Inkerman Insights on Global Business Threat and Vulnerability

EGYPTIAN AIRSTRIKES IN LIBYA: CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION GROW

EGYPTIAN AIRSTRIKES IN LIBYA: CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION GROW

On 15 February 2015, a video was released on jihadist websites purporting to show the beheading of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians, kidnapped from Sirte by suspected Islamic State (IS) militants in December 2014 and January 2015. In the video, hooded men dressed in black marched the hostages, who were wearing orange jump suits, to a beach the militants claimed was in the “Governorate of Tripoli”. The victims were then forced to their knees and beheaded. The video, which also featured an English-speaking jihadist, is notably anti-Christian in nature. One of the video’s captions read, “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church,” while another asserted that, “Safety for you crusaders is something you can only wish for”.

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Kidnap on a global scale, are you prepared?

Kidnap on a global scale, are you prepared?

 

The threat of kidnapping is one of the most prevalent concerns faced by employers and individuals operating in high-risk areas. While the possibility of abduction is ultimately a global one, certain countries and regions present a much higher risk, particularly for foreign nationals. These areas tend to be those which have been hit by conflict and / or militant activity, but there are also areas in which kidnapping for ransom has developed into a hugely profitable business, and security forces have been unable to effectively tackle the industry.

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STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: ARE AL QAEDA THE REAL WINNERS OF YEMEN’S COUP?

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS: ARE AL QAEDA THE REAL WINNERS OF YEMEN’S COUP?

The political and security situation in Yemen – never the most stable of states – has spiralled out of control in recent months, sending shockwaves worldwide. A resurgent popular secessionist movement wracks the south, armed tribal groups are engaged in a campaign of sabotage and unrest in the east, and Sunni militant organisations run rampant across much of the country. However, all eyes are currently on events in the capital, where a Shi’ite rebel group, the Houthis, have seized power in what many domestic and international actors described as a coup d’état. The rise of the Houthis is causing considerable concern in the West, not only because of their close ties to Iran, but because the wider conflict and instability likely to follow will be of particular benefit to the region’s most active al Qaeda affiliate.

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“HEALING THE BELIEVERS’ CHESTS”: THE TWIN PURPOSES OF THE ISLAMIC STATE’S NEW VIDEO

“HEALING THE BELIEVERS’ CHESTS”: THE TWIN PURPOSES OF THE ISLAMIC STATE’S NEW VIDEO

On 03 February 2015, a video appeared on the Internet which purports to show the murder of Muath al Kasasbeh. The Jordanian pilot had been held hostage by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group since his aircraft went down over Syria in December 2014. The IS offered to refrain from harming him if a prisoner exchange was held with Jordan, but the deadline passed on 29 January 2015, without this taking place. This proposed swap seems to have been a deception, as according to Jordanian state media al Kasasbeh was probably killed as early as 03 January 2015, suggesting that this film has been in the works for some time. Indeed, the IS is known for the high level of post-production it applies to its videos, but this latest example is particularly stylised. Healing the Believers’ Chests has evidently gone through a lengthy and laborious editing process. Its producers, in other words, intended for this video to convey an important message. The IS seems to have had two direct purposes for releasing this film.

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REPRESSION, SUPPRESSION AND MARGINALISATION: WAS THE GROZNY ATTACK INEVITABLE?

REPRESSION, SUPPRESSION AND MARGINALISATION: WAS THE GROZNY ATTACK INEVITABLE?

Although regional attention has of late been focused elsewhere, particularly on the ongoing insurgency in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s longstanding conflict within its own borders was again highlighted recently, when a group of Islamist militants launched a major attack in the Chechen capital of Grozny in December 2014. Despite the high number of casualties, the incident prompted “little more than a flicker of international interest” compared to shootings at the Charlie Hedbo offices in Paris and the subsequent hostage dramas. However, the attack was the most serious Islamist insurgent event in the Chechnya in recent memory. It has stoked fears that there could be a potential return to the high levels of violence seen in Chechnya in years past, particularly as ever-more radicalised North Caucasian Islamists return to their homelands from fighting with groups like the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

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CHARLIE HEBDO SUSPECTS SURROUNDED IN PICARDY WAREHOUSE AFTER TAKING HOSTAGES CLOSE TO N2 AND CHARLES DE GAULE AIRPORT

CHARLIE HEBDO SUSPECTS SURROUNDED IN PICARDY WAREHOUSE AFTER TAKING HOSTAGES CLOSE TO N2 AND CHARLES DE GAULE AIRPORT

This blog post focuses on the breaking hostage situation on 09 January 2015, linked to the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo terror attack on 07 January 2015, the worst in France in fifty years. It illustrates a snapshot of just one of today’s reported incidents pertaining to Kidnap and Ransom (K&R) risk globally. This is reported each weekday by The Inkerman Group’s Corporate Intelligence cell. Kidnap is an incredibly complex issue, with a host of factors contributing to the likelihood of incidents, from corruption, to the strength of state institutions, to economic conditions to sectarian or tribal allegiances. In order to aid companies in wading through the plethora of information which must be assimilated when establishing the risk to personnel, The Inkerman Group provides daily and monthly kidnap reports written by our expert analysts and informed by the experience of our in country teams and kidnap responders. For further information about our niche kidnap threat mitigation and trend services reporting please contact alice.boyes@inkerman.com.

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SONY CYBER ATTACK: FROM UNSUBSTANTIATED ALLEGATIONS TO CYBER WAR ONE?

SONY CYBER ATTACK: FROM UNSUBSTANTIATED ALLEGATIONS TO CYBER WAR ONE?

For the last few weeks, the recent cyber attack against Sony has been the focus of media outlets. The attack itself and the revelations that have followed have caused outrage and surprise, and the continuously developing story has revealed a considerable amount of interesting information, along with bizarre revelations.

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STABBINGS AND SHOOTINGS IN SAUDI AND THE UAE: A RAISED TERRORIST THREAT TO WESTERNERS?

STABBINGS AND SHOOTINGS IN SAUDI AND THE UAE: A RAISED TERRORIST THREAT TO WESTERNERS?

On 17 December 2014, Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, a UAE security official, announced that “security in the Gulf will continue to be immune to the events surrounding it”. Despite this reassurance, two recent instances of terrorism in Saudi Arabia and the UAE suggest that the threat of jihadist violence is now spreading to parts of the Middle East which are usually considered stable. Furthermore, what is especially notable is that Westerners seem to have been the victims of both of these attacks. These two examples suggest that expats and visitors from the West face a distinct exposure to this kind of risk, from groups of people with clear links to established terror organisations, as well as apparently lone operators acting on the inspiration of jihadist beliefs.

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THE CURSE OF THE BLACK GOLD? – THE IMPACT OF FALLING OIL PRICES ON OPEC STATES

THE CURSE OF THE BLACK GOLD? – THE IMPACT OF FALLING OIL PRICES ON OPEC STATES

The price of benchmark Brent crude dropped to below US$65 a barrel on 10 December 2014, the lowest in five years after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said it expected global demand for its crude next year to fall to its lowest level in more than a decade, far below the current output. Prices falling below US$100 a barrel, nearer a benchmark of US$80 in November 2014 was expected to see OPEC act to stabilise the market. The lack of impetus is a recognition that OPEC can’t be the swing producer, a role taken by the US and as a result it has decided that it will not cut production and will rely on nation states, oil buyers and consumers to attempt to rationalise the market and bring prices up themselves. Moreover, it is likely that the market will be oversupplied for the coming six to eighteen month period and crucially that the oil price will be lower for longer.

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SYRIA’S OVERLOOKED MENACE?

SYRIA’S OVERLOOKED MENACE?

The Islamic State (IS) continues to dominate Western media discourse regarding the Syrian conflict, and it remains true that they are the preeminent, and most deadly extremist force in much of the north and east of the country. However, the incessant focus on IS has overshadowed the threat posed to local and regional stability by other militant groups involved in the war in Syria. These include Jabhat al Nusra (JaN), which is one of the most successful, well-trained and well-equipped of the myriad rebel groups that have sprung up during the conflict. JaN is arguably the primary armed movement in a number of key Syrian regions, including the north-western Idlib province, the mountainous Qalamoun area along the frontier with Lebanon, and the Quneitra/Deraa zone to the immediate east of the Golan. While sharing an almost identical and uncompromising extremist ideology with the IS (although with an arguably more limited focus), JaN is a very different animal, as it combines an ability to adjust its activities to local realities and power structures, with an willingness to work with others. This brief analysis will seek to outline the group’s genesis and growth, and to identify what it is that makes JaN so dangerous, particularly, its pragmatism and its efforts to remain receptive to other Syrian rebel organisations, on occasion even with its dire enemies. First, it is worth examining just how the extremist movement evolved out of the maelstrom of the Iraq war to become such a major player in Syria.

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NORTH KOREA’S PARADOXICAL POLICY, PART TWO: HUNGRY TO BE HEARD

NORTH KOREA’S PARADOXICAL POLICY, PART TWO: HUNGRY TO BE HEARD

As examined in part one of this blog post, North Korea has these past few weeks displayed a notable contradiction between its actions and words. Although its rhetoric has remained fiery as ever, unusually this has been repeatedly flanked with cool behaviour. While a fragment of the explanation might lie in the Pyongyang leadership’s desire to evade mounting legal challenges, as we have seen, Chinese support means that Kim Jong un and his retinue are not likely to set foot in a courtroom any time soon. So why has there been this recent change in tack from Pyongyang?

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CONSIDERING THE IMPLICATIONS OF RIPA ON LEGALLY PRIVILEGED INFORMATION

CONSIDERING THE IMPLICATIONS OF RIPA ON LEGALLY PRIVILEGED INFORMATION

The UK is eagerly awaiting its first ruling on the interception of legally privileged information, no date is yet known for the decision to be announced but what is known is the significant impact it will have on a large number of legal and investigatory professionals.

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