Geopolitics- Intellifusion Newsletter


Friday 31st December 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;

MIDDLE EAST & ASIA

Pakistan

Four Pakistani soldiers were killed during a clash with TTP militants in the Mir Ali area. The attack is the latest (at the time of writing) in a series of attacks which have targeted security forces positions in areas such as North Waziristan and the Bajaur district. Attacks have generally involved small groups of TTP fighters targeting isolated security forces positions in rural areas as well as IED attacks targeting checkpoints and convoys. Assassinations of government and security forces officials have also been reported in Bannu, Peshawar and Islamabad.

TTP attacks were effectively stopped for a month during a ceasefire between the Pakistani government and the militant group, but resumed in mid-December after the ceasefire agreement was not extended.

NORTH AMERICA

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Dozens of people protested across Port-au-Prince, Haiti on 29th December. The protests were called for by a former member of parliament, and several union and political activists. The protests were against the new government, insecurity, and to demand the release of political prisoners and an end to prolonged detentions without trial.

Haiti has been significantly impacted by insecurity, including homicides and kidnappings. Human rights organisations have said that kidnappings have impacted at least 1,200 people, including 81 foreigners from six countries this past year. Insecurity has led to internal displacement, with tens of thousands fleeing gang-controlled areas of the capital, like Martissant, where on 27th December four people were killed when gang members opened fire on public transportation buses heading to the commune of Carrefour. As for the prison situation, the United Nations has denounced the country’s system where prisons are operating at three times their capacity, with prolonged detention prior to a trial increasing by 9% between 2020 and 2021 due to strikes by prosecutors and judges.

Several unions have announced 10 days of protests to take place in January 2022. The protests will continue to denounce nationwide insecurity and prolonged detention in prisons. Protests will continue it is said, until a sense of security is restored to where people can move freely without fear through the country.

EUROPE

Europewide

Recent reports have indicated several cancellations of New Year’s Eve events in major cities on the basis of increasing case numbers of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. New Year’s Eve parties in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Athens have all been cancelled along with increased security measures to limit public gatherings.

These decisions are being made despite growing hostility to COVID-19 restrictions across the continent. It has also been noticed over the last 7 days that police have been seizing large amounts of illegal fireworks; New Year’s Eve across Europe over the past three years has featured numerous incidents of illegal fireworks being set off along with assaults, stabbings and other forms of unrest.

With growing hostility to COVID-19 restrictions, increased use of illegal fireworks and unrest on New Year’s Eve, this year could possibly see large gatherings occur in defiance of restrictions at the usual locations for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Should this occur, it is possible that rioting will quickly break out, with an increased chance of fireworks or other illegal pyrotechnics being used to target police

AFRICA

Democratic Republic of Congo

A suicide bomber, likely to be part of the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces), detonated his explosives in front of a restaurant/bar in central Beni city, Beni territory. The suicide bomber had attempted to enter the bar, where more than 30 people were celebrating Christmas, but was prevented from doing so by guards. According to the latest casualty numbers, eight have been killed with 20 more wounded.

This is the second suicide bombing recorded, after the first ever suicide bombing carried out in June 2021 – also in Beni – which was claimed by ISCAP (Islamic State Central African Province). The first suicide bombing also occurred in a vicinity of a bar but was less fatal with no civilian casualties reported. The higher casualty account could be explained by the suicide bomber detonating his explosives closer to the building. A lack of information on the size and composition of IEDs used by both bombers makes it difficult to assess whether ADF/ISCAP’s IED construction capabilities are improving.

Following the latest suicide bombing, curfew hours have been adjusted and checkpoints have been reinforced. North Kivu and Ituri have been under siege since early May 2021 in an attempt by the military to gain control of the situation. However, ADF attacks have continued across Beni territory and have spread to around Komanda, south of Bunia in Ituri Province. This has caused many to protest in Beni and Butembo to demand the end of the state of siege.

SOUTH AMERICA

Suriname

On Thursday, Surinamese journalist Jason Pinas found two hand grenades taped together underneath a car outside his house. Journalists across Suriname have responded with shock to this latest form of intimidation.

Jason Pinas first made the news last week, when he tried to take photographs of Suriname’s vice president Ronnie Brunswijk. Pinas was violently thrown to the ground by the vice president’s bodyguards and had his phone confiscated. The journalist was transported to a nearby hospital with minor injuries. Surinamese journalists claim the incident was a violation of press freedom and have launched a boycott against the vice president, promising not to feature him in their articles for at least two months. The journalists have also staged protests outside government offices in Paramaribo to demand a thorough investigation into both incidents.