via Intelligence fusion newsletter

Friday 2nd July 2021
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; 
Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Asia?
MIDDLE EAST & ASIASyria-Iraq BorderOn the 27th June US aircraft carried out a number of airstrikes targeting Iran-backed militia personnel in positions straddling the Syria-Iraq border in the al-Qaim/Deir Ezzor area. US forces claimed that the strikes targeted a facility involved in the manufacturing of drones. Casualties were reported among Popular Mobilisation Force (PMF) personnel manning the positions during the strikes and in response the PMF vowed to retaliate. The next day, Iran-backed militia fighters fired 34 rockets at US positions close to the al-Omar oil field in Syria’s Deir Ezzor Province.. In Iraq, Iran-backed PMF militia have been involved in a number of attacks targeting US assets such as targeting convoys with IEDs and targeting airbases/the International Zone in Baghdad with rocket fire. In response, the US has carried out multiple airstrikes targeting PMF militias and militia sites. US airstrikes have typically been restrained to targeting Iran-backed forces in Iraq, but the recent strikes in Syria suggest a potential geographical broadening of the ongoing confrontation between the two sides. 
Insight Weekly - Europe Image
EUROPEThe Black SeaOver 30 different nations including the USA and UK have commenced Exercise Sea Breeze 2021 in the Black Sea. This exercise appears to have caused concern to the Russian government. Aside from hostile diplomatic rhetoric, there’ve been at least two incidents where the Russian government has claimed that foreign naval vessels have entered Russian territorial waters – the first being the much publicised incident surrounding the Royal Navy’s HMS Defender along with the US Navy’s USS Ross. On both occasions, open source Automatic Identification System (AIS) data was used by the Russian government to claim these vessels had entered Russian waters off the coast of Crimea which was later found to be inaccurate. In the second case, it was claimed that the USS Ross was near Crimea but open source reporting later revealed that it was in fact in port at Odesa, Ukraine at the time. These revelations indicate that AIS data was manipulated/falsified. The apparent manipulation of AIS data could have wider implications than causing political/diplomatic disputes. The locations of these alleged territorial breaches are near/within heavy commercial maritime activity. Looking ahead, it’s possible that commercial vessels could find themselves being interdicted by Russian vessels and aircraft in the future near the Crimea Peninsula, with falsified AIS data being used to justify such moves.
Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Africa?
AFRICABeni, Democratic Republic of the CongoThe ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) carried out two IED bombings and one suicide bombing in the eastern Congolese city of Beni. The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed an IED detonation in a church and a suicide bombing that was carried out in the Mabakanga area of Beni. This is the first time the ADF have carried out a suicide bombing in the DRC and the first time the group have carried out three bombings in a city within the space of 48 hours. The group also carried out an attack in the Rwangoma suburb of the city, killing at least 10 civilians. Although the bombings didn’t result in a large number of casualties, they are indicative of the groups ambition and a clear sign of the group’s evolving tactics, hitting symbolic targets such as churches to stoke religious tensions and areas with high foot traffic to inflict maximum civilian casualties. The attacks have resulted in anger against the government over continued insecurity in Beni and Irumu territories and they also take place just under a month after a state of siege was declared in North Kivu and Ituri provinces to curb the activities of armed groups. The Congolese army (FARDC) warned in May that ADF fighters have infiltrated secure areas of Beni territory and a group of UN experts recently warned of the increasing use of IEDs in the northeast of the DRC.
Insight Weekly - North America Image
NORTH AMERICABritish Columbia, CanadaA large wildfire destroyed the village of Lytton during the evening of the 30th June, shortly after it recorded Canada’s highest ever temperature of 49.6C/121.3F. Police were reported going door-to-door of local residents as Mayor Jan Polderman issued an evacuation order with the village destroyed in approximately 15 minutes. The incident comes amid unprecedented temperatures across the northwest of Canada and the United States. The province of British Columbia has recorded at least 486 deaths over the previous five days compared with an average of 165 with Chief Coroner, Lisa Lapointe, blaming the extreme heat. The soaring temperatures have been linked with climate change. British Columbia is already the scene of widespread environmental protests by Extinction Rebellion and various First Nations opposed to logging and construction of oil and gas infrastructure. The extensive wildfires and temperatures witnessed across the province may lead to increased demonstrations from these groups. The provincial Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, has confirmed a state of emergency may be declared as the situation develops across summer.
Insight Weekly - South America Image
SOUTH AMERICAPanama City, PanamaOn the 1st July, a protest by more than 30 unions of workers, students, farmers and environmentalists took place across Panama. The protest was organised by the National Front for the Defence of Economic and Social Rights (Frenadesco), to protest the current Government’s policies on the two-year anniversary of President Laurentino Cortizo’s term in office. Protesters held signs and shouted slogans against the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, against corruption, against the possible privatisation of social security, and against environmental issues such as a new open pit mine project which has been protested against for several months. Police in Panama City had set up barricades in the area of the National Assembly, and tensions rose when protesters tried to remove them. Police used tear gas and rubber-bullets to disperse those who took part in the protest. Additional clashes were also reported near the University of Panama between students and police. Further protests are likely in the near future due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, which has worsened the unemployment and poverty rates.
📽🎙🖥️ 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.
War in Afghanistan: What does it mean for the future of the TAPI Gas Pipeline? In the latest episode of The Insight video series, Max Taylor, Senior Regional Analyst for Asia and the Middle East at Intelligence Fusion, takes a look at the future of the TAPI Pipeline project in light of the ongoing insecurity in Afghanistan.
Watch now