Weekly Analysis 5th August

  • 05 Aug 2016 13:25

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 5th August.


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


Syria: Rebel offensive in Aleppo unlikely to prevent impending humanitarian disaster

On 31 July, an alliance of rebel groups launched a major offensive against government troops and their allies from the south-west of Aleppo, aiming to break the siege of the city. The offensive comes after government forces, bolstered by the increased involvement of Iranian-backed militias and Russian airstrikes, encircled Aleppo from the north, cutting all supply lines to rebel-held areas. The Syrian regime and Russia have promised to open humanitarian corridors to allow civilians and rebel fighters to leave, provided they abandon their weapons. The rebel offensive is indicative of the symbolic resonance of Aleppo. Regime forces will continue to besiege the rebel-held areas to force capitulation, even at the cost of a major humanitarian disaster. To read more, sign up here

India:  Gujarat Dalit protests reflect burgeoning anti-caste resistance

On 20 July, protests broke out across Gujarat in western India following an attack on four low-caste men by a cow-protection vigilante group in Una on 18 July. The victims of the attack were Dalits, the lowest group in the Hindu caste system, and were accused of killing and dismembering a cow. Members of the Dalit caste are commonly tasked with collecting and disposing of cow corpses under an official government mandate, as well as working in the tanning and beef industries. Thousands of Dalits blocked roads and set fire to buses in towns and cities across the state, prompting security personnel to use tear gas and baton charges to disperse the crowds. At least one person, reported to be a police officer, has been killed and several others wounded. The Gujarat protests, coupled with the promise of further agitation by Dalit leaders, is emblematic of a growing disquiet over the inequities of the caste system, in which some 180 million people are categorised as untouchable, or belonging to a “backwards caste”. To read more, sign up here

UK: North Sea oil workers strike amid UK energy industry job cuts

On 26 July, some 400 members of the Unite and RMT labour unions, who work for oil services firm Wood Group, took part in a 24-hour strike on seven Shell-owned oil platforms in the North Sea. This is the first strike action in the North Sea offshore oil industry in 28 years, highlighting the strain that ongoing low oil prices have placed on the oil industry. North Sea jobs have been hit particularly hard in the last several years, as the mature oil fields make it one of the highest-cost regions in the world. Industry estimates suggest some 40,000 jobs will be lost across the oil and gas sector in the UK by the end of 2016, following a cut of some 80,000 jobs in 2015. To read more, sign up here

Afghanistan: Afghan security forces losing battle for Helmand province

The Afghan Taliban launched a major offensive on Khanashin district on 29 July, killing hundreds of Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers and consolidating recent territorial gains in the south of Helmand province. The offensive is symptomatic of the wider security situation in Helmand, where local officials estimate the Taliban control almost 60 percent of territory. The Taliban now controls at least five out of Helmand’s 14 districts, including Khanashin, Marjah, Sangin, Garmser and Dishu, and recent militant operations suggest Nad-e-Ali, which neighbours the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, could yet fall into the hands of militants. In addition to injuries, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are suffering mass desertions and defections. Endemic corruption within Afghanistan’s security institutions and a lack of coordination between the provincial security branches are major contributing factors to the Taliban’s recent successes in Helmand. To read more, sign up here

El Salvador: Raids against MS-13 gang expose developed criminal network 

On 27 July, Salvadoran authorities conducted a large-scale nationwide operation against the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang. Unlike previous raids, this was the first major operation targeting the group’s financial structure, seeking to destabilise the gang from the top, rather than focusing on low-profile ranks. The raid has evidenced that MS-13’s power and influence extends well beyond street criminal activity, with the gang operating more like an organised criminal syndicate with a well-developed profit model that continues to enrich the ring’s leadership at the expense of an ongoing fight against rival gangs and the police forces. To read more, sign up here

Ethiopia: Oromo and Amhara protests indicate resentment towards political system

In recent months, the long period of relative peace brought by Ethiopia’s stable but authoritarian political system has been broken by a series of protests by two of its larger ethnic groups, who feel marginalised from the governing class. These incidences of unrest suggest that a major proportion of the country’s population is coming to resent the failure to share the new wealth obtained through Ethiopia’s expansive growth rate, particularly as the security-intelligence nexus at the helm of the ruling  Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) prevents a credible opposition from emerging. In the absence of serious alternatives, those who oppose the status quo have no recourse but mass protests in order to effect political change. If the authorities continue to rely on repression to manage dissent, the risk of unpredictable phases of unrest will continue to undermine confidence in the country’s long-term future. To read more, sign up here