Solace Global – Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 36

Headlines From This Week

  • Tripoli Ceasefire Agreed – After 10 days of fighting in the Libyan capital, a tentative ceasefire overseen by the UN’s Libya envoy, was agreed between rival militias on 05 September. During the fighting, hundreds of prisoners escaped and at least 50 people have been killed. The ceasefire is unlikely to hold, especially considering that elections are due to be held in December. One previously agreed truce was almost immediately broken and minor violations of this ceasefire have also been reported. 
  • Novichok Poisonings – The US, France, Germany and Canada have supported the UK’s assessment that Russia’s government “almost certainly” approved the Salisbury Novichok poisoning. The British government has named the two men it says are responsible; they are believed to be from Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU. Russia has dismissed the evidence as “lies”. This is further evidence of the growing split between Russia and the West, with tensions rising. 
  • Environmental Disasters in Japan – Japan was hit by twin environmental disasters this week. On 06 September, a 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit the northern island of Hokkaido, killing at least 16, leaving 26 missing, and shutting off power for half of the island’s residents. Two days before the quake, Typhoon Jebi, the strongest storm to hit the country in 25 years, left a trail of destruction and at least 10 fatalities. The major international airport at Kansai, which serves Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto, was closed due to flooding but has since reopened for domestic flights only. The airport also reported the strongest winds in Japanese history at 209kph. 
  • Brazilian Presidential Candidate Stabbed – Jair Bolsonaro, the far-right and populist front-runner for the October presidential election in Brazil, was stabbed while at a rally in the state Minas Gerais on 06 September. Doctors expect the controversial politician to make a full recovery after suffering injuries to his intestines. Police have reported that they arrested the attacker who appears to be mentally disturbed. The election campaign has been bitterly fought with Bolsonaro’s greatest rival, ex-President Lula, imprisoned and forbidden to run. 
  • Protests Re-Erupt in Iraq – After a period of calm, a fresh outbreak of violent unrest has erupted in Iraq, notably in the southern city of Basra. At least one person has been killed and 35 injured during the protests over poor public services which began again on 04 September. In a potentially related event, mortars were fired into Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses Iraqi government officials and the US Embassy; no casualties or damage were reported. Further violent unrest should be expected.

 What To Look Out For Next Week

  • Swedish Elections – Sweden will go to the polls on 09 September 2018 to elect new members for the country’s parliament, the Riksdag. Early voting has already begun in the election. The Swedish Democrats, which has been described as a far-right, populist party, is on the ascendancy, with implications for political and economic stability; the Swedish Krona has already weakened against the Euro. Depending on the election result, there is a risk that Sweden will not have a government in place for an extended time period. 
  • Russian War Games – From 11 to 15 September, Russia will host the Vostok-2018 war games alongside units from Mongolia and China. This is set to be Russia’s largest war games, with 300,000 personnel involved, since 1981. Activities will be taking place in the country’s east and is a further sign of growing tension with the west. Moscow has claimed the drills are justified. 
  • Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) – Jews around the world will celebrate the Jewish New Year from 09 September to 11 September. Much time is spent at synagogues on this religious holiday, meaning disruption here is possible. Security measures are set to be stepped up in Israel particularly. Border crossings with the Palestinian territories are to be closed and a heightened security presence is expected at these locations. 
  • Catalonia National Day – 11 September marks the National Day of Catalonia in Spain. It is a day-long festival which commemorates the fall of Barcelona during the War of Spanish Succession. Travellers can expect significant unrest in Catalonia on this day, with well-attended protests expected in Barcelona as well as other large Catalan cities. On 09 September, anti-secessionist activists will march from Avenida del Paralelo to Plaza de España. Previous protests have seen clashes between protesters and security officials. 
  • Islamic New Year (Muharram) – The first day of the Islamic year is 11 September, with the New Year technically beginning at sunset on 10 September. Disruption should be expected, particularly within the vicinity of mosques, as many Muslim-majority nations hold public holidays. For Shia Muslims in particular, the New Year is a time of pilgrimage. 
  • Biafra General Strike – A pro-Biafra Independence Group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, has announced a general strike for 14 September to take place in areas of Nigeria where the Biafra people are present. This is predominantly the south and southeast of Nigeria. The strike is not expected to occur with protests but this cannot be ruled out. The date has been organised as a day of mourning for those who have died since the restoration of the independence movement in 2015.

Significant Dates and Events

  • 06 September to 18 October Argentina – 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires
  • 08 September France – Pro-environmental rallies in Paris and Lyon
  • 08 September – Germany – Anti-surveillance law protest in Hannover
  • 08 September – Spain – LGBT+ Pride parade in Benidorm
  • 08 September – Macedonia (FYROM) – Independence Day
  • 08 September – Bangladesh – Opposition BNP to stage nationwide protests
  • 09 September – India – Akali Dal group to rally in Abohar
  • 09 September – Russia – Nationwide rallies against pension reform
  • 09 September – Dominican Republic – Anti-abortion rally in Santo Domingo
  • 09 September – St Lucia – Anti-government march planned in Castries
  • 09 September – North Korea – National Day
  • 09 September – Tajikistan – Independence Day
  • 09 September – Indonesia – Bali Marathon
  • 10 September – Belize – George’s Caye Day
  • 10 September – Gibraltar – Gibraltar National Day
  • 10 September – Romania – Anti-Corruption Rally in Bucharest
  • 10 September – Costa Rica – ANEP trade union calls for nationwide general strike
  • 10 September – India – Opposition group calls for nationwide strike
  • 10 to 11 September – Italy – Airport staff to conduct nationwide strike
  • 10 to 13 September – Russia – Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok
  • 11 September – United States – Anniversary of 2011 terror attack on the World Trade Centre, New York
  • 11 to 13 September – Vietnam – World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi
  • 11 to 23 September – United States – World Equestrian Games in Mill Spring, North Carolina
  • 13 September – Austria – Pro-refugee rally to be held in Vienna
  • 14 to 16 September – Formula One race in Singapore – road closures expected
  • 14 to 18 September – Italy – Bologna Airport to close for maintenance
  • 15 September – Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Costa Rica – Independence Day
  • 16 September – Mexico – Independence Day
  • 16 September – Papua New Guinea – Independence Day

Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Weekly Risk Roundup – Week 36. The Weekly Risk Roundup highlights significant events from the last week and what to look out for next week. Week 36 Weekly Risk Roundup was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.