Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 42

Headlines From The Week

  • Chinese Communist Party Congress – Over 2,000 senior delegates from China’s ruling Communist Party gathered for their five-yearly Party Congress. This has been marked by a significant increase in security measures in Beijing. All signs so far point to a solidification of power around President Xi, with no discernible signs of dissent which could represent potential for unrest.
  • Kirkuk Seized by Iraqi Army – Iraqi federal troops, supported by Iranian-backed Shia militias, retook Kirkuk from the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. Only one brief exchange of fire was reported during the initial phase of the operation, Kurdish forces otherwise withdrew peacefully. On 20 October 2017, further fighting was reported in the Alton Kupri area, north of the city. The cause of this incident remains unclear. Up to 100,000 ethnically Kurdish civilians fled the city as the Peshmerga withdrew, fearing ethnic violence from the Shia militias. This exodus is likely to cause disruption in other Kurdish cities, particularly Erbil. The Iraqi army has been ordered not advance further than the pre- 2003 border of the Kurdish Autonomous Region.
  • Somali Hotel Attack – A truck-borne suicide bomb struck a hotel near the foreign ministry in Mogadishu, killing over 300 people, and wounding a further 400. Officials indicate that the attack was carried out by the Islamist insurgent group, Al Shabaab, although the group has not claimed responsibility for the attack. It is likely that the attacker sought to strike the foreign ministry building, and may not have intended to inflict vast civilian casualties.
  • Extensive Wildfires in Portugal and Spain – Large wildfires have spread throughout northern Portugal and Spain. They are believed to have been intentionally set by arsonists and exacerbated by an abnormally dry summer. Present estimates place the death-toll for this set of fires at 44. Travel in the affected areas has been heavily disrupted and extensive evacuations were implemented where the fires threatened inhabited areas.
  • Mersin IED Attack – An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated against a bus carrying Turkish police officers in Mersin on 17 October, injuring 17 police officers and one civilian. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but officials have indicated that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) insurgent group are most likely to have carried out the attack.
  • Church Attack and Bank Robbery in Sinai – Islamist insurgents opened fire on security personnel near the Church of Saint George in El Arish, Egypt on 16 October. A second group then attacked a nearby bank, whilst security forces were distracted, and emptied the safe. Officials reported that seven people were killed and 15 wounded during the combined attack.

What To Look Out For Next Week

  • Kenya Unrest – Kenya’s President Kenyatta has insisted that the presidential election will continue to go ahead on 26 October 2017, despite his main opponent pulling out of the race. Political rallies and protests have continued across the country, both to demonstrate support for the two main parties, and to protest against perceived irregularities in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. This unrest is highly likely to continue and escalate up to, and beyond, the election date with the main opposition party calling for protests. Protests in Kenya regularly turn violent.
  • Thai Royal Funeral – Bangkok is to host the five-day long state funeral for King Bhumibol from 25 to 29 October, following more than a year of official mourning. The event is being replicated across the country by 85 scaleddown versions of the ceremony, and is likely to attract high attendance from Thai citizens. Provision of services is highly likely to be disrupted throughout the country.
  • Tropical storm Lan – The Japanese mainland is likely to be struck by Tropical Storm Lan between 22 and 23 October. The storm is presently a category-two storm; however, it is likely to strengthen to at least category-three before striking Japan. Travellers should comply with the instructions of local authorities.

Significant Dates & Events

  • 22 October – Formula 1 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas
  • 22 October – Curfew in place from 0800 – 1700 due to census. All travellers must comply with the curfew
  • 22 October – Argentine legislative elections
  • 24 October – Women’s rights protest in Santiago, Chile
  • 24 October – Zambia’s Independence Day
  • 25 October – Royal funeral ceremonies begin, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 27 October – Formula 1 Grand Prix in Mexico City
  • 27 October – Turkmenistan’s Independence Day
  • 28 October – Trade union protests in Seoul, South Korea

Click link to Download PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 42 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 42 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.