Global Security Forecast – Week 48

GLOBAL FORECAST: 30 – 06 December

UNITED STATES: MIDWEST STATES (LOW) – Anticipate travel disruption as severe weather warning issued from 30 November to 2 December. The US National Weather Service (NWS) have issued a winter weather warning for large parts of the Mid-West and Northern Plains with blizzard conditions expected from the evening of Friday 30 November until 2 December. Up to 11 inches of snow has been forecast in areas of South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota and wind speeds are expected to reach speeds of up to 55 km (35 miles) per hour leading to severe disruption in affected areas. The recent weather warning follows significant disruption in Illinois and Missouri states on 26 and 27 November after blizzard-like conditions left 200,000 homes without power, grounded more than 1700 flights and led to treacherous driving conditions. ADVICE: Travellers currently in, or travelling to, the affected states should reconfirm the status of their flights with the relevant airline or airport, follow all directives issued by local authorities and check the status of routes before embarking on any road move. Early December is historically the busiest travel period in the US and travellers should anticipate a knock-on impact to flights if widespread cancellations are announced. ARGENTINA: BUENOS AIRES (LOW) – Expect travel disruption; heightened security during G20 summit from 30 Nov – 1 Dec World leaders will gather in the capital, Buenos Aires, on 30 November to take part in the two-day G20 summit. Heightened security measures have been implemented throughout the city and the main business district will remain closed for the duration of the summit. The event is being held at the Costa Salguero convention centre and widespread disruption and street closures are expected throughout the Palermo neighbourhood as well as localised anti-G20 protests. Jorge Newbery (AEP), El Palomar (EPA), San Fernando (FDO) and Moron (MXV) airports have been closed to commercial flights to allow for the arrival of foreign dignitaries. Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) will remain open but heightened security and associated disruptions are to be expected. ADVICE: Anticipate disruption throughout Buenos Aires from the 30 November including at Ezeiza International Airport (EZE). Where possible, avoid travel to Palermo neighbourhood and the main business district. Avoid all demonstrations as a precaution. GEORGIA:  TBILISI (LOW) – Opposition parties to demonstrate on 2 December to denounce election results. A coalition of opposition political groups, including the former ruling party the United National Movement (UNM), have called for anti-government protests to be held in the capital city, Tbilisi, on 2 December amidst widespread accusations that the recent presidential election was rigged. Former President Mikheil Saakashvili spoke via video link from Freedom Square on 29 November to denounce the election process that saw the independent candidate, funded by the Georgian Dream party, Salome Zurabishvili, win a second-round poll with around 60 percent of the vote. Allegations of vote buying, and a rigged polling process have been reported in local media sources and international election observers describe the campaigning process as an ‘uneven playing field’. Protesters are expected to march on Rustaveli Avenue in the morning and remain there throughout the day. ADVICE: Avoid all election-related gatherings due to the risk of violence. Consult local media, in-country contacts and Solace Global Alerts for details of any planned or ongoing demonstrations in your area. LIBYA: COUNTRYWIDE (SEVERE) – Anticipate unrest following decision to postpone elections till spring 2019. An international summit on Libya, held in Italy on 12 November, concluded with the announcement that the Libyan parliamentary and presidential elections will be postponed till spring. The decision was made following the increase in violence in recent months between rival groups and the failure of the two parallel governing bodies to agree on the terms of the election process. At present the UN-backed Government of National Accord, made up of powerful Misrata and Tripoli-based militias, govern in the west of the country while the House of Representative, alongside the Libyan National Army (LNA) under General Khalifa Haftar, govern in the east. The scheduled polls have been seen as a potential tool to reconcile the two governments in an effort to unite the country. The postponement of Parliamentary elections will result in localised protests in urban centres as Libyan nationals call for greater transparency and accountability in the governance process. Violence between rival militia groups is expected to continue as they compete for power and control in certain areas of the country. ADVICE: All travel to Libya should be supported by an accredited and trusted security provider with 24-hour response capability, secure journey management procedures as well as in-country intelligence and logistics support. Travellers in-country should stay up to date with local media and liaise with their security provider regarding the feasibility of ground movement during periods of unrest.


RUSSIA; UKRAINE: KERCH STRAIT (MODERATE) – Tensions elevated as Russia seize Ukrainian naval vessels in Kerch Strait on 25 November The Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) border guard rammed, then fired upon, three Ukrainian naval vessels before boarding and detaining 23 Ukrainian sailors on 25 November.  It is the first Russian-acknowledged use of force against Ukraine since the 2014 escalation of violence in Crimea.  According to Ukrainian media, at least six crewmen were injured during the incident which occurred in the strategically important Kerch Strait, a thin waterway between mainland Russia and Crimea and the only transit route to the sea of Azov.  The waterway remains crucial to Ukrainian economic and military interests as it is the only route that serves the port city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine.  The 23 Ukrainian crewmen are now being held by Russian forces in Russian annexed Crimea.  Ukraine immediate response to the incident was to call the attack, ‘an act of aggression’, while also rushing a Presidential decree through parliament, declaring 30-days of martial law in the ten regions of Ukraine bordering Russia. ADVICE: While the escalation in tensions between the two countries represents a concern for travellers, especially those operating near Russian annexed Crimea, it is unlikely that the incident will prompt anything more than a political response.  Russian males will not be allowed to enter Ukraine from 30 November.  Anti-Russia protests were held outside the Russian embassy in Kiev on 26 November causing minor disruption around the embassy.  Travellers should remain up to date with local intelligence and media and avoid all protests as a precaution. AFGHANISTAN: KABUL (SEVERE) – Ten people killed after compound of security firm targeted in complex attack on 28 November At least ten people were killed and 19 were injured following a complex attack on a compound run by a British security company in Kabul. At 18.30, a vehicle based improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated at the entrance to the compound before armed men stormed the building leading to a fierce firefight between armed security staff and the attackers. The attack occurred hours after Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani, outlined his plans to promote peace in the country. The Taliban have subsequently claimed responsibility for the attack stating that the compound was considered by the group to be a base for occupying forces and has been used to carry out attacks with Helmand and Kandahar provinces. The attack comes amidst growing anti-government protests in Kabul calling for greater political transparency and security. Thirty people have subsequently been injured following the use of live ammunition by security forces attempting to disperse protesters. ADVICE: Travel to Afghanistan should be for business-critical purposes only and supported by an accredited security provider. Terror groups have shown both the desire and capability to launch attacks in the capital Kabul. If travel is business critical, minimise time spent around religious sites, government buildings and police checkpoints. Always seek the advice of a trained security specialist prior to travel. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO (DRC): KINSHASA (HIGH) – US Embassy Kinshasa remains closed for the fifth consecutive day on 30 November following possible terrorist threat The US embassy in the capital, Kinshasa, has remained shut for a fifth consecutive day following credible and precise information of a possible terrorist threat against US government facilities in Kinshasa. The embassy released a statement to its citizens on Monday 26 November via its website urging US citizens to remain vigilant and keep a low profile. The closure comes four weeks ahead of the DRC legislative and presidential elections which have been delayed for two years. Congolese government authorities have played down the threat, stating that the US embassy has over-reacted to the incident. Although it is not known who has issued a threat toward the US, multiple militias groups are currently engaged in clashes including, the Islamist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). On 12 March 2017, a US national and special investigator for the UN was killed alongside his Swedish colleague by rebels near the city of Kananga (Lulua province) while investigating government abuses in the province.  While UN investigations found the militant group Kamuina Nsapu complicit in the killing, several other investigations have identified that Congolese intelligence service, the Agence Nationale de Renseignements (ANR), were linked to the attack. ADVICE: Travellers in Kinshasa should maintain a low profile and exercise vigilance while in Kinshasa. Avoid the area near the US embassy and continue to monitor their website and local news sources for up to date information. Traveller should consider minimising movement in the city during the build-up to the election as widespread unrest is expected.


Date Country Event Potential for violence
30 Nov Argentina G20 Summit LOW
Nov (exp) Chad Legislative elections (postponed) HIGH
1 Dec Central African Rep. National Day MODERATE
1 Dec Mexico Presidential Inauguration MODERATE
2 Dec Laos National Day LOW
2 Dec UAE National Day – Formation of the federation of the seven emirates NEGLIGIBLE
3 Dec Poland Start of the COP24 environmental summit in Katowice, NEGLIGIBLE
10 Dec Libya Presidential and Parliamentary elections (postponed) HIGH
16 Dec Togo Local elections, referendum on constitutional and electoral reform MODERATE
19 Dec Madagascar Second round of presidential vote HIGH
20 Dec Togo Legislative elections MODERATE
22 Dec Iraq Provincial elections HIGH
23 Dec DRC Presidential, legislative, regional and local elections HIGH
30 Dec Bangladesh Parliamentary elections HIGH
Click the following link to download this report as a PDF: Global Security Forecast – Week 48 The Global Security Forecast highlights what travel security managers should look out for over the next week while also providing advice following significant events from the last week. The Global Security Forecast was compiled by Solace Global’s in-house intelligence team.