Announcement from Solace Global

It is with great sadness that we confirm that seven humanitarian aid workers, including three security personnel from Solace Global, were tragically killed on Monday evening following a strike on World Central Kitchen’s humanitarian mission, delivering food aid to those in need in Gaza. 

Words cannot express the depth of sympathy that we feel for the families, friends, colleagues and loved ones of those who died. We are working closely to support them at this difficult time. 

We are humbled by the bravery of the men and women working in such complex environments to deliver vital aid, and pay tribute to those that lost their lives on Monday. Those who knew John, James and James have expressed pride for them enabling humanitarian efforts. 

We are committed to supporting the families and loved ones of those who died, and remain dedicated to the continuation of services for all of our clients.

Solace Global at ASIS Europe 2024

We are excited to announce that we will be exhibiting at ASIS Europe 2024 in Vienna, where we will be showcasing our risk management solutions aimed at navigating the complexities of today’s global security landscape and building business resilience.

We are excited to exhibit alongside top security firms and engage with esteemed professionals and emerging leaders in the industry.

Visit our stand B8 to connect with our experts, learn more about our industry leading risk management platform, Solace Secure, and find out how Solace Global can help you strengthen your business resilience.


Event details

When

March 21-22, 2024

Where

Vienna, Austria


Emily Roberts Managing Director Solace Global Risk

Emily Roberts

Managing Director, Solace Global Risk

“In a world marked by geopolitical uncertainties and evolving threats, it’s imperative for businesses to prioritise resilience. This means not only having robust security measures in place but also the agility to adapt and respond swiftly to emerging challenges. At Solace Global, we recognise the growing demand from European organisations for comprehensive security solutions tailored to their specific needs.”


Connect with us at ASIS Europe 2024

Share your details below and we’ll get in touch to book a timeslot during the event.

    Alert Plus: US and UK launch air strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen

    Current Situation of US and UK air strikes in Yemen

    Intelligence cut off time 15:00 GMT 12th of January 2024

    On the 11-12 January, US and UK aircraft and warships conducted at least 70 strikes on multiple military targets in Houthi-controlled Yemen. Reports indicate that over 100 precision guided munitions were fired on at least 16 Houthi locations. This includes a military base adjacent to Sanaa airport, a military site near Taiz airport, a Houthi naval base in Hodeidah and military sites in Hajjah governorate. Houthi’s stated that five of the group’s fighters were killed in the strikes with six others wounded.

    The US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III, released a statement indicating that targeted strikes were conducted on sites associated with unmanned aerial vehicle’s (UAV), ballistic and cruise missiles, and coastal radar and air surveillance capabilities.

    Majority of the firepower came from US jets, with the US having the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower already in the Red Sea, as well as air bases in the region. US Navy warships also fired Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles (LACMs), which are GPS-guided and can be programmed to fly evasively. The UK contributed by sending four RAF Typhoons from Akrotiri, Cyprus, carrying Paveway IV guided bombs.

    Map of US and UK Air Strikes against Houthi's in Yemen January 2024
    Map of US and UK Air Strikes against Houthi’s in Yemen

    In response, the Houthis have stated that they are not deterred by the attacks. The group’s leader, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, stated that the US and UK would “soon realise” the action was “the greatest folly in their history”. Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad responded by saying that the strikes show Washington and London’s support for Tel Aviv and that the West are now responsible for the subsequent impact on the region’s security. Iran also responded forcefully, expressing that the strikes were a breach of international laws. Saudi Arabia and Jordan did not condemn the attacks but did call for restraint. Several Western nations supported the operation as an attempt to restore the free flow of trade and deter further Houthi attacks.

    Who is Behind The Houthi Movement?

    The Houthi Movement is an Iranian aligned group that controls much of Yemen after nearly a decade of civil war against a Western-backed and Saudi-led coalition. The two sides are currently observing a tentative ceasefire that officially ended in late 2022 but has remained in place to the current day.

    Following the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel conflict, the Houthi’s emerged as a strong supporter of the Palestinian Islamist group. The Houthis began attacks on shipping between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea in December 2023, claiming to target vessels linked to Israeli persons, businesses, and interests.

    However, this route, which links Europe and Asia and Africa via the Suez Canal, accounts for roughly 15 percent of the world’s shipping traffic. The attacks have forced some shipping companies to limit transits through the waterway, or even cease operations altogether, instead taking the longer route around southern Africa. This has significantly disrupted international commerce, increasing delivery costs and time, stoking fears about a global inflation.

    In response to the Houthi attacks, the US launched Operation Prosperity Guardian alongside several allies, which aimed to end the blockade and counter all threats by Houthi forces against international maritime trade. The operation was defensive in nature, destroying only missiles launched at vessels with no pro-active strikes conducted. The Houthis continued to fire at merchant vessels, as well as allied naval vessels, dismissing warnings from Washington and London. Then on 9 January, US and British warships shot down 21 drones and missiles, repelling the largest Houthi attack so far.

    How will UK and US airstrikes in Yemen affect global stability?

    It is highly likely that the Houthi’s largest attack to date on 9 January was the trigger that surpassed the US-UK threshold. While international prices have yet to see a significant impact, Operation Prosperity Guardian was not working as a deterrent. It is highly likely that more extensive, continued Houthi action would force more merchant vessels away from the Red Sea, almost certainly disrupting maritime trade, therefore increasing consumer prices and shortages.

    In the immediate aftermath, the Houthi’s are highly likely to increase their attacks on commercial and military vessels in the region in retaliation. However, it is likely that their ability to launch missiles and drones has been degraded. Should the Houthis sustain their attacks, it is almost certain that the US and UK will continue their strikes on targets within Yemen. It is also highly likely that the group will be re-designated as a terrorist organisation if they continue. This would have a significant impact on the peace process to end the Yemeni Civil War between the Houthi’s and the Saudi-led coalition, which has continued to progress despite regional tensions.

    A breakdown of the process would almost certainly see a resumption of hostilities between the two sides, with locations within Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates likely becoming viable targets for the Houthi’s as evidenced by their previous attacks.

    Across the Middle East, it is highly likely that Houthi’s allies and other Iranian proxies start to act in solidarity with the group. These groups will almost certainly view the attacks as Western support for Israel.

    It is almost certain that Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) in Iraq and Syria will continue to target US military bases across the region. It is also likely that the frequency and scale of these attacks will increase considerably. There is a realistic possibility that US military locations that have not been targeted yet in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, are targeted.

    Hezbollah will likely continue to focus its attacks on Israel, however an attack on the US cannot be ruled out. While still unlikely, the US and UK strikes on Yemen have increased the likelihood of a wider conflict developing in the Middle East, as well as the West entering a proxy war with Iran. This eventuality would highly likely take focus away from the conflict in Gaza, almost certainly intensifying the humanitarian situation.

    Travel Risk Advice

    • Avoid all non-essential travel to Yemen.
    • Anyone operating in the region should monitor events from a reliable source in case of a major escalation.
    • Key military and political infrastructure inside Sana’a are very likely to remain focal points for violence and demonstrations. You should be particularly vigilant in these areas and follow any specific advice from the local security authorities.
    • Avoid US and UK embassies or consulates across the region as these will likely be the epicentres for demonstrations.
    • If air-raid or rocket warning sirens are sounded, seek secure shelter immediately, ideally in a purpose-built shelter. If in a building when sirens are sounded, head to a secure room, stairwell or inner room. Close all windows and doors, stay in shelter for ten minutes after the siren ends.
    • If hostilities resume between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition, key civilian and military installations in Saudi Arabia and the UAE will likely become targets. Avoid these locations if not essential.
    • Previous Houthi attacks have targeted major airports. Ensure alternative travel plans have been prepared for, as well as all individuals having comprehensive travel insurance.
    • Mariners in the region should proceed with extreme caution, maintaining contact with port and shipping authorities at all times.
    • Always follow all instructions and orders from security forces. ​Where possible, avoid areas of active conflict and remain inside a secure location away from windows.
    • Ensure that you always carry personal identification documents. Consider making photocopies of important documents in case of confiscation, theft or loss.Keep these documents separated from the originals.​​
    • Have emergency contact numbers saved on your phone. These should include the local authorities, medical facilities and any consular support. Ensure that mobile phones are charged in case of any losses in electricity.
    • If caught in the vicinity of a security incident, seek shelter immediately and leave the area if safe to do so. Continue to adhere to all instructions issued by authorities and obey any security cordons in place. 
    • Monitor the Solace Secure platform and trusted local media for relevant updates.


    More on the recent activity in the region

    Houthi Attacks in the Red Sea

    Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, the Houthi Movement has supported the Palestinian cause by targeting southern Israel directly and Israeli-linked vessels on shipping routes in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and the Bab-al-Mandeb.

    Houthi Seizure of Merchant Vessel Galaxy Leader

    In a brazen incident on 19 November, the Galaxy Leader, a Bahamian-flagged and Japanese-operated merchant vessel (IMO: 9237307), fell victim to suspected Houthi Movement militants in the Southern Red Sea.

    Israel-Hamas War 2023

    With the incursion into southern Israel by the Gaza-based militant group Hamas over the weekend of 7 and 8 October, this eventuality became a reality, and the region is now on the precipice of a protracted and deadly conflict.


    Speak to our team about your journey management needs

      Solace Cyber Recognised as Assured Service Provider by National Cyber Security Centre.

      Solace Cyber, a leading Cyber Security organisation with headquarters in Dorset, has achieved recognition as an Assured Service Provider under the prestigious Cyber Incident Response (Level 2) scheme by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). This accolade positions Solace Cyber among the first in the UK to attain Incident Response accreditation through the scheme, highlighting their commitment to providing high-quality incident response services.

      The NCSC’s Cyber Incident Response project aims to offer support to UK organisations that have fallen victim to cyber-attacks, by raising awareness of high-quality incident response providers who can offer external support and advice on how to manage and recover from cyber incidents.

      The initiative builds on the Level 1 scheme, which was developed to assure companies that have the capability to provide incident response services to nationally significant organisations such as regulated industries, central government, and critical national infrastructure.

      With an impressive track record, Solace Cyber has been instrumental in helping companies across the UK recover from ransomware attacks and data breaches. Serving as representatives for International Loss Adjusters and Cyber Insurance companies, Solace covers more than 30,000 commercial businesses nationwide, through our channels, providing hundreds of successful response recoveries.

      Rowland Johnson, President of CREST said, “Congratulations to Solace for gaining NCSC Cyber Incident Response (Level 2) scheme Assured Service Provider status for its incident response services. This means Solace has been assessed as capable of supporting most organisations with common cyberattacks, such as ransomware. It provides valuable assurance to buyers of the high quality of Solace’s incident response services.”

      This prestigious accreditation reaffirms Solace Cyber’s dedication to meeting the NCSC’s stringent standards for both technical and organisational capability. By achieving the Cyber Incident Response (Level 2) status, Solace Cyber continues to demonstrate its unwavering commitment to enhancing the cybersecurity landscape and providing unparalleled support to organisations facing the challenges of cyber threats.

      For media inquiries, please contact: rbessant@solaceglobal.com

      Incident Response Services

      Security in Dubai, UAE and COP28 Climate Change Summit

      The United Nations Climate Change Summit, COP28 will be hosted in Dubai at the end of the month to bring together global leaders in an effort to take action against climate change.

      The Middle East, with its vast energy resources, intricate alliances, and ongoing conflicts, plays a crucial role in the global energy landscape, and the consequences of regional conflicts and geopolitical dynamics in the area have far-reaching implications for the world’s environmental and sustainability goals.

      However, in addition to the long-standing geopolitical tensions and conflicts, the Israel-Hamas war holds the potential to heighten tensions and detract from the success of this summit, with the likely possibility of an increasing security risk to Westerners travelling to Dubai.

      In this article:

      Security factors during COP28 in Dubai

      Many Israeli climate organisations have stated that they will boycott COP28 and it is highly likely that Israel will be forced to withdraw from COP28 entirely due to security concerns.

      However, COP28 will still attract thousands of Westerners, including many world leaders, diplomats and influential businesspeople. It is likely that COP28 represents an attractive target for terrorist actors due to the influx of foreigners and the international publicity of the event.

      On 29 October, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) issued a warning for British tourists visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE), indicating an increased threat of terrorist attacks. The advisory warns of a very likely risk of terrorist attacks, which could be indiscriminate and may target places frequented by foreigners. While terror attacks within the UAE and rare and the Emirati counter-terrorist forces are heavily financed and well-trained, there is a realistic possibility that forces will be overstretched as a result of COP28 and that self-radicalisation within the region will increase as a result of the situation in the Gaza Strip.

      Background on Houthi Movement in Yemen

      In 2004, the Iranian-backed Houthi Movement, otherwise known as Ansar Allah (Supporters of God), rebelled against the Yemeni government with the aspiration of taking control over the entirety of Yemen. The conflict escalated in 2014 when Houthi forces seized Yemen’s capital, Sanna, and forced the Yemeni government into exile. This led to the deployment of a Saudi-led coalition in 2015 that seeks to establish full territorial control by the internationally recognised government within Yemen.

      The Saudi-led coalition consists of predominantly Sunni and Arab nations such as the UAE, and is backed by Western powers including the USA, UK and France.

      UAE’s involvement in the Yemen conflict

      The UAE’s involvement in the coalition has involved a range of military and logistical support for the government of Yemen, including air strikes, the deployment of troops to Yemen and training local Yemeni militias allied to government forces.

      The UAE’s involvement in the conflict has made it a target for Houthi forces who have developed an arsenal of long-range drones and missiles facilitated by Iran. Houthi forces have conducted numerous drone and missile attacks on the UAE, typically targeting strategic locations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, such as airports, ports and oil facilities.

      Since 2019, the UAE has significantly reduced its military footprint in Yemen, however it still projects power through its support of a number of militias allied to Yemeni government forces. The Houthis have conducted attacks on the UAE in response to successful military operations by pro-government militias supported by Abu Dhabi, which resulted in a series of high-profile attacks in 2022 against high-profile targets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

      While the UAE maintains a sophisticated air-defence capability and has been able to shoot down the majority of projectiles within its airspace, it is likely that the Houthis have sufficient drones and missiles to overwhelm and penetrate UAE air defence.

      The Houthi Movement have currently been in talks with Saudi Arabia and other local actors regarding a ceasefire.

      Potential for further destabilisation triggered by the Israel-Hamas War?

      There is a realistic possibility that the Israel-Hamas war destabilises the Middle East, and Iran exploits the situation to order its proxy forces to attack Israeli, Western and anti-Iranian forces and interests throughout the region.

      Houthi forces have attempted drone and missile attacks on Israel in response to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) military activity in the Gaza Strip, with all attacks to date intercepted by IDF or US air defence.

      There is a realistic possibility that both Saudi and the UAE will be forced to respond to Houthi attacks which will invariably provoke retaliatory attacks from the Houthis. Moreover, there is also a realistic possibility that the Houthi rebels might seek to exploit the current situation in the Middle East to conduct attacks on the UAE.

      In the event of a wider conflict involving Israel, the Houthi rebels could exploit regional tensions to launch missile and drone attacks, engage in cyber warfare, and employ asymmetric tactics against the UAE, aiming to distract or pressure the UAE due to its involvement in regional security initiatives and the Saudi-led coalition.

      A further motivation for the Houthis, who are backed by Iran and reportedly allied to Hezbollah, would be to present themselves as defenders of the Palestinian cause and target the UAE for its recent normalisation of relations with Israel and ties to the West.

      Potential outcomes for security in Dubai and UAE

      If the Israel-Hamas conflict is not contained and provokes a US retaliation, the Supreme Leader of the Houthi Movement has issued a statement declaring that they will respond with drones and missiles, and with the Al Dhafra Air Base located just to the south of Abu Dhabi, it is highly likely that Houthi forces will attempt to target the US military and US interests within the UAE.

      For those travelling on business to UAE or will be attending COP28, Solace Global Risk facilitate safer travel for corporate travellers, executives and private clients, with travel risk assessments and end-to-end secure journey management.

      Security solutions include intelligence and advisory, latest security alerts through Solace Secure, security trained drivers and airport meet and greet.

      Our Journey Risk Management Solutions

      Speak to our team about your journey management needs

        Military Coup in Gabon August 2023

        Summary of Military Coup in Gabon

        In the early hours of 30 August, the Gabonese Election Centre (CGE) announced that President Ali Bongo had won a third term in office, having received 64.27 percent vote share in Saturday’s general election. However, just after 05:00 local time, a group of senior officers from the Gabonese military announced on television channel, Gabon 24, that they had seized power with the full support of the Gabonese security and defence forces.​

        Introducing themselves as members of The Committee of Transition and the Restoration of Institutions, the officials stated that the election results were cancelled, all borders were closed until further notice and state institutions – the government, the senate, the national assembly, the constitutional court and the election body – were dissolved. ​

        Following the announcement, domestic and regional sources reported gunfire could be heard in the capital Libreville. However, as the day progressed, the streets appeared calm, and crowds of  citizens peacefully took to the streets. Videos circulating on social media showed multiple instances of people celebrating and cheering, often in close proximity to the country’s armed forces. So far, there has been no signs of widespread protest or alarm. Several hours after the officers’ announcement, internet access also appeared to be restored for the first time since Saturday’s vote. ​

        The Gabonese government has yet to make an official statement, with President Bongo reportedly under house arrest, surrounded by his family and doctors.​

        Potential for Political Unrest in Gabon

        Ahead of the coup, there was significant concern over potential unrest following Saturday’s presidential, parliamentary and legislative elections that the opposition alleged were plagued by fraud. Questions over the election’s transparency were re-enforced by the lack of international observers, the suspension of foreign media broadcasts, the decision to cut internet service, and the imposing of a nationwide curfew.​

        President Ali Bongo and his father, Omar Bongo, have ruled Gabon since 1967, but frustrations with the political dynasty had been growing for several years ahead of Saturday’s election. The Central African nation is a major oil producer, so much so that it is a member of OPEC, as well as being a major exporter of uranium and magnesium. Indeed, the country is home to over one-quarter of the world’s proven magnesium reserves. However, Bongo has done little to channel its oil and other wealth towards the population of some 2.3 million people, a third of whom live in poverty. ​

        This is also not the first attempt in recent history to overthrow Bongo as in January 2019 he and the Gabonese government were able to foil an attempted military coup after soldiers briefly seized the state radio station and broadcasted a message saying Bongo, who had suffered a stroke months earlier, was no longer fit for office.


        Find further analysis on political instability in West Africa


        Situation Analysis by Solace Global

        The strength of Gabon’s extractive-based economy means that it is Africa’s third most wealthy country by GDP per capita. However, with large swathes of the country still living in poverty, it is highly likely that the state has failed to transfer much of this wealth to ordinary citizens. It is likely that economic disparities have been one of the major triggers for the coup. This is likely supported by the lack of public resistance and the fact that celebrations have been seen on the streets of Libreville and other major population centres across the country.​

        Furthermore, the coup has yet to be characterised by anti-French rhetoric in a similar vein to the recent West and Central African coups in countries like Niger and Mali. However, the coup is almost certainly another problem for Paris in Africa, with multiple French companies operating in the country. Unlike the other coups in Africa, it is doubtful that the Gabonese coup leaders will seek Russian support in favour of maintaining Western relations. Gabon has traditionally had weak ties with Russia and unlike much of Africa, has not been threatened with major insurgencies and security issues. Moreover, Gabon was one of the countries in Africa that voted against Russia at the United Nations in the 2022 resolution on Ukraine.​

        Economically, the coup is almost certainly going to lead to price volatility in global oil and magnesium markets. Gabon has strong economic links with both France, and increasingly with China, and it is a major exporter of commodities to these nations. Reports indicate that some foreign companies like the French mining company, Eramet, have already suspended operations in Gabon in response to the coup. It is therefore highly likely that both France and China will be looking for the political situation to be resolved quickly, and there is a realistic possibility of diplomatic involvement from both Paris and Beijing. ​

        In the immediate future, it is unlikely that any major protests or armed clashes will break out as the Gabonese security forces are seemingly onside, and most indications suggest the public is too. The turning on of the internet was likely a move to win over the public as well as signal a different approach to governance than the Bongo regime. However, this also presents an increased potential for demonstrations and protests, both in favour and against the coup, to occur as information is spread on social media. There is a realistic possibility of sustained demonstrations which will likely lead to disruption in major population hubs. Borders will likely remain closed for upcoming days, but if scenes remain calm, borders are likely to reopen quicker than seen in Niger and Mali.

        Advice for travellers affected in Gabon

        • Although the coup appears to be relatively peaceful, widespread unrest and violence could ignite at any time. Travellers should avoid all ongoing military activity and any large public gatherings as the security situation may deteriorate quickly and without warning.​
        • In the event of significant security development, travellers in Gabon should follow any instructions issued by the government or military authorities. If a curfew is declared it is vital to abide by the curfew rules to avoid any conflicts with security forces.​
        • If violence escalates inside the capital, consider departing from Libreville whilst commercial options are still available. ​
        • Key military and political infrastructure inside the capital are very likely to remain focal points for violence and demonstrations. You should be particularly vigilant in these areas and follow any specific advice from the local security authorities.​
        • Expect significant travel disruption and an enhanced security force posture inside Libreville in the short-term. Should any opposition movement to the coup materialise, it is likely that flights will be suspended, and roadblocks or vehicle checkpoints will be established.​
        • Always follow all instructions and orders from security forces. ​Where possible, avoid areas of active conflict and remain inside a secure location away from windows. 
        • Ensure that you always carry personal identification documents. Consider making photocopies of important documents in case of confiscation, theft or loss and keep these documents separated from the originals.​​​
        • Emergency services may be unable to support you in the short-term. Be aware of what consular support may be available to you in-country. Many countries do not provide direct consular support in Gabon. The UK’s consular services for Gabon are based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.​
        • Have emergency contact numbers saved on your phone. These should include the local authorities, medical facilities and any consular support. Ensure that mobile phones are charged in case of any losses in electricity.​
        • If caught in the vicinity of a security incident, seek shelter immediately and leave the area if safe to do so. Continue to adhere to all instructions issued by authorities and obey any security cordons in place. ​
        • Monitor the Solace Secure platform and trusted local media for updates relevant to the coup. 

        Attempted coup in Niger July 2023

        Summary of Attempted Coup in Niger

        On the morning of 26 July, multiple domestic and regional sources reported that a potential coup was underway in Niamey, Niger. Early indications suggested that the Presidential Guard had blocked the entrance to the Presidential Palace, and detained President Mohamed Bazoum. Concurrently, government ministries next to the palace were blockaded, with those inside, including the Minister of the Interior, detained.


        By early afternoon, the Niger Armed Forces (FAN) and National Guard had both deployed in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace. The FAN and the Presidential office both released statements asserting that the ongoing coup attempt was being driven by “anti-republican” elements and gave the Presidential Guard an “ultimatum” to stand down and release President Bazoum, or face being attacked. Unverified social media reports have subsequently described armoured FAN columns entering Niamey. Further unverified reports later emerged of roadblocks appearing across the city.


        The conditions in Niamey remained calm initially, however, as the situation developed businesses were reputedly told to close and residents were ordered to stay at home. Operations at Diori Hamani International Airport currently remain unaffected, with flight tracking data showing that both inbound and outbound flights were operating as normal.

        Recent Instability in Western Africa

        Since 2020, several coups have taken place across the Sahel region, most notably in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso. The key driver for instability has been the inability of central governments to guarantee internal security from a myriad of insurgencies and terrorist actors. Niger has been increasingly afflicted by the instability affecting the wider region. In the southeast, Niger is battling incursions from Boko Haram and in the west of the country, the government is attempting to contain threats from Islamic State’s Sahel Province.
        Due to the external and internal threats posed by these actors, Niger has become a major operating base for Western nations in the region. Indeed, both France and the USA utilise the country as a base for operations in the wider Sahel.
        This relationship has grown in significance for Western governments as relations with other states in the region, such as Mali and Burkina Faso, have broken down in the wake of their own respective coups, leading to the expulsion of French forces.

        Further strengthening this relationship is the fact that Niger’s President was democratically elected in 2021 and is one of the region’s few remaining democratically elected heads of state. However, in February 2023 protests erupted in the capital, Niamey, with demonstrators expressing their dissatisfaction with a sustained French military presence in the country, with many believing that the foreign presence was either ineffective or had exacerbated security concerns.


        Find further analysis on political instability in West Africa


        Situation Analysis by Solace Global

        At the time of writing, there has been no official statement from Presidential Guard. However, given the recent regional trends, it is highly likely that this attempted coup has transpired due to concerns regarding the deteriorating security of Niger.

        This is further evidenced by the fact that the Presidential Guard has also apprehended the Minister of the Interior, who is the person ultimately responsible for policing and internal security in Niger. The recent uptick in attacks near the borders with Burkina Faso and Mali likely provided the catalyst for the current situation.


        As the situation develops, it is almost certain that key transport routes and critical locations across Niamey will be seized by rival forces. This will include Niamey’s key river crossings, which connect the main part of the city on the eastern bank of the Niger River to its western parts, the international airport, and state TV and radio offices. At the time of writing, it is believed that President Mohamed Bazoum remains in detention.


        The success of the ongoing attempted coup remains to be seen. Initial signs suggest that the FAN and National Guard have remained loyal to President Bazoum and are willing to fight. If this remains the case, it is unlikely that the coup succeeds due to the disparity in military firepower between the two sides. This result would ultimately see the Presidential Guard purged.

        However, should the coup succeed, civil unrest, both in favour and against, will highly likely occur. A transitional military council will likely take over the government and immediately revise the stationing of foreign militaries in Niger. The removal of the last remaining Western forces in the region will likely create a security vacuum, that will almost certainly benefit the insurgencies and terrorist groups in Niger and the wider region.

        Alert Plus: Multiple Large Earthquakes Strike Southern Turkey

        Situation Summary: Large Earthquakes in Southern Turkey

        At 01:17 (UTC) on 6 February, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake was detected 30km west-northwest of Gaziantep, Turkey (37°10’26.4″N 37°01’55.2″E). The earthquake struck at a depth of 24.1km and it quickly became apparent that a significant amount of casualties and damage had occurred in Turkey and northern Syria. There have been several substantial aftershocks, eight of which recorded a magnitude of at least 5. Tremors have also been felt in Greece, Cyprus and Lebanon.​

        As of 10:00, at least 1200 fatalities had been confirmed across Turkey and Syria. Images and videos posted to social media and local news outlets indicate considerable damage to infrastructure. In Turkey alone, at least 2818 buildings have collapsed. At 10:24, the region was then struck again by a separate 7.5 magnitude earthquake 4km south-southeast of Ekinozu (37°10’26.4″N 37°01’55.2″E) – roughly 128km north of the earlier epicentre. At the time of writing, it has been reported that the region has experienced at least 100 aftershocks. ​

        According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the area in which the quakes have hit is populated predominately by non-earthquake-resistant residential structures. They are often made of masonry, brick, and non-reinforced concrete frames. As a result, many buildings will have been badly damaged or will have collapsed completely. This means that there will be few places in which survivors can shelter safely.​

        Turkey declared a ‘Level 4 Alarm’ after the initial tremor, which reportedly includes a call for international assistance and support. The European Union has agreed to send rescue teams and is preparing further help for Turkey. US officials are also monitoring the situation and have noted their willingness to help. Rescue teams from India, Russia and Taiwan have also deployed. ​

        President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described events so far as the nation’s worst disaster since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that killed over 32,000.  ​

        Intelligence Analysis by Solace Global

        The earthquakes have struck as Turkey prepares for its May elections, which were already seen as some of the country’s most consequential in decades. These earthquakes further add electoral weight, since previous large earthquakes have led to major political changes in the country. In the wake of Turkey’s last major earthquakes, in 1999, voters turned away the incumbent parties in the 2002 elections. These parties were punished as a result of the poor relief and reconstruction efforts, and for the large-scale corruption the earthquake exposed. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his newly formed Justice and Development Party (AKP) party were the major beneficiaries of this political shift. As a result, he became Prime Minster in 2003 and ascended to the Presidency in 2014, a post he currently still holds.​

        The province of Gaziantep, where the epicentre of the earlier earthquake is located, has long been a cradle of support for the AKP and Erdogan. Indeed, support for the AKP and Erdogan has remained high in the province despite the recent economic volatility and uncertainty in the country, and the persistent accusations of corruption levied against the AKP and President Erdogan. Consequently, comprehensive aid and reconstruction efforts are likely to be implemented swiftly. Despite this, contemporary Turkish political history suggests that the AKP, having been the beneficiaries of the 1999 earthquake, may be victims of these ones. This becomes increasingly possible if victims feel that aid is too slow, not sufficient, or that reconstruction efforts are corrupt. ​

        Northern Syria has also been badly affected by the disaster. This part of the country has seen several recent Turkish military incursions; it is also home to some of the last anti-government areas of control. The tremors are almost certain to mean that Turkish offensive military operations in the region are temporarily halted, as the military is redeployed to support disaster relief and search and rescue operations in Turkey. The Syrian government may also seek to fast-track search and rescue and reconstruction efforts in areas in the region it controls in a bid to try and win support across an area which was long a stronghold of anti-Assad movements.​

        Those with interests in the region are advised to note that there remains considerable potential for large-magnitude aftershocks or follow-on tremors.​

        Advice if Affected by Earthquakes in Turkey

        Risk Management for NGO’s in Turkey and Syria