Sponsored by Exensor
30 June 22. Mali: Government refusal to ensure MINUSMA freedom of movement underlines mounting threat of human rights abuses. On 29 June, the UN Security Council voted to extend the UN’s nine-year-old peacekeeping operation in Mali, MINUSMA, for another year. The move comes despite the withdrawal of European forces from the country, including those of France. The UN stressed that these forces are critical for protecting Malians from abuses. This emphasis on human rights was rejected by both China and Russia, who abstained from the vote. Russia claimed that the resolution was “intrusive”, while Malian officials claimed that they could not guarantee MINUSMA freedom of movement and would not comply with these provisions. This underlines the rising threat of abuses against civilians committed by Mali’s armed forces. This threat will be exacerbated by the activities of the Russian Wagner private military contracting firm in Mali and may drive support for jihadist groups. This in turn is likely to result in elevated conflict levels in northern and central regions. (Source: Sibylline)
30 June 22. Ethiopia-Sudan: Economic and political challenges are likely to reduce the risk of conflict despite border tensions. On 29 June, the African Union (AU) called for de-escalatory talks amid rising tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan in the al-Fashaqa region, a disputed border area. This request follows the Ethiopian security forces’ denial that they had had executed seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian on 27 June. The soldiers were reportedly captured amid heightened tensions in Jabal Kala al-Laban, a disputed border region. An escalation in bilateral relations would likely exacerbate the economic challenges and food insecurity issues currently gripping the region, worsening various humanitarian crises and driving mass migration. It is likely these conditions are already threatening regional stability by driving support for rebel groups, creating a volatile operating environment for businesses. Although the AU’s calls are unlikely to reduce tensions significantly, the economic and political challenges facing both countries are likely to reduce the risk of conflict. (Source: Sibylline)
30 June 22. Indonesia: New law will sustain unrest and threat of attacks in Papua region. On 30 June, the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) ratified three bills pertaining to the creation of three new provinces in the restive Papua region. The passing of the bills comes despite opposition from indigenous Papuan groups who have criticised their lack of participation in related discussions. This will exacerbate existing mistrust of the central government despite its insistence that the move will boost development and the provision of government services. The announcement sparked protests in the resource-rich region in May. Thousands of demonstrators were met with a typically heavy-handed response from the security forces during this period. Additionally, activity from the militant West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) continues to drive the threat of attacks, with small airports in the region having been a common target throughout the first half of the year. The laws’ passing is highly likely to sustain tensions in the region, with unrest and attacks from separatist groups remaining an issue for the foreseeable future. (Source: Sibylline)
30 June 22. Israel: Upcoming elections unlikely to impact long-term economic outlook, but threatens to inflame ethno-religious tensions. On 30 June, Israel’s Knesset voted to dissolve parliament. New elections are scheduled to take place on 1 November. Israel’s former prime minister, Naftali Bennett, has already announced that he will not run in the next round of elections. Until then, Yair Lapid, the former foreign minister, will step in as the caretaker prime minister. According to local sources, the deadline for party lists is 2200 (local time) on 15 September. Several Members of the Knesset (MKs) reportedly believe that the November elections, which are the fifth in under four years, reflect political instability. A return to the polls will ultimately deepen ethno-religious tensions both in the Knesset and at street level. They threaten to embolden domestic far-right sentiment and sectarian violence. However, while political instability threatens to delay the approval of the 2023/24 budget, we assess that economic continuity and a stable operational business environment will be the priority for whichever government wins the polls in November. (Source: Sibylline)
29 June 22. Ecuador: Congressional attempt to impeach President Lasso fails, emboldening the administration to suspend dialogue with protest leader Iza. On 28 June, a vote in Ecuador’s Congress failed to subject President Guillermo Lasso to impeachment proceedings after the UNES opposition coalition filed an impeachment motion. This comes amid nationwide protests called by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE). An emboldened President Lasso later rejected further dialogue with CONAIE’s leader, Leonidas Iza, seeking instead to establish talks with other indigenous and social leaders to divide the movement. While protests are unlikely to abate in the coming week, attendance levels at upcoming demonstrations will likely diminish, reducing the impact on supply chains. Moreover, CONAIE will now likely seek to call intermittent protests instead of the maintaining current strike. If President Lasso manages to start new dialogue with other leaders, the risk of unrest in the next six months will be reduced, as Iza will not be able to lead the protest movement unilaterally. (Source: Sibylline)
29 June 22. Peru: Ruling party demands president’s resignation from party, heightening instability ahead of new Congressional leader election. On 28 June, Vladimir Cerrón, the leader of Peru’s ruling Perú Libre party, demanded the resignation of President Pedro Castillo from the organisation a month ahead of the scheduled election of new leaders of Congress, further politically weakening Castillo. Perú Libre’s political commission unanimously voted to demand Castillo’s resignation, arguing that the president broke the party’s congressional unity and pushed liberal policies that contradict its ideology. Although the differences between Castillo and Cerrón are not new, the demand is likely to increase government instability ahead of the election of a new leader of Congress. Most parties in Congress silently agree that Castillo and Vice President Dina Boluarte should not finish their terms. However, previous impeachment attempts have failed due to dissenting parties wanting to capitalise on Castillo’s potential ousting. However, the risk of impeachment is likely to escalate significantly after the election of the new Congress leader. (Source: Sibylline)
29 June 22. UAE: Dubai Global initiative will boost market entrance opportunities for local companies. On 28 June, Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum announced the launch of “Dubai Global”, a scheme to set up 50 representative offices across five continents. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed has placed the project at the forefront of national efforts to “attract global investments and globalise national companies”. Recent figures suggest that Dubai ports receive up to 11 percent of the world’s freight traffic, with transport links already stretching to more than 400 cities globally. The establishment of representative offices overseas will therefore support existing efforts to bolster foreign investment opportunities and expand the UAE’s commercial footprint. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed added that the offices will provide in-country market research, which aims to incorporate local companies into international markets. Such strategies illustrate the UAE’s efforts to advance economic diversification efforts, increase corporate competitiveness and maintain the upward trajectory of financial growth. (Source: Sibylline)
29 June 22. Iran: BRICS application highlights efforts to diminish economic isolation, rather than strategic realignment. On 27 June, Iran submitted its application to become a member of the BRICS group, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. According to the Iranian foreign ministry, joining these so-called emerging economies would result in “added values for both sides”. While Russia has used this application request to highlight the failure by the West to isolate Moscow amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, Iran has long embraced closer ties with Russia and China. Furthermore, Tehran’s application comes at a time of deteriorating domestic socio-economic health. A BRICS membership represents an opportunity to foster economic partnerships and secure third-party financing. The progress of nuclear talks in the coming weeks and months is likely to be tentative. Iran’s BRICS application is therefore unlikely to reflect strategic and political realignment efforts. Rather, it represents a bid to overcome economic isolation in order to tackle rising inflation and currency devaluation. (Source: Sibylline)
28 June 22. Combat Team Alpha sets up base in Macomia ahead of operations. The arrival of Combat Team Alpha (CTA) in Mozambique strengthens the South African military presence in the regional task force and, as is the norm with deployments, a proper base has to be set up and contact established with local forces and civic leaders. These priorities mean soldiers, no matter their musterings, work alongside Sappers (termed the engineering department in reportage by Lieutenant Commander Nombuso Mhlongo of Joint Operations), lending a hand to ensure the base meets the necessary requirements. This includes accommodation, ablution and bath/shower facilities as well as kitchen and mess – all the basic requirements for troops in camp so they can effectively execute the tasks ahead.
“Much work is in the capable hands of the engineering department. The construction section comprising builders, welders, carpenters, electricians and the Technical Service Corps as well as those responsible for earthworks using construction machinery and mobile water purification have been hard at work ensuring the base is habitable,” the communication officer reports.
The importance of communications saw signals equipment and installations done immediately on arrival at what will be CTA home base in Mozambique. Another urgent task – executed speedily – was acquisition of detailed maps for the team’s area of responsibility.
The largest CTA component is supplied by 2 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion from Zeerust with Tempe’s 1 Parachute Battalion providing the team’s other combat element. The move to Mozambique from the SA Army mobilisation and demobilisation centre outside Bloemfontein was done in stages last month with all airlift provided by private charter.
With the men and women under her command at work establishing what will be a home from home for the foreseeable future, CTA Commander Lieutenant Colonel Suraia Cambinda did the courtesy call round. Meetings with Forcas Armadas de Defesa de Mocambique (FADM) in Macomia, under the leadership of Colonel Jose Phakula, as well as local police chiefs paved the way for good relationships and future co-operation.
In April, President Cyril Ramaphosa and Parliament approved deployment of 1 495 soldiers to Cabo Delgado, with the SANDF component set to increase from 500-plus personnel on the ground. Indications are up to 1 200 personnel could be deployed under CTA.
CTA elements arrived in Mozambique at the end of May and were welcomed by SAMIM Force Commander, South African Major General Xolani Mankayi.
Between 60 and 80 armoured personnel carriers, mostly Casspirs, are expected in Pemba as part of the deployment. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
28 June 22. Cameroon: Anglophone separatist conflict will continue to elevate intercommunal tensions. On 27 June, church officials confirmed that members of the Oliti ethnic group backed by hired gunmen killed at least 30 members of the Messaga Ekol community in the village of Bakinjaw, South West region over 25-26 June. The attack was prompted by a land dispute that has been ongoing between the two communities since April, however ethnic violence between the Oliti and other communities in the area has been ongoing for years. Local intercommunal disputes have been exacerbated by the instability caused by the ongoing conflict between the Cameroonian government and Anglophone separatists in Cameroon’s North West and South West regions. This conflict has reduced the state’s presence in rural areas particularly near the border with Nigeria, and resulted in an influx of weaponry into the region, militarising historic grievances. With the anglophone conflict likely to persist through 2022, it Is highly likely that intercommunal disputes will prompt violent attacks, elevating bystander threats to local NGOs. (Source: Sibylline)
28 June 22. Guinea: Acceptance of ECOWAS mediation a key factor in preventing resumption of protests in Conakry. On 27 June, the interim government met with political parties to ease tensions after the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) suspended its call for protests against the 36 month transition on 23 June. Previous attempts at consultations have been boycotted by organisations including the FNDC. The meeting comes a week before ECOWAS is set to review the extension of sanctions. Following the meeting, the FNDC announced that the government’s acceptance of a mediator from ECOWAS is a precondition for their participation in further dialogue, potentially providing a route to the removal of sanctions. However, it is likely that failure to accept mediation from ECOWAS will prompt the FNDC to renew calls for protests in Conakry. Protests are likely to lead to violent clashes with security forces, elevating threats to the safety of staff and assets along traditional protest routes such as the N1 highway around the Stade du 28 Septembre. (Source: Sibylline)
28 June 22. India: Arrests of two popular activists will likely cause small-scale protests in cities. Over 26-27 June, several netizens and human rights groups expressed concern online over the arrest of activist Teesta Setalvad who fought for the rights of Muslims that were killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots, largely believed to have been instigated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Supreme Court however exonerated Modi after which Setalvad was arrested for providing “baseless information” against the Prime Minister. Further on 27 June, a popular Muslim journalist Mohammad Zubair was arrested for a tweet from 2018 that allegedly hurt Hindu religious sentiments. Zubair’s fact checking site Alt news was known for unravelling fake news posted by right-wing Hindu nationalists. Indian netizens as well as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have criticised the arrests online, further denting India’s reputation related to human rights globally. Small-scale arrests are also likely to protest the arrests of Setalvad and Zubair independently in cities such as Mumbai and New Delhi raising the risk of supply chain disruptions. (Source: Sibylline)
28 June 22. Hong Kong: Blanket security for the presidential visit underlines extreme political sensitivity surrounding the landmark handover anniversary. Following reports of President Xi Jinping’s two-day visit to Hong Kong from Thursday (30 June), the police and other law enforcement bodies have begun preparations for what is set to be the most high-profile security operation across the territory. Taking his first trip outside mainland China since the pandemic, President Xi will oversee the celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the sovereignty handover as well as the inauguration of the incoming Chief Executive John Lee on 1 July. With the full mobilisation of the police force expected, security presence will increase across Hong Kong. Tightest security – including no-fly/drone zones – will be imposed at sites of possible Xi visits and along his likely travel routes, including, West Kowloon railway terminus, the government complex in Central, the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, as well as the Hong Kong Science Park. Road closures and traffic restrictions will be in place for much of this week, which will cause notable disruption to local businesses and transport. Security forces will swiftly crack down any protests or attempts to disrupt the official events.
28 June 22. Australia-China: Australia’s new regional security initiatives will improve regional food security but increase competition with China. Minister for International Development and the Pacific Pat Conroy announced that Australia will establish a defence school to train Pacific Island countries’ militaries and double Australia’s funding for aerial surveillance of Pacific Islands’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs). Australia will also provide finance for Pacific countries to build more resilient infrastructure against rising sea levels. Conroy’s announcement preceded a video meeting with Pacific Island Forum (PIF) members and hosted by China on 14 July. Australia’s new initiatives reflect its intentions to advance its regional security interests by aligning it with climate change initiatives, while simultaneously pushing back against Beijing. By enhancing regional maritime surveillance, regional food security and socio-economic health will improve. According to Conroy, Pacific countries will recoup USD150m lost each year to illegal fishing. Nonetheless, the region will become increasingly militarised, moderately raising the risk of military confrontation between China and Australia, thereby reducing the likelihood of improving bilateral relations.
27 June 22. North Korea says U.S. is setting up Asian NATO; vows stronger defence. North Korea has accused the United States of setting up a military alliance like NATO in Asia, saying the unwavering U.S. aim to oust North Korea’s government compelled it to develop stronger defences.
The North Korean criticism comes amid concern it could be preparing its first nuclear test in five years and after a recent agreement between South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and U.S. President Joe Biden to deploy more U.S. weapons if deemed necessary to deter the North.
Advertisement · Scroll to continue
“While blatantly holding joint military exercises with Japan and South Korea, the United States is making a full-fledged move to establish an Asia-style NATO,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement on its website on Sunday.
It was referring to recent military exercises conducted by U.S., South Korean and Japanese forces. The United States also held exercises with South Korean forces that involved a U.S. aircraft carrier, for the first time in more than four years. North Korea, which has been conducting regular missile tests this year, repeated its assertion that such drills were preparation for war aimed at overthrowing it.
“This proves the hypocrisy of the U.S. rhetoric of ‘diplomatic engagement’ and ‘dialogue without preconditions’, while at the same time revealing again that there is no change in the U.S. ambition to overthrow our system by force,” the North Korean ministry said.
It did not refer explicitly to its nuclear or missile programmes but said U.S. hostility compelled it to develop its defences.
“The reality … makes us feel the need to make all-out efforts to develop even stronger power to be able to subdue all kinds of hostile acts by the United States,” it said.
The United States is insisting that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons and has repeatedly offered to meet North Korean officials “at any time without preconditions” to discuss the issue. North Korea has rebuffed the offers.
The North Korean criticism came a day before South Korea’s president left to attend a NATO summit in Spain, the first South Korean leader to do so.
South Korea, aiming to strengthen its partnership with NATO and play a bigger global security role, plans to set up a delegation to NATO at its Brussels headquarters, South Korea’s national security adviser said last week. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Reuters)
24 June 22. Armscor no longer a UN registered vendor. The South African government’s defence and security materiel State-owned enterprise (SOE) Armscor has not been a United Nations (UN) approved vendor since last September. The initiative to ensure collective South African representation on the world body’s list of approved vendors was led by former Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford. He saw the move as being a route into the supply chain for UN peacekeeping and other missions in Africa with groups of small, micro and medium-sized enterprises in the local defence industry banding together under the Armscor banner.
Four years ago Wakeford told an SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD) conference the UN doesn’t buy military equipment – “it is used and reimbursed” if it meets performance regulations. He saw other avenues for the wider South African economy to benefit financially from UN presences in, for example, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mali.
“Everything they require,” he told conference delegates, giving food and water as examples, “is about service solutions”. Wakeford, speaking to defenceWeb at the time, said industry in wider sense could be a UN supplier. Footwear, clothing and medical supplies were among so-called personal products he named, along with vehicle tyres as one essential to keeping trucks and personnel carriers (not necessarily armour protected) moving and working.
His assertion then that the UN was not spending money in South Africa is – to a certain extent – offset this week ahead of today’s (Friday) UN Procurement Summit in Pretoria by Christian Saunders, Assistant Secretary General for Supply Chain Management at the world body. Saunders said South African companies received about $40m (about R637m) – “a relatively small amount”.
“We think the business community in South Africa has more to offer. We buy everything from foodstuffs to transportation, aviation services and fuel,” he is reported as saying.
Responding to a defenceWeb inquiry, Armscor Group Executive: Corporate Support Advocate Ndodomzi Mvambo said the acquisition agency was no longer a registered UN vendor.
“Armscor decided not to renew membership as it did not derive any value
for the duration of the affiliation,” he said. (Source: https://www.defenceweb.co.za/)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Homeland Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company