Weekly Analysis 18th December

  • 18 Dec 2015 15:23

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 18 December.

Iraq:  Dispute over Turkish troop deployment highlights fragility of anti-IS coalition

On 11 December, leading Iraqi Shi’a cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani called on the government to treat any violation of Iraq’s sovereignty with “no tolerance”. The speech, delivered by an aide during a sermon at Friday prayers in Najaf, comes as tensions heighten between Turkey and Iraq over the deployment of a Turkish unit in Bashiqa, Ninewa province. The issue highlights the continued lack of unity among coalition members and the high potential for fall outs as several states involved in the coalition compete for influence, hoping to make political gains when IS is eventually driven from the bulk of its territory, especially in northern Iraq. To read more, sign up here

Thailand: Militant threat emerges following leaked memo 

On 4 December, a leaked police memo circulated on social media suggesting that up to 10 Syrian Islamic State (IS) militants had entered Thailand with plans to launch attacks against Russian tourists in several resort cities. The memo appears to show warnings from Russia's Federal Security Service about the suspects’ movements. Thailand's Interpol director, Police Major General Apichart Suribunya, says there is no credible threat of attack from the suspected IS members believed to have entered the country. Authorities have since released three out of four Syrians detained for overstaying their visa. Although Thailand is not involved in bombing campaigns against IS in Iraq and Syria, many Western countries have interests in Thailand that could be targeted. To read more, sign up here

Cuba: First anniversary of diplomatic rapprochement 

A year ago, the US and Cuba announced the start of a diplomatic rapprochement for the first time in more than 50 years of political tensions. The unprecedented move has led to a series of bilateral agreements on topics of mutual interest, including environmental protection and the recently-announced restoration of a direct postal service. However, the number of major challenges remaining demonstrates that the normalisation of relations is a long process, vulnerable to setbacks. To read more, sign up here

Djibouti Opposition wins majority in National Assembly 

China has announced plans to build its first military installation overseas in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, which is due for completion by 2017. According to a Chinese foreign ministry official, the naval logistics base will “help China's navy and army further participate in UN peacekeeping operations, carry out escort missions in the waters near Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, and provide humanitarian assistance”. The decision amounts to a major development in Chinese foreign policy, both in economic and military terms. To read more, sign up here

France: Paris attacks pose long term financial concerns 

The immediate fallout from the 13 November terrorist attacks in Paris focused on the collateral damage and those who committed the attacks, with a myriad of connections made to jihadist networks in France and Belgium. Moreover, investigations into the attackers’ past suggested strong links with Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq. While further details are still emerging, including the possible whereabouts of Salah Abdeslam, one of the attackers who remains at large, attention has now turned to the financial impact of the attacks. To read more, sign up here

South Africa: Investor confidence in Zuma shaken by Finance Minister's dismissal

President Jacob Zuma’s decision to hire a third finance minister in the space of week has accelerated the decline in investor confidence in South Africa’s leadership. There are growing concerns that a recession is approaching next year. Zuma’s decision to replace the respected Nhlanhla Nene with an unknown backbencher with no financial experience, before relenting to pressure and re-appointing the finance minister from 2009-2014, Pravin Gordhan, has damaged expectations for future policy-making. A key source of concern is the continued deterioration of relations between the corporate sector and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party. As the value of the rand plummets and electricity shortages continue, it will become steadily more difficult for the government to restore economic credibility, increasing the risk from security challenges related to political stability and good governance. To read more, sign up here

US: Home-grown radicalisation and the role of social media 

The rise of Islamic State (IS) since 2014 has prompted an escalation in US home-grown radicalisation. This increase is highlighted by the killing of 14 people on 2 December in San Bernardino, California. Measuring the scale of radicalisation in the US is difficult, and intelligence officials concede that exact numbers of domestic extremists are unknown. The Centre for National Security announced that between March 2014 and June 2015, some 56 individuals were charged in federal courts for directly supporting IS and three additional suspects were killed during operations. 81 percent of these cases have involved US citizens, and 17 out of the 59 cases related to domestic terrorist plots. Between March-December 2014, an average of one IS-related arrest was made a month. This figure increased to seven arrests a month between January-June 2015. Therefore, statistics suggest that IS-related activity in the US has increased in frequency. To read more, sign up here