The weekly briefing | 24 March 2014

Political and security risk updates

Africa: Attack on Tripoli International Airport follo ing go!ern"ent#s announce"ent of "o$ilisation of security forces to step up fight against terroris"% Americas: &e"o!al of Bogota#s "ayor threatens 'olo"$ia#s peace process% Asia and Pacific: Three separate $o"$ and grenade attacks in Thailand $elie!ed to $e politically "oti!ated% Europe: (kraine signs )( partnership agree"ent* 'ri"ea% Middle East: ,e$anon risks $eing dragged further into -yria#s ci!il "ilitary continues its offensi!e along ,e$anese $order% Polar regions: &ussia holds large.scale "ilitary e+ercises along $order ith /inland% ar as -yrian hile Putin signs anne+ation of

Attack on Tripoli International Airport following government s announcement of mobilisation of security forces to step up fight against terrorism )+plosions hit a run ay at ,i$ya0s international airport in the capital* Tripoli* early on 21 March* causing flights to $e suspended until the "orning of 22 March% The cause of the e+plosions as reported !ariously as rockets* shells or a ti"e $o"$% as The attack ca"e the day after the ,i$yan go!ern"ent had announced that it groups#

"o$ilising its security forces after stating pu$licly for the first ti"e that 1terrorist ere $ehind a series of attacks directed against state forces and foreigners in the country% The latest attack highlights the increasingly sensiti!e situation in ,i$ya follo ing for"er Pri"e Minister Ali 2eidan0s escape fro" the country% The transitional authorities appear una$le to control se!eral ar"ed groups acting in different areas throughout the country* o!erthro hich ha!e not laid do n their eapons since the of Mua""ar 3addafi0s regi"e in 2011% &e$el forces0 control of ,i$ya0s

natural resources* especially petroleu"* is e+erting significant pressure upon $oth the ,i$yan go!ern"ent and the country#s econo"y% The go!ern"ent has so far re"ained ary of seeking open confrontation ith the ar"ed groups* ho e!er* in their 20 March state"ent* the authorities stressed that the country finds itself in a confrontation ith terrorist groups% A group of for"er opposition fighters fro" the city of 2intan* to the south est of Tripoli* has controlled the airport since the re!olution% &e$els are also holding -aif al.Isla"* the for"er dictator0s son* in 2intan%

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The ,i$yan go!ern"ent has called upon the international co""unity to support their fight against ar"ed groups in the country% The e"phasis on terrorist ele"ents po er !acuu" follo ing the ,i$yan re!olution ithin these ar"ed groups can $e interpreted ho ha!e $een "onitoring the orsening as a plea for assistance fro" 4estern countries in particular*

ith concern* particularly since the 2012 attack on (-

diplo"ats in Bengha5i% On 16 March* a (- 7a!y -)A,- tea" raided a 7orth 8orea.flagged tanker carrying ,i$yan crude oil fro" the re$el.controlled port of )s -ider* in a $id to th art a "ilitia plan to sell it a$road% "ther developments The defence minister of the #entral African $epublic %#A$& has called on all residents of the capital' (angui' to hand over any weapons or be considered as military targets in a bid to facilitate a disarmament process) In a state radio address on 19 March* the defence "inister* Theophile Ti"angoa* called for disar"a"ent and de"o$ilisation% :espite the assistance offered $y /rench forces in order to disar" these "ilitias* sectarian !iolence $et een the country0s 'hristian and Musli" co""unities has continued to escalate since the out$reak of !iolence in :ece"$er 201;% The (7 <igh 'o""issioner for <u"an &ights* 7a!i Pillay* said on 20 March that !iolence $et een 'hristians and Musli"s in 'A& had reached a 1terrifying le!el#* including instances of canni$alis" and the decapitation of children% The )uropean (nion is preparing to deploy a "ission to 'A& $y the end of April% The second round of *outh *udan peace talks has been delayed after the country+s government re,ected the idea of a group of formerly high-ranking political leaders participating as a third party) /ollo ing se!eral "onths of fighting* a ceasefire agree"ent has $een agreed $ut has $een repeatedly !iolated since =anuary% This has caused international "ediators to increasingly lose patience "ore than a "onth of occupation $y forces loyal to for"er >ice President &iek Machar% .egotiators have achieved limited progress in ending a strike that has brought *outh Africa+s platinum mining industry to a halt for more than si/ weeks) Anglo A"erican Platinu" announced on 20 March that it had reached a deal ith orkers at its plants* represented $y the 7ational (nion of age strike* coordinated $y the Association of Mine orkers and orkers* is ell into its second "onth% This orkers0 ith the opposing parties% On 20 March* -outh -udanese troops sei5ed the strategic to n of Malakal after

Metal orkers% <o e!er* a separate

'onstruction (nion ?A"cu@ that in!ol!es tens of thousands of

is affecting se!eral large "ining fir"s and turning into one of the costliest strikes in -outh African history% 7egotiations ha!e failed pri"arily $ecause the current ai"s of the opposing sides in ter"s of re"uneration are too far apart for co"pro"ise to $e achie!ed at present% "n the radarA • 0. officials have warned that trucks that were transporting thousands of tonnes of urgent aid are being held up by *outh *udan+s warring factions) • Tensions are e/pected to elevate in (urundi follo ing the issuing of life sentences for leading opposition "e"$ers of the Mo!e"ent for -olidarity and :e!elop"ent% • The 0. panel of e/perts+ report on #ote d+Ivoire is due on !1 March' and the "andate for the "ission in the :e"ocratic &epu$lic of the 'ongo ?MO7(-'O@ is due to e+pire at the end of the "onth% • The (arakat %Enough2& activist group plan to protest in Algiers' the capital of Algeria' on !3 and !4 March) Open Briefing | !

$emoval of (ogota s mayor threatens #olombia s peace process On 1B March* 3usta!o Petro* the left. ing "ayor of 'olo"$ia#s capital* Bogota* fro" office after "onths of $attling in the courts% <e as officially re"o!ed

as first charged in :ece"$er 201; $y the country#s

conser!ati!e Inspector.3eneral* AleCandro OrdDEe5* o!er a 2012 ru$$ish.collection crisis% OrdDEe5 ordered Petro#s departure fro" office and i"posed a 1F.year $an fro" holding pu$lic office% -ince then* Petro has recei!ed ide pu$lic support in his struggle to re!erse the Cudge"ent* $ut to little a!ail% <o e!er* on 19 March the Inter.A"erican 'o""ission on <u"an &ights ?IA'<&@* a $inding regional court* ruled in fa!our of Petro% The follo ing day* 'olo"$ian President =uan Manuel -antos reCected the ruling* going against the IA'<& charter* and chose centre.right &afael Pardo as interi" "ayor% After the announce"ent* Bogota#s entire city go!ern"ent announced its resignation% Petro is the second "ayor of Bogota to $e re"o!ed fro" office in the past four yearsG in 2011 -a"uel Moreno re!elations of corruption% The ousting of Petro* a for"er "e"$er of the M1B guerrilla group* in "anoeu!re* has negati!ely i"pacted on the current peace talks re"o!al* hich he argues hat appears to $e a political as sacked after

ith the &e!olutionary Ar"ed /orces of

'olo"$ia ?/A&'@% The chief /A&' negotiator* I!an MarHue5* has e+pressed his indignation o!er Petro#s ill ad!ersely affect pre!iously negotiated agree"ents% In 7o!e"$er 201;* the peace talks achie!ed a land"ark agree"ent o!er the issue of /A&'#s political participation% The deal* hich guarantees the guerrilla group#s political participation* is the second of fi!e points to $e discussed during negotiations% But the recent "anoeu!rings in Bogata ha!e e+posed the rigidity and underlying clout of 'olo"$ia#s political "echanis"s% The function of the Inspector.3eneral I to "ediate the correct function of go!ern"ent institutions and agencies I is enshrined in the country#s constitution% This position has $een idely criticised $y the opposition as tending to further concentrate po er in the hands of the right. ing "aCority $ecause the Inspector.3eneral is elected $y "e"$ers of the senate% In a pu$lic state"ent* Petro declared that he he insisted in that he ill sue -antos for ignoring the IA'<& ruling% /urther"ore* ould entail a refor" of the Inspector.3eneral office% In

ould re"ain politically acti!e so as to launch a nation ide ca"paign to pro"ote the

re riting of the 1BB1 constitution% 7ota$ly* this

response to the confir"ed i"peach"ent of Petro* the IA'<& is to hold a hearing on the case on 24 March% The session is to touch on the $roader issue of the possi$le o!er.reach of ad"inistrati!e po er of the 'olo"$ian authorities% In the "eanti"e* Pardo* also "inister of la$our in -antos#s ad"inistration* is to re"ain in office until ne elections are held in =une% <is appoint"ent to the second "ost po erful elected office is likely to gi!e a $oost to -antos#s hold on po er ahead of the presidential election scheduled for 2F May% "ther developments #olombian farmers have demonstrated over unfulfilled promises by the government) On 16 March* ;0*000 'olo"$ian far"ers took to the streets of Bogota to urge the go!ern"ent to address the dire conditions facing the countryside% The organisers atte"pted to re!i!e the 201; "ass protest "o!e"ent* hich shut do n "ost of the country#s "otor ays and rail ay net orks last autu"n% The li$eralisation of the econo"y under the -antos ad"inistration has further "arginalised the traditional agrarian sector* hich co"prises "ost of 'olo"$ia#s rural population% Open Briefing | 5

A viral video on the internet has highlighted police violence in (ra6il s favelas) A !ideo captured $y a $ystander of a o"an struck $y gunfire during a shoot.out $et een police and suspected cri"inals has ith the

$rought the case to national attention% On 19 March* Bra5ilian President :il"a &ousseff offered her condolences to the !icti"#s fa"ily% Bra5il has traditionally adopted a hardline approach to dealing run.up to 4orld 'up* ?BOP)@ hich is to take place in =une% ,ast eek* -pecial Police Operations Battalions as killed and t o inCured% illicit drug trade in its fa!elas% But such operations ha!e $een increasingly criticised $y the pu$lic in the ere deployed in &io de =aneiro#s fa!elas after a police"an

"n !! March' a protest staged by the opposition in 7ene6uela s capital' #aracas' turned violent) The protest as organised in support of the li$eration of opposition leader ,eopoldo ,Dpe5* ho as

i"prisoned in late /e$ruary for inciting the opposition to take to the streets% -ince /e$ruary* the country has $een engulfed in a political tur"oil $et een radical opponents and supporters of the go!ern"ent% Thirty four people ha!e so far $een killed in the unrest% "n the radar: • The 0nited *tates is to issue sanctions against 7ene6uela through the Organisation of A"erican -tates ?OA-@ o!er the ongoing student protests crisis in the country% • Paraguayan transport unions are set to stage a nationwide strike over wage issues on 2J March% • Protests against the forthcoming 8I8A 9orld #up are e/pected in several cities in (ra6il on 26.2B March%

Asia and Pacific
Three separate bomb and grenade attacks in Thailand believed to be politically motivated At least four people ere inCured during three separate $o"$ and grenade attacks in the northern

pro!ince of 'hiang Mai* Thailand* on 21 March% The first attack* at 20A;F on /riday e!ening* targeted a PTT petrol station in ta"$on 7ong <oi and resulted in inCuries to a custo"er and three "e"$ers of staff% The focus of the second attack* hich ca"e at 21A;F* as the offices of Boon &a d Bre ery 'o"pany in ere thro n into the office $uilding% One ere reported* part of the $uilding and t o as ta"$on Kang 7erng in the -arapee district* !ehicles parked inside hidden underneath the here t o grenades

of the grenades failed to e+plode* and although no inCuries ith anti.go!ern"ent protesters*

ere da"aged% &eports suggest that the o ners of the $re ery co"pany ha!e ties hich could indicate politically.related "oti!ation% The third $o"$ heel of a car in the car park of Anda"an -eafood &estaurant in ta"$on Pa :ad*

and e+ploded at 22A1F* causing no inCuries $ut da"aging !ehicles% It is $elie!ed that all three targets ha!e links to agencies and officials /e$ruary general election* ho are currently dealing ith cases

against go!ern"ent politicians% The attacks ca"e hours after the constitutional court nullified the 2 hich angered pro.go!ern"ent supporters and adds further eight to the ay attacks $eing politically "oti!ated% Police are currently in!estigating related to the current political conflict ithin the country% hether the attacks are in so"e

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T enty t o people ha!e so far $een killed and o!er 600 inCured during protest.related !iolence since ;0 7o!e"$er 201;% Attacks ha!e included grenades and s"all ho"e"ade e+plosi!e de!ices and shootings% Increased security is e+pected to continue despite the go!ern"ent#s lifting of the state of e"ergency on 1B March% "ther developments *outh :orea s defence ministry stated that .orth :orea had fired 5; short-range missiles into the *ea of <apan on !! March and a further 1= early on !5 March) The recent launching of the /&O3 rockets* hich tra!elled appro+i"ately ;6 "iles $efore landing in the sea* "ark the fifth ti"e that 7orth hich co""enced on 24 /e$ruary and are e+pected to continue

8orea has fired into the sea in protest against the ongoing annual Coint "ilitary e+ercises $et een the (nited -tates and -outh 8orean "ilitary* until 19 April% The (nited -tates and -outh 8orea ha!e called the launches acts of pro!ocation and ha!e called for 7orth 8orea to refrain fro" firing any further "issiles% At least two people were killed and seven others in,ured when a bomb e/ploded at the *hah Agha shrine in the :hakre6 district of :andahar province' Afghanistan' on !1 March) The $o"$ concealed as

ithin a fruit $asket and e+ploded at around 10A00 on /riday "orning as gatherers had Kear% The deputy go!ernor and deputy ere reported to $e a"ong the inCured% 7o group has yet clai"ed

congregated at the shrine to cele$rate 7o ru5* the Persian 7e "ayor of 8andahar pro!ince responsi$ility%

Indonesia s >ensus ?? counterterrorism unit last week arrested three suspected militants after intercepting a package containing e/plosives) The package as sent $y the suspects fro" -ura$aya* ith the intended destination

Indonesia0s second largest city and the capital of the pro!ince of )ast =a!a* of Makassar* the pro!incial capital of -outh -ula esi% The three arrests and ,a"pung% "n the radar: •

ere "ade in Makassar* Bengkulu

8urther protests are e/pected in (angladesh in addition to a shutdown strike on !3 March o!er suggested irregularities in the recent upa5ila elections%

Increased security is e/pected to continue in (andipora' India' despite the lifting of a curfe 1B March%


"ngoing demonstrations by students and civil society activists are to continue at the parliament building in the @hong6heng district of Taipei' Taiwan)

Increased risk of terror attacks in the Philippines surrounding the anniversary of the founding of .ew People s Army on !A March)

Open Briefing | 1

0kraine signs E0 partnership agreement' while Putin signs anne/ation of #rimea /ollo ing the referendu" on 1J March* 'ri"ean officials signed an agree"ent ith &ussia on 19 March

for the anne+ation of the peninsula into the &ussian /ederation% &ussian President >ladi"ir Putin defended &ussia#s actions in a patriotic speech clai"ing that the 'ri"ean referendu" a$ided international la and the (7 charter* and also defended the anne+ation of 'ri"ea as the protection of ethnic &ussians ere a$used $y the (krainian go!ern"ent% The )uropean (nion and the (nited -tates reacted $y ho

announcing further sanctions against &ussia* including sanctions on a further 12 pro"inent &ussians* senior figures in the &ussian ad"inistration and close allies to Putin% In reaction* Putin stated that atte"pts $y the 4est to inti"idate &ussia Mosco ith sanctions ould $e !ie ed as acts of aggression* and later retaliated $y i"posing its o n sanctions on senior (- politicians% <o e!er* sanctions $y the the anne+ation of ith the

4est had little effect as &ussia continued to take o!er "ilitary $ases in 'ri"ea* and on 21 March* follo ing the appro!al of $oth houses of the &ussian parlia"ent* Putin officially signed into la 'ri"ea% It is the first ti"e the 8re"lin has e+panded &ussia0s $orders since the 'old 4ar% On the sa"e day* (kraine#s acting pri"e "inister* Arseniy Katsenyuk* signed an association agree"ent )uropean (nion% The 'ri"ean parlia"ent has announced plans to nationalise all (krainian state property on the peninsula% The parlia"ent has also decided to introduce the &ussian rou$le alongside the (krainian hry!nia as the autono"ous region#s official currencies* and ill set up a ne central $ank ith an e+pected L;0 "illion in support fro" &ussia% Although Putin has continued to deny that &ussia has plans to in!ade "ainland (kraine* the &ussian president has also insisted that &ussia has the po er to 1use all "eans# to protect ethnic &ussians* hile &ussian MPs ha!e spoken of the need to protect &ussian speakers fro" radicals constitution% &ussia ants (kraine to $eco"e a federal country ith autono"ous throughout (kraine% On 16 March* the &ussian foreign "inistry called upon (kraine#s parlia"ent to "ake plans to draft a ne states* handing "ore po er to the regions% The "inistry also urged (kraine to adopt a neutral political and "ilitary status% Both of these acts ould pre!ent (kraine fro" Coining the )uropean (nion or 7ATO% ould $e seeking L11 $illion Mean hile* &ussia0s pri"e "inister* :"itri Med!ede!* announced that &ussia denunciation#% On 20 March* the (7 -ecurity 'ouncil held its eighth "eeting in three eeks I an indication of the

o ed $y (kraine for cheap gas* as any agree"ent signed $et een the t o countries had $een 1su$Cect to

deter"ination $y 4estern po ers to highlight &ussia0s diplo"atic isolation o!er the situation of 'ri"ea% At the "eeting* tensions rose after co""ents $y -a"antha Po ers* the (- a"$assador to the (nited 7ations* descri$ing the anne+ation as 1theft#* hich angered her &ussian counterpart* >italy 'hurkin% The 4est also $eca"e increasingly concerned as &ussia took o!er "ore "ilitary $ases across the Black -ea peninsula% Although (krainian soldiers peacefully surrendered to the take.o!er of the "ilitary $ase in the 'ri"ean capital* -i"feropol* on 19 March &ussian troops detained the ne go!ern"ent has authorised (krainian troops to fire (krainian na!y co""ander* -ergiy 3ayduk* and (krainian troops refused to surrender the air$ase at Bel$ek on 22 March% The 8ie! eapons in self.defence%

Open Briefing | =

On 1B March* the (krainian go!ern"ent announced that it recognition of 'ri"ea as a de"ilitarised 5one and a 20 March* Angela Merkel said that )urope launch 1phase.; "easures# if &ussia ent ahead

ould appeal to the (nited 7ations for the ould

ithdra al $y $oth &ussian and (krainian forces% On ill effecti!ely cease

ould step up political and econo"ic sanctions and ith its plan to anne+ 'ri"ea% The 39

to e+ist should the current political i"passe continue to escalate% &ussia currently holds the 39 presidency and a 39 "eeting is due to $e held in =une in -ochi% The British foreign office announced that the (nited 8ingdo" as suspending "ilitary cooperation ith &ussia* including the cancellation of a planned (8* ill /rench* (- and &ussian na!al e+ercise* and is suspending a proposed !isit $y a &oyal 7a!y ship to -t Peters$urg% Mean hile* "onitors fro" the Organi5ation for -ecurity and 'o.operation in )urope $egin their "ission after &ussia negated its pre!ious o$Cections* though it is unclear if they after reports of security concerns for ethnic "inorities in 'ri"ea% "ther developments "n !1 March' the (ulgarian defence ministry announced that 1! countries were participating in a two-week drill' codenamed *aber Buardian) Appro+i"ately 600 officers fro" Ar"enia* A5er$aiCan* Belgiu"* Bulgaria* 3eorgia* Moldo!a* Poland* &o"ania* -er$ia* Turkey* (kraine and the (nited -tates carried out co"puter.assisted e+ercises at one of the (nited -tates# four "ilitary $ases in Bulgaria% According to the "inistry* the o$Cecti!es of the drill are to e+pand and i"pro!e the countries# interopera$ility ith 7ATO* the co""and of "ultinational for"ations in perfor"ing hu"anitarian ill "issions* and the e+pansion of regional strategic partnership in the security field% In 2014* Bulgaria host "ore than 40 international Coint training e+ercises% The European 0nion denounced the move by the Turkish government on !1 March to block access to Twitter) (sers had pu$lished !oice recordings and docu"ents that supposedly sho ed e!idence of corruption ithin Tayyip )rdogan#s go!ern"ent on the social "edia site% ,ocal "edia reported that ill $e allo ed

into 'ri"ea% On 20 March* the (nited 7ations announced the deploy"ent of ;4 hu"an rights "onitors

T itter infor"ed users of court orders for the site#s closure% President A$dullah 3ul used T itter to denounce the $an and the go!ern"ent#s atte"pt to control social "edia% :eputy Pri"e Minister Ali Ba$acan said that $locking the site as only te"poraryG ho e!er* on 20 March* )rdogan had pro"ised to 1 ipe out# T itter follo ing the s"ear ca"paign that his opponents had led on the site% )rdogan#s office clai"ed that the go!ern"ent decided to $lock T itter after the site failed to re"o!e a link follo ing an order $y Turkish courts% "n 1? March' the main website for Islamist militants in the .orth #aucasus' :avka6 #entre' reported that the leader of the terrorist umbrella group #aucasus Emirate' >oka 0marov' had died and that a new leader had already been appointed) ("aro! has $een the su$Cect of an international the group#s ne A$u Muha""ad as considered to $e &ussia#s "ost anted "an and

arrant issued $y the (7 -ecurity 'ouncil and Interpol since 2000%

8a!ka5 'entre offered no e+planation for the death of the leader* instead uploading a !ideo announcing e"ir* Ali A$u Muha""ad al.:agestani% A$u Muha""ad has $een the group#s Hadi* or the death of ("aro! and the appoint"ent of ill i"pact on the operations of the 'aucasus )"irate% &ussian authorities ha!e yet to senior Cudge* since Octo$er 2010% It is currently unclear ho officially confir" ("aro!#s death%

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"n the radar • • • • B4 leaders will meet on !1 March in (russels) E0-0* summit on != March in (russels European >efence Agency conference in (russels on 26 March% The outcome of the !;-!1 March E0 summit will be debated at an e/traordinary #onference of Presidents' open to all M)Ps* March% • European #ommissioner Ctefan 8Dle will visit :iev this week to authorities on the i"ple"entation of the association agree"ent% ork ith the (krainian ith )uropean 'ouncil President <er"an >an &o"puy on 2J

Middle )ast
Eebanon risks being dragged further into *yria s civil war as *yrian military continues its offensive along Eebanese border The -yrian $order to n of Ka$roud* a long.ter" re$el stronghold and key supply route into neigh$ouring ,e$anon* fell to go!ern"ent troops on 16 March as the -yrian go!ern"ent announced that it as also in control of the to n of Mala"oun% Thousands of -unni fighters and refugees su$seHuently fled across the $order into ,e$anon#s Bakaa >alley% -yrian forces fighting alongside <e5$ollah fighters also sei5ed the !illage of &as al.Ain* south est of Ka$roud* on 1B March% The !illage as $elie!ed to ha!e $een under the control of the al.Maeda affiliated 7ursa /ront and the Isla"ic -tate of IraH and the ,e!ant% The influ+ of -unni fighters fleeing -yria into ,e$anon threatens to desta$ilise the Bakaa >alley and other frontier areas along eastern ,e$anon#s $order ith -yria% -ectarian tensions in ,e$anon* and throughout ho oppose hi"% The ,e$anese the region* ha!e increased as co""unities and groups ha!e $acked either President Bashar al.Assad* a "e"$er of the -hi#ite Ala ite sect* or the predo"inantly -unni fighters -hia to n of al.,a$ a ,e$anese ar"y as su$Cected to rocket attacks in response to <e5$ollah#s in!ol!e"ent in forcing as $lockaded $y residents of

-unni re$el fighters to flee across the $order% Many re$els fled to the -unni to n of Arsal and the as deployed to reopen a road linking the t o to ns that al.,a$ a% A -unni protestor as shot dead on 19 March as de"onstrations took place in Beirut* the Bakaa

>alley* and -idon in protest to the road closure affecting Arsal% /urther fighting $roke out in the northern city of Tripoli* resulting in the deaths of 22 people% -ectarian !iolence in ,e$anon $et een -unni and -hia has $eco"e increasingly co""on o!er the last 12 "onths and the increasing nu"$ers of fighters fleeing -yria nature of the spill.o!er fro" the ci!il ar in -yria* no ill only intensify the situation% The sectarian entering its third year* is further e+acer$ated in ill increase as -yrian troops continue their

,e$anon due to the support al.Assad#s forces recei!e fro" ,e$anon.$ased <e5$ollah% It is highly likely that !iolence $et een sectarian linked to ns and neigh$ourhoods offensi!e in regions along the $order% 'i!il ar in ,e$anon is thus a possi$ility%

Open Briefing | ?

"ther developments Two army officers and si/ militants were killed in the Egyptian province of Falyubia' north of #airo' on 1A March) The shootout took place during a go!ern"ent raid on a "akeshift $o"$ factory and safe house% The hideout as used $y Ansar Beit al.MaHdis* a self.declared =ihadist group that has clai"ed

responsi$ility for a nu"$er of attacks in 'airo and across the -inai Peninsula* in addition to clai"ing to ha!e killed o!er 200 security personnel% Attacks on police and "ilitary checkpoints ha!e increased since the "ilitary deposed Isla"ist President Moha""ed Morsi in =uly 201;% Israeli ,ets bombed several military locations in the *yrian government-held areas of the Bolan Geights on 1A March) A roadside $o"$ ounded four Israeli soldiers as they in!estigated suspicious ere carried out $ecause those that acti!ated the

acti!ity in the $order region and the airstrike operations facility and artillery $atteries* killing one soldier and

de!ice operated in the -yrian territory% The targets included a -yrian "ilitary headHuarters* a training ounding se!en others% Israel $la"es :a"ascusG ho e!er* anti.Assad "ilitants and <e5$ollah also ha!e a presence on the 3olan% Israel has occupied the territory since 1BJ6 and* although si"ilar incidents ha!e occurred in the past* the inCury to the four soldiers "arks the orst incident since the ar in -yria $egan in 2011% Israel risks $eing dra n into future "ilitary operations in -yria#s ci!il ar ith the success of <e5$ollah#s in!ol!e"ent in recent "onths%

8our Taliban fighters launched an attack on the *erena Gotel in :abul' Afghanistan' on !; March) The attack on one of 8a$ul#s "ost prestigious hotels left nine people dead* including four foreign nationals* and an Afghan Cournalist and three "e"$ers of his fa"ily% The attack occurred as people 7a ro5* the Persian 7e Kear* and foreign attendees elections% The four Tali$an fighters ere a$le to $reech security posing as guests* ere cele$rating ere in Afghanistan to o$ser!e the upco"ing hich highlights the

capa$ility of "ilitants to o!erco"e hea!ily secured targets% "n the radar • 5; March marks Eand >ay' an annual of commemoration used by Palestinians to mark the e/propriation of land to Israel in 1A4=) :e"onstrations the 4est Bank and 3a5a% The risk of !iolence is high% • Pro-Muslim (rotherhood demonstrations will continue in #airo' the capital of )gypt* until 2B March as part of an 11 day ca"paign launched $y a coalition of anti.coup groups% • The Afghanistan presidential election will be held on 1 April) An increase in !iolence leading up to the !ote is highly likely* ith the Tali$an threatening to kill anyone ho takes part in hat it ill likely take place in )ast =erusale"*

calls a 4estern.$acked sha"% • 11 April marks the anniversary of the rioting in Ahwas' Iran' in !;;1' hich resulted in the

deaths of appro+i"ately 100 people as security forces cracked do n on protesters* • The indefinite strike by Israeli foreign ministry employees is to continue as they de"and increased ages and $etter orking conditions%

Open Briefing | A

Polar regions
$ussia holds large-scale military e/ercises along border with 8inland More than 40 cre s of -u.;4* -u.26* -u.24M and Mi3.;1 $egan a large.scale "ilitary e+ercise in the north est &ussian $order pro!ince of 8arelia on 1B March% According to the source at the &ussian Ministry of :efence* the e+ercises* in taking part* hich cre s fro" across the estern reaches of the &ussian /ederation are ill continue until the end of March% The source states the purpose of the e+ercise is to

practice fighting of ene"y aircraft and ground facilities% Mean hile* a nu"$er of co"pli"entary e+ercises ere held further to the north on the 8ola Peninsula and in Mur"ansk region* on 16 and 19 March respecti!ely% The for"er en!isaged a land in!asion of the Arctic territory* and the latter an incursion into &ussian airspace of eight hostile aircraft% The e+ercises are taking place against the orrying $ackdrop of deteriorating relations $et een &ussia

and its 7ordic neigh$ours% The &ussian anne+ation of 'ri"ea has rekindled a long.running de$ate in the - edish and /innish defence "inistries o!er the potential $enefits of 7ATO "e"$ership% Both sides are faced ith the parado+ that &ussian aggression "akes 7ATO "e"$ership for - eden and /inland $oth "ore desira$le and increasingly risky% (- and 7or egian 7ATO officials ha!e indicated that the offer of "e"$ership is open should either of the 7ordic states decide in fa!our of itG &ussian officials ha!e repeatedly arned of potential econo"ic and political retaliation should the offer $e accepted% ill only e+acer$ate this parado+% 7e!ertheless* 7ATO accession for

The recent &ussian "ilitary e+ercises - eden and /inland is closer no cooperation

than it has $een in any point in recent history% /or - eden* this trend is

less surprising for a nu"$er of reasons% /irst* despite official neutrality* - eden has a long history of ith 7ATO% -econd* - eden is far less econo"ically dependent on &ussia than its neigh$our hich en!isages closer econo"ic hich is $y fro" to the east* and conseHuently has less to fear fro" &ussian threats% Third* - edish /oreign Minister 'arl Bildt is the "ost acti!e supporter of the )astern Partnership Progra""e* and political ties $et een the )( and a nu"$er of )astern )uropean states* including (kraine* far the "ost i"portant in ter"s of the success of the progra""e% On nu"erous occasions since 7o!e"$er 201;* and particularly in response to >iktor Kanuko!ich#s surprise decision to ithdra the )astern Partnership Progra""e* Bildt has pro!ed one of the "ost aggressi!e and po erful of &ussian foreign policy critics% On the other hand* /inland#s "o!e to ards 7ATO* gi!en their !ery close econo"ic ties ith &ussia* is a "uch riskier "o!e% 7e!ertheless* in a 1J March inter!ie ith the /innish press* Pri"e Minister =yrki 8atainen $eca"e the "ost significant /innish politician to date to openly state that 17ATO is an option#% "ther developments E/ercise #old $esponse' which includes 1=';;; troops from 1= different .AT" countries' has moved into its final phase) The e+ercise* hich has $een on.going in 7orthern 7or ay for the last t o eeks* is

one of the largest #Coint co"$ined# e+ercises in )urope*

ith units fro" all "ilitary $ranches% I!ar Moen* hile reporting that the hether the situation in 'ri"ea

press spokesperson at the =oint 'o""and <eadHuarters specially created for the e+ercise* spoke to s portal Barents O$ser!er a$out the logistics of the e+ercise* $ut in!ited &ussian guests had taken part as planned* declined to co""ent on had had any influence on their participation%

Open Briefing | 1;

Eocal citi6ens in the *wedish town of EuleH held a demonstration on 14 March against the construction of the proposed 8ennovoima nuclear power plant in PyhI,oki' 8inland) The proposed po er plant lies BJ "iles fro" the - edish coast% ,ocal opponents are focusing on the leading role of the &ussian state.o ned co"pany &osato" in the !enture% At the e!ent* )sa <Nr"NlN* director.general of the energy depart"ent at the Ministry of )"ploy"ent and the )cono"y* denied that /inland is outsourcing its energy needs to &ussia% Mean hile* 7ici Bergroth* an engineering "anager at /enno!oi"a* stressed that the proCect is "aCority /innish.o ned% Eukoil will invest J1)3 billion in the $ussian arctic region of .enets Autonomous "krug' according to the company president 7agit Alekperov) ,ukoil intends to increase oil production in the pro!ince $y ;0O o!er the ne+t t o years* ith "uch of the oil to $e shipped out through the Barents -ea* resulting in a

corresponding increase in Arctic shipping% Alekpero! has called the scale of the in!est"ent 1unprecedented#* and pledged to deli!er the first PF00 "illion $y the end of 2014% "n the radar • #anada will host the ne/t Arctic #ouncil meeting in Kellowknife on !1-!4 March) The "eeting is the first ti"e the Arctic states • ill asse"$le since the out$reak of the crisis in 'ri"ea%

.orwegian minister Tine *undtoft s trip to meet $ussian counterparts that was originally planned for this week has been cancelled as a reaction to &ussia#s anne+ation of 'ri"ea%

Published with intelligence support from Bradburys Global Risk Partners | www)bradburys)co)uk

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Analysts: 'hris A$$ott* :erek 'rystal* TancrQde /euillade* ,aura <art"ann* Patrick -e ell* :aniel Taylor and 'laudia 4agner% Open Briefing | 11

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