Solace Global – Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 20

Headlines From This Week 

  • Gaza Unrest – At least 62 people were killed by Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) when violent clashes erupted on the Israel-Gaza border as the relocated US Embassy opened in Jerusalem on 14 July. Tensions were already heightened as Palestinians commemorate ‘Nakba’, or ‘catastrophe’ of 70 years of the Israeli state on the same date. IDF troops have been accused of being overly aggressive towards protesters, with the use of live ammunition. Further clashes are likely throughout Ramadan.
  • Terror Attack in France – Two people, including the attacker, were killed after a suspected terror attack in Paris’s Opera district. Several others were injured in the stabbing attack on the evening of 12 May 2018. Islamic State claimed that one of its “soldiers” carried out the attack. The attacker was believed to have been born in Chechnya, a restive, Muslim majority region of Russia, before moving to France.
  • Multiple Bombings in Indonesia – On the morning of 13 May, Islamist militants attacked three churches in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second city. A later attack occurred the following morning outside a police station, just south of the city. In total, at least 26 people were killed, including 13 of the suspected bombers; the attackers were reportedly from two families and included children. The attacks have been described as the most coordinated terror events in the country’s history. Indonesian prosecutors are seeking the death sentence for the cleric accused of planning the attacks from jail.
  • Korea Complications – This week saw a cooling of relations on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang broke off high-level talks with Seoul due to joint US-South Korea military exercises, a speech made by a North Korean defector at the Seoul National Assembly, and the proposal that North Korea could follow the ‘Libya Model’. This proposal by National Security Advisor John Bolton, suggests that denuclearisation and the lifting of sanctions could eventually lead to the overthrow of the North Korean regime as it did in Libya. President Trump has denied this aim but it is clear that Pyongyang is seeking to extract concessions from South Korea and the US.
  • Evacuations in Colombia – Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate their homes after heavy floods at Hidroituango dam on the river Cuaca. Flooding at the partially complete dam, Colombia’s largest hydroelectric project, had already displaced hundreds before evacuation orders were issued. Colombia’s army, police, and disaster management agency have been dispatched to the site in the north-western Antioquia province. At present no casualties have been reported.

What To Look Out For Next Week

  • Venezuela Elections – Venezuela is set to go to the polls on 20 May 2018. Elections were initially scheduled for December 2018 but were then moved to 22 April before being pushed back to the 20 May. The incumbent President Maduro is widely expected to win either legitimately or through fraudulent means. Many opposition figures and parties have been barred from running against him, while others have decided to boycott the vote. Many of the populous are expected to abstain from the vote, assisting President Maduro. It is unclear if popular, political unrest will reach the levels seen in Venezuela in 2014 and 2017 as voter apathy is high.
  • Africa Day – An annual commemoration of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (now the African Union), is set to take place on 25 May. The OAU was founded on 25 May 1963. The day is celebrated with a public holiday in many African nations including Zimbabwe and Ghana. Celebrations may stretch over a number of days in certain locations, travellers should follow local media to understand how they may be impacted by events.
  • UEFA Champions League Final – The final of the world’s premier club football competition is set to be held at 1845UTC on 26 May 2018 in Kiev, Ukraine. Liverpool from the United Kingdom and Real Madrid from Spain are set to face each other. Security for the match is set to be tight, with Ukrainian police looking to prevent any potential terror attacks or clashes between fans, as have previously been seen at European competition fixtures this year.
  • Constitutional Referendum in Ireland – Irish voters will go to the polls on 25 May 2018 for a proposed amendment to the Irish constitution which would permit the Oireachtas (parliament) to legislate on the legalisation of abortion. At present, the ‘yes’ vote is expected to win with a double-digit lead in recent polls. The two largest parties in Ireland, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, officially remain neutral but the Fine Gael Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is publicly supporting a ‘yes’ vote.
  • Further Rail Disruption in France – Domestic, Eurostar, and Thalys rail services face disruptions on 18-19 May and 23-24 May due to further strikes by French rail workers. Delays and cancellations are to be expected on these days. These are the latest set of strikes which have been ongoing for more than a month. Trains running on high-speed lines (TGVs), the Transilien network (Greater Paris region), TER networks (regional trains), and Intercités (inter-city) networks will all be affected, with only one out of four trains operating on some lines. Additional rail strikes will take place on 28-29 May;2, 3, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 22, 23, 27, and 28 June.

 Significant Dates and Events

  • 19 May – Turkey – Ataturk Commemoration and Youth and Sports Day
  • 19-21 May – Judaism – Shavuot begins
  • 19 May – United Kingdom – English and Scottish FA Cup Finals
  • 19 May – Nicaragua – Opposition Marches Planned
  • 20 May – Cameroon – National Day
  • 20 May – Christianity – Whit Sunday (Pentecost)
  • 20 May – Timor-Leste – Independence Restoration Day
  • 20 May – Cambodia – Day of Remembrance
  • 21 May – Canada – Victoria Day
  • 21 May – Cayman Islands – Discovery Day
  • 21 May – Chile – Navy Day
  • 21 May – Montenegro – Independence Day
  • 22 May – Yemen – National Unity Day
  • 23 May – Macedonia – Vlach’s National Day
  • 24 May – Belize – Sovereign’s Day
  • 24 May – Bulgaria and Macedonia – Saints Cyril and Methodius Day
  • 24 May – Ecuador – Battle of Pichincha Day
  • 24 May – Eritrea – Independence Day
  • 24 May – Barbados – General Election
  • 25 May – Argentina – Anniversary of 1810 Revolution
  • 25 May – Bermuda – Bermuda Day
  • 25 May – Bolivia – Sucre Local Festival
  • 25 May – Jordan – Independence Day
  • 26 May – Iceland – Municipal Elections
  • 25-27 May – Monaco – Formula One weekend
  • 26 May – Ukraine – UEFA Champion’s League Final, Kiev
  • 26 May – Georgia – Day of First Republic
  • 26 May – Italy – Air and rail workers to strike in Milan
  • 27 May – Colombia – Presidential Election
  • 27 May – 10 June – France – French Open Tennis
Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 20 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 19 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.