GLOBAL SECURITY FORECAST • WEEK 49 • 7 – 14 DECEMBER 2018

GLOBAL SECURITY FORECAST • WEEK 49 • 7 – 14 DECEMBER 2018

TOGO: Nationwide (Moderate) – Nationwide: Anticipate heightened security; disruption, following ban on opposition protest

The Togolese government have banned all opposition protests and rallies in the build up to the 20 December legislative elections stating fears over public disorder.  Demonstrations had been planned by opposition leaders in urban centres throughout the country from 8 December to 18 December calling for the deferral of the election process to allow for constitutional reforms.  Fourteen opposition political parties, who make up the main opposition collation, denounced electoral irregularities and subsequently did not submit candidates for the upcoming elections.  Togo has been engulfed in political crisis over the last year with regular demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbé, who has ruled the country since 2005 following the death of his father.  The three main religious institutes in Togo have backed calls to postpone the December elections, questioning the transparency and accountability of the current ballot process.

ADVICE: Opposition groups are likely to defy the government order and continue with planned protests in major urban centres leading to localised clashes with security forces. Consult local media, in country contacts and Solace Global Alerts for details of any planned or ongoing demonstrations in your area.

ARMENIA: Yerevan, Urban Centres (Low) – Snap parliamentary elections due to be held on 9 December, unrest possible

Following acting Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinian, decision to resign and dissolve parliament, Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) has announced that snap elections will be held on 9 December.  The decision comes a month after tens of thousands of people protested in the Armenia capital, Yerevan, against a bill that would make it increasingly difficult for the prime minister to call for new elections.  Armenia experienced a peaceful revolution in May this year when hundreds of thousands of people protested the perceived corruption and cronyism within Armenia’s ruling class, forcing the Prime Minister, Serzh Sargsyan, to resign.

ADVICE: While protests generally pass of peacefully, travellers should avoid all election-related gatherings as a precaution, Consult local media, in country contacts and Solace Global Alerts for details of any planned or ongoing demonstrations in your area.

Jordan:  Amman (Moderate) – Heightened security; travel disruption expected as protests over new tax laws persist

In the latest in a series of protests, hundreds of Jordanians took to the streets in the capital Amman on 6 December to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz.  This is the third such protest in Amman following the governments introduction of International Monetary Fund (IMF) backed austerity measures that have ended bread subsidies and increased taxes.  The measures are expected to disproportionately impact low to mid-income earners, reinforcing already existing inequality within the country.  Yesterday’s protest occurred at 17.00 (local time) near Amman’s 4th circle. Demonstrators attempted to march from the courtyard of Jordan Hospital to the 4th circle roundabout.    Security forces intervened to stop protesters marching on the roundabout and disrupting traffic at rush hour.  Protests are likely to persist in the coming weeks and clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.

ADVICE: Avoid all protests as a precaution due to the risk of travel disruption. Violent clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.  Consult local media, in country contacts and Solace Global Alerts for details of any planned or ongoing demonstrations in your area.

Thailand: Countrywide (Low) – Cycling event to cause significant travel disruption, road closures in city centre on 9 December

More than 85,000 people have signed up to take part in the Bike Un Ai Rak cycling event on 9 December taking place in the Thai capital, Bangkok.  The event is due to begin at 15.00 (local time), with road closures expected from 12.00 to 19.00 on the day.  Public transport, including buses, sky trains, subways, and expressways will be overcrowded as ticket prices have been waived for those taking part in the event.  Residual travel disruption is expected throughout the city.  Cyclists will begin their ride at the Dusit Palace before making their way south through the city to  Lat Pho Park, south of the Chao Phraya River, they will then return on a similar route.  Up to 25 major roads in central Bangkok with remain closed for the duration of the event and travellers are advised to avoid road travel in central Bangkok.

ADVICE: Reconfirm the status of routes prior to setting out and ensure that you factor in additional time to complete your journeys. Plan routes avoiding key event locations to minimise disruption.

United Kingdom: London (Low) – Pro-Brexit rally on 9 December likely to cause travel disruption in central London, counter protests expected

Thousands of people are expected to attend a pro-Brexit rally demanding there is no ‘betrayal’ by politicians when they vote on Teresa May’s current deal to leave the European Union (EU).  The current proposal on the terms of the divorce between the EU and Great Britain has angered several pro-Brexit politicians who argue the deal is not reflective of what the country voted on during the referendum.  Protesters will meet at the Dorchester hotel in Park Lane before marching on Whitehall, where the rally will be staged.  Far-right politician Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, and UKIP leader, Gerard Batten are expected to speak at the event.  A counter-protest has been organised and will run concurrently to the pro-Brexit protest.  While the Metropolitan police have made a statement ensuring that policing will be upscaled in the protest-affected areas, clashes between rival supporters cannot be ruled out.

ADVICE: Reconfirm the status of routes prior to setting out and ensure that you factor in additional time to complete your journeys. Plan routes avoiding key protest locations to minimise disruption. There have been minor physical altercations between rival protesters in the past, if you are caught near a protest, leave the area immediately, return to a safe location and follow the direction of the local authorities


GLOBAL HEADLINES: 30 – 06 December 2018

IRAN: Chabahar (Moderate) – Car bomb kills four and injures at least 40 in south eastern port city on 6 November

A vehicle-born improvised explosive device was detonated outside the police headquarters in the south eastern port city of Chabahar (Sistan e Baluchistan province), killing four police officer and injuring at least 40 people.  The suicide bomber drove a vehicle laden with explosives at the headquarters but failed to reach the target before detonating the explosives.  Local police officers stationed at a check point outside the building have been commended for stopping the vehicle from reaching its intended target.

Ansar al-Fuqran, a Sunni Baloch militant group who want autonomy from Iran, claimed responsibility for the attack.  Iran’s Sistan e Baluchistan province, which borders Pakistan and Afghanistan, is one of two majority Sunni provinces in Shia dominated Iran and is populated by ethnic Baloch’s who identify closely with the Baluchistan province in Pakistan.  Sistan e Baluchistan suffers one of the highest rates of poverty in the country, remains severely underdeveloped and is largely cut off from the political scene in Tehran.  Livelihoods are centred around cross border smuggling with Pakistan which Iranian security forces are increasingly trying to stop.  While such attacks remain rare due to the capability of Iranian security forces in the region, there remains a persistent threat of terrorist and militant attacks in the region.

ADVICE: Travel to Sistan e Baluchistan should be only be considered for business-critical purposes only due to the threat posed by kidnapping, criminality and terrorist attacks.  Organisation’s should work with a local trusted partner to ensure they receive the correct documentation to travel to the region.  Travellers in the province should minimise movements near police stations and government buildings.

UKRAINE: Kiev and Zhtomyr oblasts (Moderate) – Ukraine’s security forces carry out raids on Russia Orthodox churches; tensions remain elevated

Ukraine’s security forces conducted a series of raids on 3 December targeting Orthodox Churches and the homes of Orthodox priests.  Up to eight searches were conducted by security forces in Kiev and Zhtomyr oblasts and appeared to target churches who had rejected the recent independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, pledging their allegiance to the Russian branch of the Orthodox church.  The Ukrainian security forces stated that the searches were in response to recent allegations that certain churches were inciting hatred and violence throughout their congregations.  Up to 20 priests have been summoned for questioning by police forces in recent days.  The raids are likely to spark protests by members of the Russian Orthodox church in the coming days and further provoke the already tense political standoff between Russia and Ukraine.

ADVICE: Travel to Ukraine remains possible however travellers should stay up to date with local news and regional developments. Consult local media, in-country contacts and Solace Global Alerts for details of any changes in the security environment or travel restrictions in the local area.  Russian males age 16 to 60 remain unable to travel Ukraine at the present time and martial law is in effect till in the ten regions bordering Russia.  Read our latest travel advisory on the increase in tensions between Russia and Ukraine following the Kerch Strait incident.

AFGHANISTAN: Kabul (Severe) – Parliamentary election results found to be invalid, protest likely

Afghanistan’s Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) announced on 6 December that all votes cast in Kabul during the October parliamentary elections are invalid citing 25 conduct reasons for the decision, including mismanagement and fraud.  The findings will now be reviewed by the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC).  According to the Afghan constitution, if the findings are ratified by the IEC, the Election Commission will have seven days to arrange secondary polls.  Only 14 of the 33 provinces have announced the official results following the ballot that took place on 20 October, casting doubts on the credibility of the election process.  The announcement by the IECC is expected to be met with anger by Kabul residents and will likely lead to protests in the capital in the coming days.

ADVICE: Travellers in Kabul should remain up to date with the latest location-specific security information and regional developments by monitoring local media, Solace Global Alerts and liaising with in-country contacts.  Travel security managers should ensure staff in-country understand what to do in the event if an escalation occurs and have clearly defined points of contact that they can ring in the event of an emergency.


SIGNIFICANT DATES AND EVENTS

Date Country Event Potential for Violence
9 Dec Armenia Parliamentary Elections LOW
9 Dec Peru Constitutional Referendum MODERATE
9 Dec Tanzania Independence Day LOW
10 Dec Libya Presidential and Parliamentary elections (Postponed) HIGH
12 Dec Kenya Jamhuri Day (Independence Day) LOW
16 Dec Bahrain National Day LOW
16 Dec Kazakhstan Independence Day LOW
16 Dec Togo Local elections, referendum on constitutional and electoral reform MODERATE
17 Dec Bhutan National Day NEGLIGIBLE
18 Dec Qatar National Day NEGLIGIBLE
19 Dec Madagascar Second round of presidential vote HIGH
20 Dec Togo Legislative elections MODERATE
22 Dec Iraq Provincial elections HIGH
30 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 49

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.