlook at home, al-Shabaab’s leaders are continuing to drive for an expansion beyond Somalia and into neighbouring Ethiopia and Kenya, whose governments and electorates are showing less and less appetite for the sustained counter-insurgency campaign needed to defeat the jihadists. To read more, sign up here

Italy: Inadequate construction exacerbates devastating effects of earthquake

On 24 August, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck near Accumoli in Lazio region, resulting in at least 290 deaths. Although the Central Apennines is a well-known seismically active area in the country, with a major active fault line running under the mountain range, the extensive damage and high number of casualties caused by the earthquake has attracted international attention, focused on the construction of buildings in the towns and villages affected. Similar concerns were raised in the aftermath of the deadly 2009 earthquake, which struck just 30km south of Accumoli, near L'Aquila in Abruzzo region, with the public questioning how much poor building construction contributed to the high death toll. To read more, sign up here