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WEEKLY

Friday 20th 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

Following the seizure of Kabul, the Taliban have made a concerted effort to maintain law and order and push the narrative that they are a legitimate political force. Taliban social media accounts have published messages and announcements attempting to ease concerns of both Afghans and foreign observers regarding issues such as law and order, women’s rights, education, and the safety of former government employees. Despite the Taliban’s attempts to appear legitimate, many in Afghanistan have claimed that the Taliban continue to carry out arrests of former government personnel and carry out infringements of social rights.

The Taliban narrative of legitimacy was somewhat damaged by their handling of protests in several cities across Afghanistan on Afghan Independence Day (19th August) in which militants are reported to have fired at protesters waving Afghan flags, causing casualties. Despite the seizure of Kabul, the Taliban are yet to capture the entirety of Afghanistan. A resistance movement made up of local militia and former security forces personnel has formed, based in Panjshir province with high profile commanders such as Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh. At the time of writing, only minor unconfirmed clashes have been reported between the Taliban and the Panjshir resistance and the future of the resistance movement remains unclear.

For a more detailed breakdown of the last 7 days in Afghanistan, head to our website.

Insight Weekly - Europe Image

EUROPE

Poland

This week saw AgroUnia, a political movement representing Polish Farmers, carry out a road blockade in Ilawa County in Northern Poland. The blockade saw tractors block/hinder access along route DK15 for 24 hours on 17th August. This is the second protest of its kind this month and the latest reports indicate the group plans to carry out more of such protests across multiple locations in Poland in order to pressure the Polish government to have more favourable policies towards Poland’s agricultural sector.

These protests have been gaining increasing attention in Poland’s mainstream media (alongside the protests regarding media freedom across the country) which may encourage the group to go ahead with more road blockades. Should this happen, travelling on highways across Poland may need to factor in potential delays caused by AgroUnia road blockades over the coming weeks.

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Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Africa?

AFRICA

Burkina Faso

65 civilians, 15 gendarmes and 6 auxiliary forces were killed after jihadists ambushed a convoy about 25 kilometres from Gorgadji on the Arbinda road in Boukouma, Soum Province, northern Burkina Faso. Boukouma is located on a stretch of the road surrounded by forested terrain, providing jihadists with cover and concealment. The convoy was spread over a 600-metre distance with the gendarmes positioned at the front and rear of the convoy. The attackers opened fire on the middle of the convoy. Fighting followed for three hours. 58 jihadists were reportedly killed.

The latest ambush is a further indication of the worsening security situation in northern Burkina Faso, and has the largest casualty count of the three ambushes carried out between Dori and Arbinda since the start of the year. Auxiliary forces have been the target of several attacks in the vicinity of the ambush. Formed in January 2020 to support state security forces, they have had some success in fighting jihadist groups. However, poorly equipped and operating with poor means of transport and adequate levels of food and fuel, they have been the target of a number of attacks in recent months in northern, central and eastern Burkina Faso.

Insight Weekly - North America Image

NORTH AMERICA

Washington D.C.

At 09:15AM on 19th August, a 49 year old man now identified as Floyd Ray Roseberry parked his pickup truck outside the Library of Congress’ Jefferson Building and told police he had a bomb and was holding what appeared to be a detonator. The incident led to the evacuation of nearby government buildings and a standoff lasting approximately five hours. Roseberry was arrested after surrendering to police with bomb making materials recovered from the vehicle but no actual device.

Roseberry live-streamed the event and listed a number of grievances including medical care and the withdrawal from Afghanistan by western troops while also demanding to speak with President Biden and warning of a “revolution”. Roseberry’s social media accounts reportedly show him attending a Stop the Steal rally on 14th November 2020 in Washington D.C.

The incident comes after the 6th January attack on the U.S. Capitol highlighting continued disillusionment among elements of society with domestic policy across the United States. Roseberry’s references to Afghanistan could also be indicative of growing disillusionment with foreign policy and America’s perceived retreat from the world stage. People and businesses should be aware of changes in domestic and foreign policy including the possibility of violent copycat incidents and protests in response.

Insight Weekly - South America Image

SOUTH AMERICA

Brazil

On 18th August, municipal, state, and federal civil servants launched protests in the majority of states across Brazil, as well as in the Federal District. The motive for the protest was to denounce the Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) 32, of the administrative reform, which changes the norms that govern civil servants. The proposed amendment may be voted on by the end of August. Additionally, some protests were against the privatisation of Post Office and Eletrobras. The protests were called by trade unions, who states that PEC 32 would damage public education, public health, and favour the ruling class like judges, parliamentarians and the military.

Large scale nationwide protests have taken place in recent months, particularly to demand the impeachment of President Bolsonaro over his government’s policies and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is likely the country will see additional protests on both the PEC 32 and in regard to COVID-19. There are protests planned around Brazil’s Independence Day on 7th September.

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THE INSIGHT: An Intelligence Fusion Video Series

The Insight series aims to take a headline, topical subject or geopolitical development and explain exactly what’s happening and why it matters to you – all in under ten minutes.

LATEST EPISODE:

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Asian Narcos: the Drug Trade in South-East Asia’s ‘Golden Triangle’

In the latest episode of The Insight, Regional Analyst, Chris Bowe, explains how ‘The Golden Circle’ in South-East Asia fuels a multi-billion dollar illicit drug trading industry in the region – and the crackdown further afield on drug dealing in the Philippines and Bangladesh