Weekly Analysis 8th January

  • 08 Jan 2016 11:45

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 8 January.

Saudi Arabia:  Cleric’s execution heightens sectarian rivalry in the region 

Protests have erupted across Muslim countries in the wake of Saudi Arabia’s announcement it had executed 47 people charged with terrorism offences on 2 January, including prominent Shi’a cleric Nimr al-Nimr. Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Bahrain have severed diplomatic ties with Iran after protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on 2 January, largely destroying the building. As well as protests, the executions have triggered criticism from religious and state leaders across the region, including Iran and Iraq. Former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has equated the executions with supporting Islamic State (IS), while Lebanese-based party-cum-militia Hezbollah has called it an assassination. Most anger is focused on the execution of Nimr, rather than the number of beheadings and shootings that took place on 2 January, highlighting the continued permeation of sectarian discourse in framing conflicts and relationships in the region. To read more, sign up here

Germany: New Year’s Eve assaults increase xenophobic tensions

A mass of seemingly coordinated sexual assaults and thefts targeting women on New Year’s Eve in Cologne has triggered a rise in anti-migrant sentiment. Further incidents were reported in Hamburg and Stuggart, albeit to a lesser extent. Reports suggest a crowd of up to 1,000 men described as being of “Arabic or North African origin” massed around Cologne’s main square and train station and carried out the assaults in groups of 20-30, targeting lone women and couples. Some 90 criminal complaints have been made to Cologne police, while a further 30 have been recorded in Hamburg. To read more, sign up here

Brazil:  President Rousseff’s impeachment process increases political instability 

The year 2016 is likely to be a difficult one for Dilma Rousseff’s presidency. While the Brazilian leader continues to struggle to limit the consequences of economic recession and widespread mistrust amid corruption scandals, the current call by the opposition to impeach her has caused fractures within her party and raises the risk of political violence in the months ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics. To read more, sign up here

Libya: Islamic State seeks to seize oil reserves

Fires are continuing to burn in Es Sider and Ras Lanuf on the Libyan coast after Islamic State (IS) militants launched an offensive against a number of key oil terminals in the oil ports on 4 January. Clashes continued into 7 January, as the militants used heavy weaponry and tanks to fire artillery at storage facilities and set oil tanks on fire, before ultimately being repelled by forces loyal to a local militia commander and pushed back to Ben Jawad, 30km to the west. To read more, sign up here

Nepal: Instability unlikely to abate despite promise of constitutional amendments

On 22 December 2015, Nepal announced that amendments would be made to its recently promulgated constitution, so as to make concessions to protesting ethnic groups. Members of the ethnic Madhesi community have held violent demonstrations across the Terai region on Nepal’s southern border with India for the past four months to protest their alleged political subjugation. The protests have led to political impasse in the country, obstructing key Indian supply routes and severely impeding the Nepalese economy, which is heavily reliant on bilateral trade.  Revisions to the constitution are not anticipated to fully alleviate the unrest in the Terai, however, owing to internal disagreements within Madhesi groups over the inclusivity of the proposed changes. To read more, sign up here

Tanzania: Newly-elected president faces resistance to anti-corruption campaign

After his election victory last October, President John Pombe Magufuli shocked many in Tanzania by the pace of his decisions. He won praise by launching an anti-corruption drive against officials linked to his ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, and has appointing a former World Bank economist as his new finance minister. However, much as any moves against deep-seated corruption will be welcomed by investors and the public, the newly-elected government has yet to tackle one of the most serious challenges facing it. After a disputed election, the islands of Zanzibar have been in a state of political crisis since last year’s election, to which no end is in sight. To read more, sign up here