IntelliFusion Newsletter I like.


Here’s your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place from each region in the last seven days;

MIDDLE EAST & ASIA

Bangkok, Thailand

Pro-democracy protesters held a large demonstration in Bangkok to mark the 89th anniversary of the end of absolute monarchy in Thailand. The protesters first gathered at the Democracy Monument and marched towards the Prime Minister’s office, where protesters called for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Thai police have warned against attending protests due to COVID-19 restrictions but allowed the demonstration to take place along a closely guarded route. Additional protests have been planned in Chiang Mai and in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

EUROPE

The Black Sea

Reporting over the last seven days has seen Russian naval and air assets operating in the Black Sea in the lead up to Exercise Sea Breeze 2021; a 32 nation exercise involving Ukraine, the USA and the UK among numerous others which will occur largely in the Black Sea. Open source reporting has been heavily focussed on an incident where Russia claimed to have fired warning shots with naval and air assets towards the Royal Navy’s HMS Defender due to the vessel sailing in what Russia claims to be Russian waters off the coast of the Crimea Peninsula.

Further reports on the incident led to a great deal of confusion as to what happened. However, reporting from a BBC journalist embedded with the crew of HMS Defender indicates that Russian aircraft were flying near the destroyer, but reports of warning shots were live fire drills being conducted far away from the vessel.

With the Black Sea being very close to Russian territory and Ukraine’s Donbass region, the presence of numerous militaries in the Black Sea will be a major concern to Russian forces and Russian paramilitaries in the Donbass region (their activities in the Donbass region have become harder to track in recent months). For the duration of Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 (28th June – 10th July 2021) it is possible that Russian activity in the Black Sea will increase and with it, an increase in reports from Russia claiming that foreign navies have entered waters Russia claims are its own.

AFRICA

Tigray Region, Ethiopia

An Ethiopian Air Force airstrike on a market in Togoga, northwest of Mekelle, capital of Tigray Region has left at least 64 dead and 180 injured, according to local officials, residents, and healthcare workers. However, the Ethiopian army spokesperson claimed that the airstrike targeted rebel fighters dressed in civilian clothing.

There have been increased reports of heavy fighting between the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF), the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), and Eritrean Defence Forces (ErDF) since at least 18th June after the TDF launched an offensive named Operation Alula AbaNega. The TDF claim to have made gains on three fronts around Mekelle and briefly entered Adigrat as well as capturing over 1000 ENDF soldiers and large amounts of heavy weapons and ammunition.

In early June, there were also reports that the ENDF and its allies were preparing a ‘final’ offensive with reports of white phosphorous and heavy artillery transported into Mekelle on Ethiopian Airlines aircraft. Videos circulating on social media seemingly confirm the use of Ethiopian Airlines aircraft to transport Ethiopian soldiers into Tigray Region. The latest reports of civilian casualties add to mounting pressure on PM Abiy Ahmed over the conflict in the Tigray Region, where a humanitarian crisis and widespread reports of sexual violence, ethnic cleansing and war crimes have forced the U.S. to impose sanctions on Ethiopia.

NORTH AMERICA

Reynosa, Mexico

Last weekend, 230 murders were reported across Mexico. The most significant incident took place in Reynosa, where 14 civilians were shot dead in broad daylight on Saturday.

A convoy of two allied factions of the Gulf Cartel, the Scorpions and the Cyclones, arrived from the nearby city of Rio Bravo and fired indiscriminately at civilians on the streets of eastern Reynosa. Amongst the 14 victims were taxi drivers, construction workers, and a student. Four of the attackers were killed after their convoy was finally confronted by state police near the Pharr International Bridge. The only suspect who was captured alive has since shed more light on the attack. He claims he received orders to “heat up the place” and seize territory from Los Metros, a rival faction within the Gulf Cartel. Mexican authorities call the attack an attempt to generate “social destabilisation”.

This upcoming Saturday, 26th June, protest marches will be organised in both Reynosa and Rio Bravo to commemorate the victims of the attack. Relatives of the victims have urged participants to keep the marches peaceful.

SOUTH AMERICA

Brasilia, Brazil

Indigenous protesters from across Brazil returned to the streets of Brasilia on Tuesday, 22nd June, to protest against a bill backed by the country’s agriculture sector, which could undermine legal protections for indigenous territories and open them up to mining, commercial farming, and infrastructure projects.

The protesters planned to march to Brazil’s congress but were halted by riot police near Itamaraty Palace, where tear gas and rubber bullets faced off against bows and arrows. At least five people were injured, including two police officers who were shot with arrows. The violence caused legislative proceedings regarding the controversial bill to be suspended.

Approximately 850 indigenous protesters remain at their encampment in Brasilia, with more tribes still on their way. Similar protests have been reported in the states of Alagoas, Roraima, Bahia and São Paulo.

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THE INSIGHT: An Intelligence Fusion Video Series

A video series that takes a closer look at key incidents and events, providing you with wider analysis on security trends, evolving patterns and unexplored geopolitical themes from every corner of the globe.

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