Solace Global – Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 33

Headlines From This Week

  • Ghazni Siege – A five-day siege of Ghazni, Afghanistan eased on 15 August as Afghan officials declared that they had regained control of the strategically important city. The Taliban siege left 165 Afghan police officers and soldiers and at least 40 civilians dead. The Ghazni assault has demonstrated Taliban tenacity and undermines talks that the government and its NATO allies are winning the war. US Secretary of Defence has stated that the Taliban had six targets in and around the Ghazni but failed to achieve any of them, without stating what these targets were.
  • Further Cracks in NATO Alliance – The Turkey-United States alliance has continued to show fractures. Washington and Ankara have traded tit-for-tat sanctions and tariffs, ostensibly regarding an American pastor detained in Turkey. The two countries have NATO’s largest militaries, but Turkey has recently shifted towards Russia, with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, offering support to Ankara. Turkey’s currency, the Lira, has lost about a third of its value over the past week, plunging to record lows against the dollar.
  • Genoa Bridge Collapse – At least 38 people have been killed, 15 have been injured, and another 20 could be missing after the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy collapsed. The new populist government made up of the Five-Star Movement and the League have instituted a year-long state of emergency in the region. The government has shifted blame onto elites, notably the European Union and Atlantia, a major infrastructure group. This incident may have widespread implications for governance and business in Italy, as well as relations between the EU and Italy’s Eurosceptic government.
  • Kerala Flooding – The death toll in flooding in southern India’s Kerala state has reached at least 164 with 223,000 people left homeless. Flooding in Kerala has been described as the worst floods to have hit the state in a century; Kerala has experienced particularly severe rains since 08 August. For the first time in its history, the state has opened 35 of its 39 dams and red alerts have been issued in all 14 districts of the state. Apart from fatalities, flooding has caused widespread travel disruption, with Cochin International Airport expected to be closed until 26 August. 
  • Potential Terror Incident in London – A British citizen of Sudanese origin was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and terror offences after crashing a car outside the Houses of Parliament just before 07:40 local time on 14 August. Three people were injured in the apparently deliberate attack. This attack is reminiscent of a similar lone-wolf, car-ramming attack in March 2017 when a Jihadist terrorist killed five people on Westminster Bridge and outside the Palace of Westminster.

 What To Look Out For Next Week

  • 18th Asian Games – The 18th incarnation of the Asian Games is set to begin on 18 August and run until 02 September. With 45 nations competing in 465 events in 40 different sports, it has been dubbed the largest multisport event after the Olympics. Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia play host to the 2018 event. Travel to Indonesia can be challenging and should be planned carefully; significant terror attacks have occurred in Jakarta in the past few years while suicide bombings targeted churches in Surabaya in May 2018. Please see our recent Event Advisory on the Asian Games for more information.
  • The Hajj Pilgrimage – The 2018 Hajj Pilgrimage is set to take place between 19 and 24 August. The event is a major Islamic festival, where millions of Muslims travel in pilgrimage to the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. In the past, overcrowding and infrastructural disasters have led to hundreds of deaths at the site in Mecca. The Hajj corresponds with Eid ul-Adha, one of two main Eid events in the Islamic calendar, which runs between 21 and 25 August. Significant disruption can be expected across the Islamic world during these dates as many Muslim-majority countries experience significant public holidays.
  • Sri Lankan Railway Workers Threaten Strike – Sri Lanka’s Railway Technical Services Trade Union Committee and the Locomotive Engine Operators’ Union have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from 21 August. Workers are demanding wage increases and better working conditions. Similar strikes in the past have led to heavy disruption to railway services, with thousands of travellers affected. It is unclear if union workers also plan to protest in line with this strike.
  • Imran Khan to Be Inaugurated as Prime Minister – Imran Khan, the former cricket player, will be sworn in as Pakistan’s new Prime Minister on 18 August. The event is scheduled to occur at the President House in Islamabad. Heightened security measures and traffic disruption should be expected in the city due to planned road closures and security checkpoints along the city’s main thoroughfares. The validity and transparency of the 25 July election continues to be called into question. Spontaneous protests by opposition groups should be avoided due to the potential for violence or targeting by terror groups.
  • Notting Hill Carnival – Preparations will be in full swing next week for the annual Notting Hill Carnival in London, United Kingdom. The event is scheduled to take place between 25 and 27 August and is commonly associated with a celebration of London’s Caribbean community. It is known as the largest free festival in Europe and brings with it significant concerns over crime, security, and travel disruption.

 Significant Dates And Events

  • August Haiti – Anti-government protests planned throughout August
  • 18 August Denmark – Copenhagen Pride parade
  • 18 August – Panama – Drinking water supplies to Panama City to be cut
  • 18 August – United States – Right-wing rally planned in Seattle
  • 18 August – South Korea – Rally against sexual assault to be held in Seoul
  • 18 August – South Korea – Trade Union to rally in Seoul
  • 18 August – Germany – Far-right march in Cologne
  • 18 August – Finland – Political protests to take place in Turku
  • 18 August – Nicaragua – Opposition march planned in Managua
  • 18 to 19 and 25 to 26 August – Spain – Finnair cabin crew based out of Barcelona-El Prat Airport to strike
  • 18 to 19, 25 to 27 August, and 01 to 02 September – United Kingdom – London Euston train station to close for engineering work
  • 19 August – Afghanistan – Independence Day
  • 19 August – Costa Rica – Farmers set to protest in San Jose
  • 19 to 21 August – Tunisia – Maritime Workers to strike
  • 20 August – Argentina – St Martin’s Day
  • 20 August – Estonia – Independence Restoration Day
  • 20 August – Hungary – State Foundation Day
  • 20 August – Morocco – King’s and People’s Revolution Day
  • 20 to 25 August – Egypt/Gaza – Rafah border cross to close
  • 21 August Chile – Nurses to strike nationwide
  • 21 August – Jordan/West Bank – King Hussein/Allenby Bridge border crossing to close for Eid ul-Adha
  • 21 August – Morocco – King Mohammed’s Birthday/Youth Day
  • 21 August – Philippines – Ninoy Aquino Day
  • 23 to 25 August – United Kingdom – Liverpool John Lennon Airport workers to strike
  • 24 August – Liberia – National Flag Day
  • 24 August – Ukraine – Independence Day
  • 24 to 26 August – Belgium – Formula One weekend in Spa
  • 25 August South Korea – Pro-choice rally to be held in Seoul
  • 25 August – Spain – Police officers to rally in Santiago de Compostela
  • 25 August – United Kingdom – Southampton LGBT Pride parade
  • 26 August Moldova – Opposition Protests in Chisinau
  • 27 August to 09 September – United States – US Open Tennis Competition

Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 33 The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 33 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.