Welcome to August's Travel Safe Summary.
Ares Risk Management is committed to helping and supporting the travelling business community, keeping you and your personnel safe while travelling – especially if your business takes you to some of the worlds at risk, crisis or conflict zones. With the UK holiday season in full swing this Travel Safe Summary could well be helpful to those who are thinking of going to exotic places for their holidays. Understanding where the world's at risk, crisis and conflict zones could be of benefit to you.
Before our Travel Safe Trends & Risk Report, we’d like to remind you that when travelling abroad, even to countries which are considered “safe”, we live in a dangerous world. While conflict or terror attacks might not be prevalent in the country or city you are visiting, all countries and cities suffer from crime. Therefore it is important to be aware of the types of crime you might encounter so that you can plan and prepare for "worst case scenario" events. We would also like to remind you that weather may cause disruption to your travel plans. We also advise that you consider health issues and ensure that you are immunised (if need be) prior to travelling.
It is also worth noting that some over the counter and prescription medications which a legal and freely accessible in the UK and Europe might be considered contraband in other countries so please be sure that you are aware of the all issues you may face when travelling abroad!
If you are travelling in August and would like a more detailed country and regional risk assessment, or if you need International Executive Close Protection Services please do not hesitate to contact us at:
Ares Risk Management.
New for this month we have added a stop-light colour coding system to our country risk summaries, so that you can see the risks more clearly.
It’s important to note that “Low Risk”
does not mean “No Risk”!
TRACKING WORLDWIDE CONFLICT – August 2018
LOOKING BACK AT JULY 2018 ~ SETTING THE SCENE FOR THIS MONTHS OUTLOOK
In July, fighting rose between Israel and Hamas and could quickly escalate into a new Gaza war, while in Yemen, as violence intensified on several fronts, a UN plan offered hope that a battle for Hodeida city could still be averted.
Al-Shabaab stepped up attacks in Somalia. Cameroon’s Anglophone conflict spread to new areas, and tensions rose within Côte d’Ivoire’s ruling coalition.
Violence marred elections in Pakistan and disrupted voting in Mali.
Zimbabwe’s first general election since former President Mugabe’s ousting went largely peacefully. Wide endorsement of the results could pave the way for the country’s recovery, but their rejection could spark turmoil.
Violent protests erupted in southern Iraq over poor services and unemployment. and in Haiti over a proposed hike in fuel prices.
Deadly clashes between protesters and pro-government forces in Nicaragua continued with hundreds now reported killed.
On a brighter note, Ethiopia and Eritrea took further steps to cement peace, South Sudan’s warring leaders agreed to share power.
In the Philippines, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, a long-awaited step to implement peace in Mindanao, was finally signed into law.
AUGUST 2018 Trends and Outlook
Over the summer several long-lasting conflicts have become more lethal so please take care!
ISRAEL & GAZA
Fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls Gaza, rose to its highest level since the 2014 war. There are fears that tensions increased fighting could escalate into a new full-scale confrontation. To stop Palestinian protesters in Gaza sending incendiary kites across the border, Israel ramped up aerial strikes on Hamas targets and tightened its blockade. Retaliating with rocket fire, Hamas and Islamic Jihad sought to re-establish the precedent that Israeli bombings would not go unanswered.
In Yemen, fighting has intensified intensified on several fronts, Saudi-led coalition forces consolidated their positions just south of the port city of Hodeida. The UN envoy’s proposal to avert a battle for the city and restart talks and the Huthis’ two-week ceasefire in the Red Sea offer a small glimmer of hope. However there continue to be fears that the UN proposal will not satisfy everyone and that the Huthis’ could continue to pursue victory through violence.
Protests swept across southern Iraq, with demonstrators bemoaning poor services and unemployment and attacking government and party offices. Security forces responded harshly, in some places shooting at protesters, and killing around 50.
Zimbabwe’s general elections on 30 July 2018 – the first since Robert Mugabe was ousted in November 2017 – could lay the foundation for the country’s recovery, or could just as easily lead to violence. Voting took place largely peacefully and three quarters of the electorate cast a ballot. A credible result accepted by all would give the government much-needed legitimacy. But, if the losers reject the results, violence could break out, eroding prospects of economic and governance reform and international re-engagement.
In Mali, intercommunal violence and jihadist attacks, especially in the centre and north east, rose in the lead-up to hotly contested presidential elections on 29 July. The violence and a chaotic electoral process may have squandered whatever opportunity the vote presented to revive the peace process.
In Cameroon, the Anglophone conflict spread to new areas, and trouble brewed within Côte d’Ivoire’s ruling coalition. The parties of President Ouattara and former President Bédié squared off over the merger of all coalition members into a single party ahead of presidential elections in 2020.
The Horn of Africa took strides toward greater stability, and felt painful setbacks. In Somalia, Al-Shabaab stepped up its offensive against military forces and civilians, resuming attacks in Mogadishu after a lull.
ETHIOPIA & ERITREA
In contrast, the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea turned a page in history when they agreed to end the state of war that had existed between their nations since 1998.
In South Sudan, the war’s protagonists signed security and power-sharing agreements giving rise to cautious optimism. Now they must translate these commitments into new realities on the ground, and put a stop to more than four years of fighting.
Pakistan’s general election on 25 July was marred by high levels of violence as well as allegations of irregularities and interference by federal and provincial caretaker governments, the judiciary and the military. Over 200 candidates and supporters were killed in attacks ahead of the election and on polling day, including the 13 July terror attack on a rally in Balochistan that killed at least 149 people.
There is a risk that in the aftermath of the election the violence and terror attacks could escalate!
In Nicaragua, 38 people were reported killed in clashes between protesters and troops on 8 July, the deadliest day since protests against President Ortega’s government began in April. With paramilitary and police forces attempting to subdue protest strongholds and restore government control, the reported death toll since April now exceeds 350.
Four people were killed during violent protests in Haiti after the government announced a hike in fuel prices.
In the Philippines, the long-awaited Bangsamoro Organic Law was finally signed into law at the end of July, the most important component of the 2014 peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front aimed at ending 40 years of conflict in Mindanao. Implementing this deal is essential to efforts to curtail the influence and spread of jihadist groups in the country.