Newsletters I like: Intelligence Fusion


WEEKLY

Friday 13th August 2021

Hi Dhananjaya,

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 & ASIA

Afghanistan

The Taliban have continued to capture major population centres across Afghanistan as offensive operations continue. Whilst the Taliban have captured cities across the country, a concerted effort has been seen in the south where the Taliban have captured Kandahar City, Lashkar Gah and Tarin Kowt. The capture of these cities (among others) has allowed the group to consolidate its control in the south of Afghanistan, with government personnel retreating to military bases outside of provincial centres. In many cases, security forces have negotiated a surrender or a withdrawal with the attacking Taliban, although reports have claimed that convoys of ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) personnel have been ambushed on rural roads as they attempted to reach larger bases outside of the cities. The offensive capability of the Afghan security forces have come under scrutiny, as security forces have struggled to carry out effective counter attacks in response to the attacks against provincial centres, despite extensive use of airstrikes.

In response to the deteriorating situation, the UK, USA and Canada are among countries who have decided to send military personnel to Afghanistan in order to secure the evacuation of their nationals from embassies in Kabul, as the security of the capital becomes more and more uncertain. The Taliban offensive is expected to continue with similar levels of success seen already as security forces struggle to control the situation. Traditional strongholds of the government such as Bamiyan and Panjshir have so far seen far fewer incidents then elsewhere in the country, but militias and security forces have complained of lack of military support.

Insight Weekly - Europe Image

EUROPE

Greece, Italy and the Balkan States

This week has seen the wildfires currently occurring in Greece, Italy and the Balkan States dominate reporting. The scale and intensity of these fires has shown to be immense; featuring large scale evacuations across remote areas in Greece and indications of record high temperatures in Sicily.

While there have been some indications of arson, these fires are likely to catch the attention of climate change activists. Shortly after the recent floods in Germany and Belgium, climate change activists were quick to claim that climate change was the cause; holding banks, oil and gas firms, mining companies and all others involved or linked to the fossil fuels industry responsible for climate change.

With the size and scale of these fires, climate change activists will be quick to claim it is due to climate change and hold the fossil fuels industry – and those linked to it – responsible. In the short term, it is likely there will be sit-in style protests which are a common tactic for these groups.

However, coming up on the 24th September, 2021 is the annual ‘Worldwide Climate Strike’ which features multiple, large-scale protests across countries. Given these recent fires and floods across Europe, activists will possibly become more radicalised and begin planning larger scale incidents such as direct action protests in order to promote their cause. Firms linked to the fossil fuel industry – directly involved or otherwise – may need to anticipate the possibility of protests (up to and including direct action protests) at their major branches or head offices.

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Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Africa?

AFRICA

Amhara, Ethiopia

The TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) have taken control of Nefas Mewcha in northern Amhara Region as the TPLF continue to take control of towns deeper into Amhara Region. Nefas Mewcha is about 50 miles from Debre Tabor, which in turn is located 50 miles from Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara Region. Meanwhile, a curfew has been imposed in Dessie due to the large number of IDPs (internally displaced people) arriving from North Wollo Zone. With the TPLF gaining ground, the Ethiopian government called on “all capable” citizens to join the military to stop the TPLF “once and for all”.

These developments come as the leader of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) announced that the group has formed a military alliance with the TPLF and that the two groups are sharing battlefield information. The OLA leader stated that overthrowing the Abiy-led government using military means is the only solution. With the TPLF taking control of territory north of Bahir Dar, the OLA this week claimed that they have taken control of the strategically important Nekemte-Bahir Dar road.

Insight Weekly - North America Image

NORTH AMERICA

United States

This week, has seen the continued and rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the United States. The spread has led to an increase in hospitalisations with eight states in the South and Southwest reportedly making up 51% of patients nationwide, with the majority being unvaccinated. The increase in hospitalisations has led to ICUs in certain cities and states rapidly approaching capacity putting a strain on healthcare systems and professionals not seen in months. In addition to the high rates of infection, we continue to observe protests by ‘medical freedom’ activists, as well as debates over mask mandates, with some states choosing to reinstate mask mandates due to the variant.

New York City saw a ‘medical freedom’ protest take place outside City Hall on the 9th August, with activists later marching and forcing a mobile testing clinic to stop its work. In Florida, two days after the school year started, several hundred students have been forced to self-isolate due to COVID-19 outbreaks in schools. Despite the outbreaks, Governor Ron DeSantis remains adamant that schools cannot put in place mask mandates for students, and has even said the state could withhold the salaries of school leaders who put mask mandates in place. The Biden administration is responding to this surge by renewing efforts to increase vaccination rates, especially among adolescents.

Insight Weekly - South America Image

SOUTH AMERICA

Brasília, Brazil

On Tuesday morning, tanks and other armoured vehicles drove through the streets of Brazil’s capital. The military parade was allegedly organised to invite President Jair Bolsonaro to an annual military exercise on Sunday. However, many lawmakers began protesting as the tanks drove past Congress, claiming that the parade was a show of force designed to intimidate them. That same day, lawmakers were voting on a constitutional amendment backed by Bolsonaro that would have ushered in a return to paper ballot voting. Although the amendment was rejected by the lower house, opposition politicians fear that Bolsonaro is sowing doubt in Brazil’s electronic voting system so he can claim electoral fraud in case he loses next year’s presidential election.

Bolsonaro has always claimed that Brazil’s voting system is rigged, even when he won the election in 2018. Now, the president is quickly slipping in the polls. Whilst inflation is soaring and another controversial bill (PEC 32) is being introduced by his government, further protests and strikes are being planned across Brazil on Wednesday 18th August.

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