Newsletter: Intelligence Fusion – 5 incidents.


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Friday 6th May 2022

Hi Dhananjay,

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

Insight Weekly - Europe Image

EUROPE

Moscow, Russia

On the 9th May, Russia will observe Victory Day to commemorate its victory over Germany in World War 2 (known as the Great Patriotic War in Russia). The day features a large-scale military parade through Red Square to showcase Russian military weaponry as well as mark a historical anniversary. Reporting has shown that preparations and rehearsals are already being carried out, and numerous Metro stations and roads leading to Red Square are to be closed to public access.

Separate reports following the imprisonment of Alexei Navalny and anti-war sentiment following the invasion of Ukraine have shown the Russian police and security services are quick to respond to any kind of actual or implied protest activity. Given the significance of the upcoming date – and its possible increased importance with the current war in Ukraine – police and security services will probably be operating in increased numbers and vigilance in and around Red Square. They will probably be very willing to act upon any indication of protest in the lead up to and during the Victory Day Anniversary.

Between now and up to the Victory Day Parade, it will be vital to avoid areas near Red Square in Moscow in order to avoid any kind of potential attention from police and security services.

Insight Weekly - North America Image

NORTH AMERICA

Washington DC, United States

On the 2nd May, Politico leaked a document alleging that the Supreme Court could be preparing to overturn the 1973 Roe v Wade ruling. Roe v Wade legalised the right to an abortion, giving women the absolute right to an abortion within the first trimester and limited rights within the second. The document stated, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start”. The leaked document is part of an oral argument heard in the Mississippi case to overturn Roe v Wade within the state. Thirteen states have already passed triggering legislation that would automatically ban abortion should Roe V Wade be overturned.

This has sparked both pro-choice and anti-abortion protests in several major US cities as well as internationally. In Washington D.C, pro-choicers and pro-lifers faced off in front of the Supreme Court building with a crowd size of 1000. In Los Angeles on the 3rd May, a march for abortion rights turned violent as rocks and bottles were thrown at the police, with some unconfirmed reports suggesting that people were armed with hammers and axe handles.

Whilst it remains unclear if the leaked document represents a final opinion, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case in late June or early July 2022. Should the Supreme Court decide to overrule Roe v Wade it is expected that abortion could be banned in almost half of the US states, with 36 million women losing their access to legal abortion. The decision is likely to polarise party politics further and lead to more protests and unrest across the US.

Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Asia?

MIDDLE EAST & ASIA

Yerevan, Armenia

Hundreds of people have been arrested during ongoing protests across Armenia demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, accusing him of preparing to accept Azerbaijani control over parts of the disputed Karabakh region.

The protests began after comments made by the Prime Minister which suggested that the Pashinyan administration may be willing to cede certain claims to the Karabakh region due to pressure from the international community to resolve the ongoing territorial dispute with Azerbaijan. The protests have mostly been concentrated in Yerevan, where protesters have blocked roads and marched towards government buildings, but further road blockades on key routes between population centres have also been recorded.

The protests and calls for Pashinyan’s resignation come at a time when reports of clashes along Azerbaijani and Armenian territory are increasing, raising fears that the clashes may escalate into broader confrontations drawing in armed forces from both sides.

Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Africa?

AFRICA

Central African Republic

The Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary group, have been implicated in the torture and killing of civilians in the Central African Republic (CAR). According to a Human Rights Watch investigation, the group committed several cases of abuse mostly in Ouham Prefecture as well as Ouaka and Basse-Kotto prefectures. However, local media have reported other massacres in several other prefectures. About 34 civilians are reported to have been killed this year near Bria in Haute-Kotto Prefecture while 15 civilians were reportedly killed in Markounda and 22 others in Vakaga Prefecture.

Reports of abuses committed by Wagner Group mercenaries have also been reported by other organisations including the United Nations. The group deployed in the CAR in 2017 and has signed several agreements with the government including military training support. However, the European Union have warned that Central African Republic army units have been operating under the “direct command or supervision” of Wagner Group mercenaries, a sign of how their influence in the country has risen. The increasing activities of the group in Africa have coincided with growing Russian influence on the continent.

Insight Weekly - South America Image

SOUTH AMERICA

Colombia

On the 5th May, Colombia’s largest drug cartel, Clan del Golfo, launched attacks in the departments of Antioquia, Sucre, Córdoba, Bolívar and Chocó. Over 50 vehicles have been torched, causing shops and schools to close. A curfew has been imposed in multiple towns, where Clan del Golfo gunmen now patrol the empty streets. The so-called “armed strike” is being organised to protest against the extradition of the group’s leader, Dairo Antonio Úsaga, also known as ‘Otoniel’, who was extradited from Colombia to the United States on Wednesday.

The extradition comes after it was revealed Otoniel had named 63 prominent allies within the Colombian elite, including generals, politicians and a presidential candidate. Critics of the Colombian government claim the extradition was accelerated to avoid a deeper investigation into these corruption allegations. Although a preliminary investigation has been launched against a congressman and four former congressmen, such investigations will now be delayed because all procedures will have to go through diplomatic channels with the United States.

Otoniel was captured in October 2021, in a military operation that included over 500 security forces assisted by American and British intelligence. There are 500 open legal proceedings against Otoniel in Colombia for alleged crimes committed between 2007 and 2021, including several massacres and the deaths of over 200 members of Colombia’s security forces.

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