Special Reports

Zimbabwe Military Intervention

Special Report: Zimbabwe - Widespread Civil Unrest Unlikely in the Near Term

The Nov. 14-15 military takeover of Zimbabwe, set in motion by President Robert Mugabe's Nov. 6 decision to sack Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and purge his supporters from the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), is unlikely to result in widespread violence in the near term. Potential opponents of the military remain disoriented by the rapidity of its seizure of power. Furthermore, a longstanding prioritization of government spending on the military will likely contribute to command-and-control cohesion, and inhibit the emergence of effective renegade units. Authorities are likely to keep airports and international borders open, in part to show "normalcy," but also to prevent the intensification of widespread essential goods shortages. Nonetheless, in the longer term, political uncertainty could prompt panic buying and withdrawals of savings, and consequent food and cash shortages could lead to protests and increased criminal activity.
France Counterterrorism Measures Enshrined in New Law

Special Report: France - New Law Enshrines Robust Counterterrorism Measures

The expiration of France's State of Emergency, and its replacement with a new anti-terrorism law, indicates that French authorities view the threat of Islamist-inspired attacks as persistent and unchanged; in short, the state of heightened security will continue nationwide indefinitely. The anti-terrorism law, which came into effect Nov. 1, permanently grants security personnel the power to, with some exceptions unique to the State of Emergency, detain and question suspected terrorists, and increase surveillance at public events, transport hubs, and borders. A visibly heightened police and military presence - as well as related security alerts - at heavily trafficked locations throughout the country will likely prompt disruptions to transport and business operations.

Spain: Takeover of Catalonian Administration Likely to Prompt Continued Protests

Continued protest activity relating to tensions around the issue of Catalan independence is likely in the coming weeks after the Spanish federal government revoked Catalonian autonomy and dismissed the regional government. Although Madrid will now likely seek to de-escalate the crisis, campaigning ahead of fresh regional elections scheduled for Dec. 21 could encourage further demonstrations by both pro-Spain and pro-independence activists. However, it remains highly unlikely that the situation will deteriorate to the point where it poses a direct threat to foreign companies or travelers in Catalonia.
iJET Special Report: Catalonia, Spain Protest

Special Report - Spain: Political Tensions in Catalonia Unlikely to Pose Direct Threat to Foreign Businesses or Travelers

Heightened political tensions, street protests, and strikes by labor organizations will probably persist in Spain's Catalonia region over the coming several weeks as the regional administration in Barcelona pursues its goal of holding a referendum on independence.  With the plebiscite currently slated for Oct. 1, the government in Madrid has taken a number of controversial steps to prevent the vote, drawing push-back from Catalonian President Charles Puigdemont and pro-independence activists.

Special Report - US: Healthcare Delivery Normalizing in Southeastern Texas following Passage of Hurricane Harvey

Healthcare delivery systems in southeastern Texas have begun to normalize following the passage of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall on Aug. 25 and caused catastrophic flooding, especially in the Greater Houston area. Despite widespread reports of medication shortages and severe impact to local pharmacies and clinics, the rapid implementation of mitigation strategies appears to have been largely effective. Healthcare delivery systems will likely continue to improve in the coming weeks as floodwaters recede, while the risk of infectious diseases could become more severe. 

Special Report - US: Flooding to Inundate Gulf Coast through Early September, Even as Rainfall Abates

Tropical Storm Harvey has made its final landfall and will weaken over the next several days. However, the storm will continue to bring life-threatening weather conditions to southeastern Texas and southern Louisiana over the coming days.The widespread flooding will likely continue throughout the region into at least early September.

Special Report - US: More Flooding Predicted after Hurricane Harvey Devastates Parts of Gulf Coast

A long-duration, catastrophic flood event is ongoing in the Greater Houston area in Texas following the landfall of Hurricane Harvey. As of Aug. 28, some areas had received more than 76 cm (30 inches) since Harvey came onshore Aug. 25, and another 38-63 cm (15-25 inches) of precipitation is possible through Sept. 1. Some waterways have risen to, or exceeded, 500-year flood levels, and record flooding has occurred in many locations.

Special Report - Authorities Preparing for Potential Transport and Business Disruptions during Rare Total Solar Eclipse

Special report - Authorities Preparing for Potential Transport and Business Disruptions during Rare Total Solar Eclipse. For a few brief minutes on Aug. 21, day will turn into night in 12 states in the continental US during a rare total solar eclipse. During this time, the earth's moon will perfectly align with the sun, casting a 70-mile-wide shadow (known as the umbra) from Oregon to South Carolina. The total solar eclipse has potential to create localized business and transport disruptions in the path of totality in the days leading up to and during the passage.

Korean Peninsula: Security Situation Remains Stable

North Korean media and US President Donald Trump traded rhetorical threats Aug. 8-9, with both sides warning of widespread destruction if attacked by the other. Such rhetoric has long been commonplace from the Kim regime's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA); however, uncharacteristically provocative language from the US has elevated concern that conflict is possible. The hyperbolic exchange resulted in Pyongyang stating that it was "considering" a plan to fire, by mid-August, four Hwasong-12 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that would would overfly Japan and land in the western Pacific Ocean off the island of Guam, a US territory and key regional military base. However, the likelihood of military strikes by either country remains low.
North Korea threat to commercial airlines

North Korea: Ballistic Missile Tests Unlikely to Threaten Commercial Airliners

Reports that a North Korean ballistic missile passed near a commercial airliner during a missile test on July 28 have raised concerns that Pyongyang's ballistic missile testing could pose a threat to civil aviation in the region. While North Korea's failure to announce its missile tests in advance is worrisome, the ballistic missile tests themselves pose only a minimal threat to commercial airliners. Other aspects of North Korea's behavior, such as surface-to-air missile tests, could pose a slight threat to commercial airliners flying near the Korean Peninsula. The greatest threat to commercial aircraft would be during a major North Korean offensive on Seoul, as airlines struggle to redirect flights out of the area. However, despite elevated tensions, there is no indication that major hostilities are imminent in the near term.    
Map - Gulf Diplomatic Dispute

Qatar: Diplomatic Dispute Leads to Transport and Business Disruptions; Doha Likely to Make Concessions

The recent diplomatic dispute between Qatar and several other nations marks the most severe row that has emerged out of lengthy historical tensions between Qatar and three Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member nations - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain - as well as Egypt. The quarrel peaked on June 5 when the three GCC countries, along with Egypt, suspended diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar. Despite the severity of disruptions, the dispute is unlikely to escalate into military conflict or provoke significant domestic unrest in Qatar. Qatar is now in a tenuous position diplomatically and economically, and will likely be forced to negotiate and make concessions to end the dispute in the near term.

United Kingdom: Manchester Bomb Attack Illustrates Continued Severe Threat from Islamist-inspired Extremists

The UK government's threat level for international terrorism remains unchanged at "Severe" following an apparent suicide bomb attack at a pop concert in Manchester, UK, May 22. Although the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility, it is unclear whether the attack was the work of a lone actor, or was directed by a larger terrorist organization; the perpetrator's methods indicate that he could have received technical guidance or material assistance. The incident demonstrates the latent terrorist threat across the UK, regardless of precedent. 

Worldwide: Malware Attacks

The WannaCry malware attack that started in the UK on May 12 has reportedly spread to more than 70 countries, including the US, Italy, China, and Russia. The attack exploits a Microsoft Windows vulnerability dubbed 'EternalBlue' (MS17-010) that was recently leaked to the public by the Shadow Brokers hacker group. 

North Korea: Security Situation in Northeast Asia to Remain Stable, despite Heated Rhetoric and US Military Maneuvers

Inflamed rhetoric from North Korea and the US has spiked tensions on the Korean Peninsula and alarmed Northeast Asia. The US has threatened pre-emptive action to thwart a nuclear weapons test widely expected by the end of April. North Korean officials have charged that they would also pre-emptively strike if faced with the imminent prospect of a US attack. US President Donald Trump has ordered the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson to the Sea of Japan in a show of force against North Korea...

Egypt News: Additional Mass Attacks against Copts Deepen Fears of Islamic State

On the heels of an attack against a Coptic cathedral in December that killed dozens, the April 9 bombings of Coptic Christian churches in Tanta and Alexandria confirmed that the Islamic State (IS) has shifted its targeting parameters, marking a break from a longstanding, primary focus on security forces and symbols of the regime. The attacks prompted a strong response by the state; President Abdel Fatah El Sisi forwarded a declaration of a three-month state of emergency to Parliament, which was approved unanimously on April 11.

United Kingdom: Terrorist Threat Unchanged following Westminster Attack; Security-related Disruptions Likely

A fatal attack at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, does not indicate any new or increased terrorist threat to business operations or staff in the country. On March 22, a single perpetrator drove his vehicle into pedestrians along Westminster Bridge and then launched a knife attack on police officers guarding the Parliament complex.

Mideast: Possible Terror Threat Prompts Disruptive Electronic Device Ban on Specific US- and UK-bound Airlines

On March 21, the United States and United Kingdom announced new measures prohibiting airline passengers from carrying large electronic devices, including laptop computers, in their carry-on luggage on flights from several Middle Eastern destinations to the US or UK. According to multiple credible, but unconfirmed, media reports, the new security measures were triggered by intelligence that an Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group has developed bombs that can be disguised as batteries for electronic devices.

Turkey & the Netherlands Diplomatic Row: Latest Update

The political row that recently erupted between the Netherlands and Turkey is already showing signs of settling into a war of words, accompanied by largely symbolic diplomatic tit-for-tat measures. Despite harshly worded threats by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to implement strong reprisals against the government in The Hague, Ankara is unlikely to enact serious sanctions that would severely hamper Dutch business interests in Turkey.

Revised US Executive Order to Prohibit Entry to US by Citizens of Six Countries; Implementation Scheduled for March 16

The US government issued a revised executive order on March 6 after legal challenges against a Jan. 27 order. The new directive will ban citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days; the administration of President Donald Trump removed Iraq from the list of blacklisted countries following negotiations with the Iraqi government, and in light of its role in fighting the Islamic State in conjunction with US forces.

Spread of Yellow Fever in Eastern Brazil Triggers New Vaccination Recommendations

Yellow fever activity in Brazil has occurred in areas near the Atlantic coast that were previously not considered to be at risk for disease transmission. As a result, the WHO and Brazilian Ministry of Health have issued new yellow fever vaccination recommendations for southern Bahia State, Espírito Santo State, and northern Rio de Janeiro State - all of which were areas previously not considered at risk for disease transmission. Additional areas along the Atlantic coast could be added to the list of places where the yellow fever vaccination is recommended in the coming weeks.

Citizens of Seven Countries Barred Entry to US by Executive Order; Reciprocal Bans Being Adopted or Considered

On Jan. 27, the US government issued an executive order banning citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen from entering the US for at least 90 days; all Syrian citizens are barred until further notice. The order also suspends the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. The Trump Administration has stated that more countries could be added to the travel ban via a presidential proclamation. Reciprocal travel restrictions are possible for US citizens traveling to the blacklisted countries.

South Korea: Major Business Disruptions Unlikely despite Presidential Impeachment

The possible departure of President Park could significantly impact domestic and foreign policy, as the scandal has thrown the country's political alliances into disarray at a time when conditions already suggest that the opposition could win the next presidential election. The impeachment process and movement to oust Park will prolong uncertainty in the country in the short term; however, there is likely to be little impact on companies with operations in South Korea.

Philippines: Threat of Militancy Increasing amid Islamic State Inspiration

The threat from militancy is increasing in the Philippines as Islamic State (IS) encourages cohesion among, and inspires attacks by, regional militant groups. Though fears that IS fighters will flock to the southern Philippines, amid a major counteroffensive against the group in the Middle East, are likely overstated, a capable and well-financed preexisting network of local groups means that significant outside support is not required to intensify militant operations.

Philippines: High-profile Campaign against Illegal Drugs Currently Presents Low Threat to Personnel or Business Operations

President Rodrigo Duterte's high-profile campaign against the illegal drug trade is prompting growing concern about the security situation in the Philippines. Dozens of extrajudicial killings have occurred daily since Duterte took office June 30, leaving an estimated 4,000 people dead as of early November. As the campaign has progressed, Duterte has moved swiftly to silence critics, and he is seemingly allowing security personnel to operate with increasing impunity. Under current conditions, the primary concerns for travelers and multinational businesses are pre-existing criminal threats, and those unaffiliated with the drug trade or drug use are unlikely to be targeted. 

Philippines: President Duterte's Strident Rhetoric Unlikely to Impact US Business Interests

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's persistent anti-US rhetoric is generating increasing uncertainty in bilateral relations with its primary security ally and major business partner. The president's controversial policy statements - including pledges to end military exercises, demands for US special forces to withdraw from Mindanao, and an economic separation from the US - would, if enacted, mark a significant deterioration in relations between Manila and Washington, DC. 

Hurricane Matthew Devastates Hispaniola; Takes Aim at Southeast US

Hurricane Matthew quickly strengthened into the first Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin since 2007 and left widespread destruction in Hispaniola. Haiti, in particular, faces a humanitarian crisis after Matthew hit the impoverished island nation with force.

Live from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Fast Facts on Security and Health Preparedness for the 2016 Olympics

With just four days until Opening Ceremonies on Aug. 5, preparations for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games appear to be on schedule.  While security, civil unrest, transportation, and health concerns persist, Brazilian authorities have implemented the city's security and transportation plans adequately.

Turkey: Focus on Post-Coup Purge amid State of Emergency

On July 20, in the wake of the failed July 15-16 coup bid by factions within the country's military, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared a three-month state of emergency, ostensibly to "eliminate the threat to democracy" in Turkey. Claiming the push to topple him was masterminded by US-based leader of the Hizmet movement and rival Fethullah Gülen, Erdoğan had already launched a sweeping retaliatory purge against suspected opponents of the Turkish administration - primarily within the military, judiciary, and police establishments. 

US: Republican and Democratic National Conventions Prompt Heightened Security Measures amid Potentially Disruptive Protests

The 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC), to be held in Cleveland, Ohio from July 18-21, and the Democratic National Convention (DNC), to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from July 25-28, have the potential to be controversial and disruptive events. Both of the conventions are designated as National Special Security Events (NSSEs), meaning they could become targets of international/domestic terrorism or other criminal activity.

United Kingdom: "Leave" Vote Triggers Uncertainty, Sparks Fear of Domino Effect across European Union

While the long-term implications of Great Britain's exit from the European Union (EU) are difficult to predict in the current climate of uncertainty, it is clear that the referendum's result will have a significant impact on the economic, political, and social climate within the United Kingdom (UK) and the wider EU bloc for at least the next two to five years. Until Article 50 is implemented and negotiations on the details of the future relationship commence, expect a mix of volatility and extreme caution in British and EU financial markets and business communities, amid a tumultuous political atmosphere in both the UK and the broader EU.

Brazil: Counting Down to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

With less than 40 days remaining until the opening ceremonies for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, civil unrest, security, and health remain key concerns for visitors and residents in Rio de Janeiro. The fallout from corruption scandals and the impending impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff will likely weigh heavily on the opening ceremonies. Moreover, Rio de Janeiro State declared a fiscal state of emergency on June 17, citing its inability to pay civil servants and fulfill its financial obligations for the upcoming Games.

Orlando Attack Not an Indicator of Overall Increase of Threats to LGBT Community

Despite the shooting in Orlando, the overall threat to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community in the US is unlikely to increase over the next six to 12 months. There is a baseline of anti-LGBT sentiment that will persist within conservative religious communities in the US, but this event is not an indicator of a larger anti-LGBT campaign sponsored or specifically staged by the Islamic State (IS).

Egypt: Reports of Terrorist Involvement in Egyptair Flight 804 Crash Remain Speculative

Egyptair (MS) Flight 804 departed Paris' Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG) at 2321 CEST, approximately 35 minutes late, and was scheduled to arrive at Cairo International Airport (CAI) at 0240 EET. The flight had 56 passengers and 10 crew members onboard, including three Egyptair security personnel. The Egyptian civil aviation minister's relatively quick and unsubstantiated statement that the crash of MS804 was more likely a terrorist act than a technical fault reinforces concerns about the Egyptian civil aviation authorities' neutrality and prudence, even if he is ultimately proved correct.

Brazil: Threat Assessment of Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games amid Deepening Political Crisis

The ongoing political crisis in Brazil, spurred by the temporary suspension of President Dilma Rousseff and the ongoing impeachment trial against her, has caused increasing civil unrest in the country and could contribute to a less secure environment for the Games.