Weekly Analysis - 8th April

  • 08 Apr 2016 11:40

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 8th April.

To read the full pieces, sign up for a 30-day complimentary trial here or contact the team on GISEnquiries@rm.g4s.com

Azerbaijan/Armenia: Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh threatens regional stability

On 2-3 April, fighting escalated dramatically over the militarised border of the de-facto region of Nagorno-Karabakh, the ethnic Armenian enclave situated inside Azerbaijan. Nagorno-Karabakh domestic officials say 29 of the region’s security forces were killed and more than 100 others injured in the fighting, while Baku says at least 31 of its soldiers were killed. The fighting, which centred upon the Terter and Gapanli regions, is the most severe since the Russia-brokered ceasefire in 1994. While blame and ambiguity continues over the casualty figures, the situation remains fragile. To read more, sign up here

Ukraine:  Panama Papers implicate embattled president

The leak of more than 11 million documents to the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca has implicated Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, putting him in a list of world leaders accused of using offshore companies to manage their assets, launder money and evade tax and sanctions. Although his offence appears, on a preliminary reading, to have been technical in nature, it will weaken the president politically, at a time he is engaging in sensitive horse-trading over the formation of a new cabinet. To read more, sign up here

Iraq:  Increased attacks on northern oil facilities raise concerns over production and infrastructure protection

Since the start of April 2016, oil facilities in northern Iraq have come under increased small arms fire attacks from Islamic State (IS) fighters. On 5 April a suspected vehicle bomb targeted the Khabbaz oil field, 21km south-west of Kirkuk, causing severe damage and sparking a large fire. Kurdish and Iraqi forces have repelled the recent spate of attacks, however, the frequency with which incidents occur raises concerns over oil production and the safety of critical infrastructure and personnel. The recent spike in activity across the Salah al-Din Governorate and Kirkuk area could have a detrimental impact on pre-existing oil exploration contracts, and the continued flow of oil from northern Iraq. To read more, sign up here

Europe: Migrant flows and rise of illiberal democracies to accelerate EU fragmentation

A new macro-level trend of illiberal democracies in post-communist Europe threatens to undermine unity in the EU as Germany’s weakened leader, Angela Merkel, struggles to implement the new migration deal agreed with Turkey. With other factors such as the rising probability of Brexit and a plebiscite in the Netherlands rejecting Ukraine’s association deal with the EU, indicators of a transition towards fragmentation are increasing. The result will contribute to weak confidence in advanced economies, already affected by slowing growth in China and the structural challenges within the Eurozone. The implications for security will be various, but the most serious will be a transition that re-strengthens the nation-state, to the cost of multilateral institutions, particularly those linked to Brussels. To read more, sign up here
Colombia: Government misses peace deal deadline while security deteriorates

After months of high anticipation, the government and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) negotiators failed to meet the self-set deadline of 23 March to reach a peace agreement. Although the delay was unsurprising given the parties’ previous disagreements, it represents a disappointment for the Santos administration, which has recently announced the start of formal talks with another rebel group, the National Liberation Front (ELN). Despite the latest peace efforts, the country’s security environment is going through a period of deterioration as criminal paramilitary organisations intensify their operations. To read more, sign up here

India: Kolkata flyover collapse exemplifies endemic construction shortcomings 

On 31 March, the partially-constructed Vivekananda flyover in the Girish park area of the Burrabazar neighbourhood in central Kolkata collapsed suddenly, killing at least 26 people and wounding some 90 others. A 100m section of the 2km-long flyover gave way soon after workmen finished surfacing part of the structure with concrete, with falling debris crushing pedestrians and motorists on the busy intersection below. The collapse fuels long-standing allegations that parts of the construction sector involve large-scale public works contracts that have been hastily awarded to associates or relatives of local politicians seeking to win support public support ahead of elections. While such firms are able to acquire the necessary building permissions, progress on such projects seldom maintains momentum with use of poor quality materials and lack of adherence to planning regulations and safety standards. To read more, sign up here

Yemen:  AQAP increasingly targeted as peace talks progress

Since Houthi rebels, the Yemeni government and Saudi Arabia began negotiations in March, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes have increasingly targeted al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants. US drone strikes have also increased since late-February, mainly around Mukalla, provincial capital of Hadramawt, seized by the militant group in mid-2015. With peace talks due to commence in Kuwait on 18 April, increased attention is now likely to be paid to AQAP and its territorial acquisitions. A concerted campaign against AQAP will likely result in increased terrorist activity targeting government troops and militias in urban centres, particularly Aden where AQAP now has a sizeable presence. To read more, sign up here